Being a parent wasn’t just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life.
(Jodi Picoult).

In the intricate landscape of a teenager’s social world, two powerful emotions often take center stage: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and its lesser-known counterpart, FOBLO (Fear of Being Left Out). As parents navigating this digital age, understanding these terms becomes crucial in providing the necessary support for our teens as they grapple with the complexities of social dynamics.

FOMO, a term that has become popular in the digital era, encapsulates the anxiety and unease teenagers feel when they perceive their peers engaging in activities without them. The fear of missing out on social events, experiences, or even inside jokes can trigger a sense of exclusion and inadequacy. On the flip side, FOBLO is the apprehension that arises from the fear of being intentionally excluded or left out by one’s social circle.

To effectively support our teens through these emotional challenges, it’s essential to acknowledge the legitimacy of their feelings. The teenage years are marked by a heightened sensitivity to social connections, and what might seem trivial to adults can carry immense significance for adolescents. Open communication becomes the cornerstone of addressing FOMO and FOBLO. Creating a safe space where teens feel comfortable expressing their emotions without judgment fosters trust and understanding.

One way to support a teen experiencing FOMO is to proactively involve them in decision-making regarding social plans. By including them in discussions about upcoming events and considering their preferences, you not only empower them but also reinforce their sense of belonging. Additionally, encourage them to take the initiative in suggesting plans or organizing get-togethers thereby your teen will not be left out. When it comes to family events, talk to your teen and discuss conflicts of their plans with family plans. Then take a breath and decide if your teen can “skip” the family event to be with their friends and not have FOMO.

When faced with FOBLO, the key lies in promoting resilience and self-assurance. Remind your teen that social dynamics are fluid, and feeling left out at times is a universal experience. Encourage them to focus on nurturing genuine connections rather than fixating on perceived exclusions. Building self-esteem becomes paramount, emphasizing their unique qualities and strengths that extend beyond social circles.

As a parent, actively engaging in conversations about the digital realm is vital. Understanding the impact of social media on FOMO and FOBLO allows you to provide guidance on responsible online behavior. Encourage your teen to have a positive online environment, emphasizing genuine connections over the pursuit of popularity. Talking about how social media presents a polished version of life and stressing the need to separate it from actual experiences helps reduce FOMO and FOBLO.

Supporting teens through FOMO and FOBLO involves cultivating open communication and promoting resilience. By acknowledging the validity of their emotions and offering practical guidance, parents play a role in helping teens navigate the intricate social landscape. Remember, these emotional challenges are part of the adolescent journey, and providing unwavering support lays the foundation for their emotional well-being and social growth.