Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was the best. The only care in the world I had was to be within earshot of my mom or dad hollering to come in for dinner. Where we played flashlight hide and go seek, rode bikes up and down the street with our friends and could walk to the store without worrying about being abducted.
Boy how times have changed. No longer are the days of red rover and carnival’s in the neighbors garage. They are of cyber bullying and senseless acts of embarrassment and internet stalking. Teens and even pre-teens are growing up way too fast, and teen pregnancy and suicide is on the rise. What happened? Where did the standards go?
Having a 15 year age difference between my daughters has really shown the difference in raising kids in a short period of time. We as parents need to re-evaluate and w0rk hard to help make a positive change for our kids as they are growing up. The problems won’t just go away on their own, we have to take the power back. There is a multitude of underlying issues that we need to challenge ourselves with, dig deeper and open that communication within our families.
Being a teen is hard on it’s own. Bodies changing, hormones heightening, and being pulled in so many different directions with what to wear, who to hang out with, and all of the pressures of schoolwork. Today kids are dealing with bullying, obesity, bulimia, drug and alcohol addiction and of course the pressures of self image.
We as parents won’t have all of the answers. At least not the right ones. But we don’t have to do it alone! There are resources out there to help us and we need to start using them. There are counselors, support groups, AA and NA meetings, teen pregnancy advocates, credit counseling and workshops that can help us and our children get through this.
We as parents need to have more compassion and educate ourselves first to assure what we are offering our children is what they truly need. We need to listen. That means we need to be patient, make eye contact and turn off the tv or computer and really listen to what our children are saying. Have them ask questions and allow you to do the same. IF you don’t have the answers, tell them that, but also tell them that you are going to work hard to find out what the answer is.
Take care of yourself. Your behaviors are your best teaching tool. How do you deal with your feelings? Are you emotionally unhealthy? Physically? Do you compliment yourself? We as parents have to be the change. Not only for our children, but for ourselves. Imagine what the world could be like if we all spent more time empowering our children. It is up to us, the parents, grandparents, adults, mentors and leaders to embrace our children. It is time to be the change.