I heard giggles coming from her bedroom. It was nearly midnight. She’d gone to bed hours before. I stared down the hallway expecting to see darkness but I saw a streak of light peaking under her door. Inching near her door I heard it. It’s a sound every parent fears coming from their teenagers room. I took a deep breathe and opened the door unsure of exactly what I might discover.
I’d caught her reading. Again.
My heart sank because this isn’t the teenage life I’d dreamt of for her. It’s not supposed to be this way.
Like millions of parents of teenagers I struggle with a teenager who is addicted to reading. Over coffee I explain the symptoms to my friends, their eyes swell sympathetically.
- Excessive sleepiness
- Good grades
- Growing vocabulary
- The occasional late fee at the library
- Excessive ideation and imagination
- Exposure to life outside of San Diego
I know I’m not alone. Other parents suffer through this hellish reality, we are silently united– bonded over the sorrow of a lost teenage experience.
Action Plan to Cope With Teenage Reading Addiction
Though there is no known cure for teenage reading addiction, there are some things you can do which might help your teenager find their way out of the rabbit hole.
- Introduce YouTube – They say free time is the devil’s playground. Well, I suggest trying to keep your teenager distracted from reading by occupying their time with something more healthy… viral video. With millions of videos in every genre known to mankind, encouraging your teenager to access YouTube on their phone or tablet seems to distract their mind from the itch they feel to pick up a book.
- A Boyfriend – It’s nearly impossible to read books while kissing and/or holding hands. A boyfriend is an excellent remedy for a reading addiction. Just make sure to check his wallet. If he has a library card he is bad news, kick him to the curb.
- Bullying – Many teenagers who bully also have a low literacy rate. This can be an excellent alternative for teenagers with a high literacy rate. While introducing bullying to your teenagers life may be a tough sell, they may discover that being the villain in their story is more interesting than reading about the villain in a book.
Fellow parents: What are other ways you are helping your teenager overcome a reading addiction?