Recently there have been a few "news" stories that have made it across my FB newsfeed that, as a parent of teens, have made me go "what is wrong with parents/adults these days. No wonder young people are making stupid decisions and show so little respect for themselves and others." First there was the dad who shot up his daughter's laptop, for a status update on her FB account, that was, to me, a vent on her parents, but viewed to him as disrespectful. (I'll get more into that in a minute) Then there was the mom who made her daughter hold a sign, about responsible photos, which then the mother made public on her own FB account. Though this example is much tamer than the first, it still is an example of parents' using extreme punishment. Lastly a school district in San Antonio, Tx has anounced it will be using gps tracking devices to keep track of all middle and high school students, not for the childrens' safety, but for their own financial gain, to bring skipping school to a halt. Another example of using our teens for gain without respect for the people, humans, they are. And blaming them for "whats wrong with kids these days!"
That question has been heard longer than I've been alive.
What's wrong with kids these days?
Maybe a better question is...
What's wrong with PARENTS/ADULTS these days?
Why do we always blame the children? I mean aren't We the greatest influence on our young people, don't We shape Who They become, why do we constantly shift they blame off onto Them? Yes mass media and peers play their part but haven't they always, and aren't We responsible for how We let it affect Them?
I am part of Generation X. When I was a teen my generation was going to be the downfall of the world. After mine, was my brother's, and it shifted to them. In the 80s it was the "Me" generation. In my mother's, the hippies. But generation after generation society continues. Obiviously, or I wouldn't be a parent or be writing this blog.
American society as a whole is very competitive. Always has been. If you're not at least equal to your neighbor you're less than. And less than is "bad". Being seen as different, even among those who strive to be exactly that, is a curse to self-esteem. We want conformity, obedience, uniformity. Self thought and individuality are a myth. We want unconditional love and acceptance from all. We're adults with lots of self-doubt and esteem issues. And we're raising children, the future. Where did all this come from? We want and say, we can be individuals, but in reality we still fear it. We fear being alone. We fear not being accepted. So we go with the "flow" of society around us. Looking for approving nods, ata boys, and you're doing great!
But how is this affecting our parenting and our children?
Since we seem to lack the self-confidence to make decisions based on our natural instincts, we make them based on what those around us would approve of; or are doing themselves. We're blanketing our childern in a one size fits most parenting style, not taking into acount their, and our, individual needs. They've become objects, not unlike our cars. Our cars, a reflection of our lifestyles. Mini vans, SUVs, diesel trucks, hybrids, electric, luxury, all in some way show off a little piece of who we are striving to be, and be seen as. Red, blue, green, black. The best gas milage, the best engine, the most bells and whistles. Practical or showy. Clean or dirty. They are seen as an extension of us. An extension we make choices about, for, and how they'll work for us in the future, based on our decsions, on our choices now.
When we get angry because we can't control them, they break down or act up, we kick, them hit, call them names. When we achieve a goal, thanks to its effort, say win a race or get a compliment, we boast and love on them, give them a little something extra. We care for them, with car washes, clean oil, good gas. Do you see any similarities?
What's wrong with kids these days? They are lacking in parents that teach them key life skills. A sense of self and respect. They are being short changed on the things that matter most. Unconditional love and respect. Respect for themselves AND others. Love for themselves and others. They are being short changed on parents.
We as parents, and the ushers to the future, need to realize we are the future, coming through our children and who they become. We shape them and the future. The lack of respect, of who they are, of what they feel, of them as people, is what's wrong these days. If we take the time to think of them, and not of ourselves or what others say, we will raise the adults we want to see, in them.
A boss catches an employee being unbusiness like, on their own free time, and then shreds their pay check, or displays photos of the employee on the company website, would have lawsuits, and bad PR. The employee's civil/human rights would be exploited. Or a company decides it implement gps tracking devices on their employees to maintain attendance, and monitor breaks, is playing big brother. Employee moral would fall, with it productivity and job loyality. But we expect children to handle it better. We expect them to suck it up and act like adults. Something we ourselves struggle with.
In other blogs this would be the point where the author would tell you exactly How to go about raising your children, not me. I can't. I'm not raising yours. But as a parent of 8, with huge age differences, I can say, treat them like the individuals they are. Meet Their needs. Listen to Them, even their unspoken words. Treat Them how you'd like to be treated. Don't parent them like your parents parented you (no offense Mom!), you are not them and they are not you. Things have changed, times have changed. There is no perfect way to parent. But be confident in yourself, while meeting the needs of Your child, and they'll turn out better than you expect. Don't worry about how your neighbor, your aunt, or that stranger standing in line behind you, sees you and your children, its none of their business. They don't know your children like you. And they're judgmental idiots anyways.
My kids, my teens aren't perfect but they're good people, who'll become good adults. But who they are, their strengths and weaknesses, have all come from me and my parenting. I take responsibility for their outcomes.