Teenage FOMO: 5 Ways to Support Your Teen During Disappointment

Millions of teenagers are struggling nationwide after missing out on this year’s hottest event. And it’s only February. A quick scroll through social media will light your feed with sparkling, joyous photos and videos of the lucky few (almost 600,000) who attended global sensation Taylor Swift’s sold-out concerts. And yet, it’s not just teens feeling major FOMO (fear of missing out) after Tay-Tay flitted across Australia, leaving a trail of glitter and friendship beads in her wake.  But how do we deal with the teenage FOMO?

As a 36-year-old mum of two, I was ITCHING to nab a highly coveted spot at Sydney’s Accor Stadium. So, if I can’t contain my FOMO after losing in the Taylor Ticketek lottery, how can our teens? Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson knows precisely what it’s like (his teenage girls missed out, too) and has shared some excellent advice on supporting teenagers during times of disappointment.

teen FOMO girl sitting on windowsill staring out window
Source: Bigstock

Supporting your teen during times of FOMO

Dr Justin Coulson, parenting expert and dad to six girls, has shared five top tips on how to support your teen during times of disappointment and their fear of missing out (FOMO):

1. Have soft eyes

Compassion comes from two Latin words. Com is the prefix of words like community, common, communicate, combine, compact, and compliment. It means “together”. Passion historically meant “to suffer”. So compassion literally means “to suffer with”. If your child is suffering right now (however much you think it’s silly), meet them where they are. Soft eyes mean soft words, soft touch, and soft hearts. You can’t have soft eyes and be dispassionate.

2. Give them the fantasy

A simple statement like “Don’t you wish you were there?” offers empathy. But it also emphasises reality. It’s validating and soft, but it doesn’t patronise.

3. Listen

For reasons that are hard to understand if you’re an adult, your child is experiencing a form of mourning right now. The reality of missing out creates its own kind of grief. There’s the social loss. But there’s also the experiential loss.

teen FOMO boy supported by mum
Source: Bigstock

4. Never minimise

It can be tempting to remind your kids that “it’s just a concert”. You might think reminding them that spending $2500 to see a show that you’d “need binoculars for and you won’t hear the music properly anyway” will make them feel better. Telling them the music sounds better at home doesn’t lead to an “oh yeah, that’s true” moment.

5. Shake it off

Mourn, then move on. Mourning means being allowed to be sad. Moving on means finding the people and activities that give you the strength and confidence to believe life is still rich even when you don’t get what you want. In fact, not getting what you want is precisely what makes life that rich. You can’t appreciate how good the good is unless you’ve experienced the bad.

More of Dr Justin Coulson’s parenting advice can be found on the Happy Families website.

Giving teens the space to process

Teenagers are going to have a hard time processing emotions, especially if they have missed out on something that many of their friends (and thousands of other fans!) have been able to experience. Social media can amplify this and prolong events that may only be a day or so.

Give your teen space; let them know you’re there for them and that you feel FOMO and disappointment at times, too. Find something you can experience together if you can. In a month or two, the event they were worked up about will be old news.

teen FOMO mum supporting teen girl
Source: Bigstock

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Avatar of Kylie Baracz

As a busy writer and mama of two little wildlings, Kylie knows what it's like to juggle All The Things. When she's not politely ushering out small children from her Zoom calls, her favourite place is snuggled on the couch with her family and a (probably lukewarm!) cuppa.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Julie

    I personally wouldn’t waste our money on her concert because people are idolising her. She’s making teenagers go crazy with all the fancy sleazy costumes and her concert contains a lot of bad things be ver6 careful what you allow your teenagers get involved in.

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