Friday, February 21, 2014

Advice for Teenagers and their Parents

This was advice given to youth by a Judge in 1959. Yes, for many of us that's our parents and grandparents generation. But I would say that it still holds true today.

As a parent of teenagers, I can see that there are some things generally lacking in todays youth and they are:

*time spent with family, especially around the dinner table.
*time spent working or volunteering (lots of teens lack any work ethic at all).
*wholesome recreational activities and by that I mean what we used to call 'good clean fun'.

Now don't misunderstand, I'm not calling my kids or all kids lazy or super hard working either. They all have their moments. I'm just making some very broad generalizations about youth in general who have grown up with the internet and being connected for most of the hours of the day. They can text during school, snapchat during dinner, and be playing farmville and minecraft until they fall asleep. All the while avoiding a lot of face to face conversation with people as well as chores and reading/studying. And we adults often cater to this. Is it any wonder that they all go nuts when the power goes out because their devices might actually lose battery power soon? It's actually laughable to see the panic in their eyes. And by pandering to them I think that we've made the transition from student to adult worker harder than it needed to be. They haven't been broken in gently or had time to make mistakes. Most of us have worked a minimum wage job at some time that we hated and we had to learn to find another job, quit or get fired. So many young people today aren't even getting their first job until after college in their 20's and haven't made all the 'learning to get along with co-workers' mistakes that us older folks made when still in our teens. And chores seem to be a thing of the past too. When we lived in Greenwood we lived in a sub-division filled with families. And out of all my children's friends I think our kids were some of the only ones who actually worked for their allowance. There were some 10 year old's who receive $30 per week in allowance and do nothing for it while my kids slaved away for a few dollars per week. I know, I'm such an evil mother. But I'm glad that they've learned the value of a dollar.

Is it any wonder things in society are mixed up? Youth aren't learning the lessons they need to while still young, and yet at the same time children 10 years old are exposed to the internet and cable television unsupervised for 8 or more hours per day, more time than is spent in school and with their family combined in a huge number of cases. Who do you want shaping and teaching your children's minds? Yourself or the entertainment industry? We all say that children are growing up so fast these days but they're not getting a well rounded growing up experience at all unless they learn how to work for things, how to save and budget and how to get along with others.

And that's why I pledge the following:

*I will reduce the amount of time my children spend on the computer and watching tv
*We will eat more meals together at the table
*I will make volunteer work a regular activity and fun at the same time
*I will set an example by working harder myself and not complaining
*I will get to know my teens better
*I will provide more family time and activities
*We will set aside one evening a week to do something together

And I invite you to look at your teens and think about ways you can help them grow into responsible adults too. It's the best way we can help our planet and invest in our future.

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