Since probably the beginning of time teenager’s have been saying to their parents, “You don’t understand. Times have changed since you were my age. You don’t understand how things are nowadays”. I said it to my parents, my parents said it to their parents and so on and so forth. There are changes between the generations that are unique to each group. Some generations had to deal with wars, drugs entering society, and other social issues. With every new generation came new types of technology as well. My parents had an 8-track and records. My generation had records, cassettes and then CD’s. My younger sister’s generation have CD’s and MP3 music. My first internet connection was through Prodigy and once online I didn’t know what to do other than use the encyclopedia. Now one can find any information at the tip of their fingers on many different forms of electronics including their cell phones. The point I am getting at with these various examples is that technology changes, presidents change, social issues change but people and their issues have stayed the same.
Teenagers do not understand where their parents are coming from, most of the time, and vice versa. The age-old problem seems to be lack of communication. Every new generation think they have the answers. They think since they have more access to information that they are smarter and more prepared than the last generation. Teenagers “think” they want to be left alone, yet when ignored feel like nobody cares about them. Parents think they are being constructive when criticizing their teens but don’t remember that all forms of criticism, if not said correctly, comes off to a teen as not being good enough.
I am 29 and still remember vividly what it was like being a teenager. I sometimes even was conscious of that fact that I was so in my head and was figuring life and myself out, yet I would never admit it. It frustrated me to be told that I needed to be more like an adult yet I wasn’t allowed any freedom like an adult. I knew, deep inside, that I needed boundaries, but was never willing to let my parents know that they fully had the upper hand. I can say this, being praised for even the most mundane tasks, like doing the dishes without being asked, made me feel like a good person. When I did something wrong, the best times were when I was spoken to one on one, not like a teen but like a person. Those times were when I really reflected on my wrong doing and learned lessons out of those mistakes.
Everything changes around us: the way we get around, the way we receive knowledge. Things that haven’t changed:
1. A child is never too old to hear that they are loved.
2. They are never too old to know that they are one of the best things to have ever happened to you in this world.
3. They need to constantly told that their parents are proud of them and that they believe in them.
4. Parents need to have those dreadfully uncomfortable conversations with their kids-constantly!
5. All kids think their parents are “old” and not in tune with today’s society.
6. Parents and kids do not communicate as much as they should, as well as they should nor as clearly as they should.
7. A kid will always act like a “kid” because they are a kid. They need to be taught and guided throughout their entire childhood, not just told the rules once and expected to follow them.
8. Kids and teens learn by watching their examples around them, good and bad.
9. Teens need privacy.
10. Parents should be parents not friends.
11. Teens are going through major changes during these years, and are sometimes stand-offish because they are figuring themselves out.
12. Teens have always and will always be embarrassed of their parents.
Parents, remember you were once a teen so reflect back on how you would have liked to be treated when you were your kid’s age. Kids and teens, remember your parents didn’t get a manual on how to be the perfect parents. Parents are people too, and make mistakes and deserve a break too. Communication. Communication. Communication is key!