When it comes to teenagers, we often get focused on the problem with our teen that we’re dealing with at any particular moment in time. And yes, when you have problem teenagers in your household, it’s often difficult to see the forest for the trees as they say.
What if instead of putting all of this focus on your problem teenager’s latest crisis, you started to view your teen as a complete, whole human being that is perfect just the way they are at this very moment in time? I know this sounds like a bizarre concept and a difficult idea especially when one crisis after another creates such tunnel vision for you but just hear me out for the next couple of minutes.
A New Teen Parenting Perspective
To begin with how many times do you think teens hear the question coming from adults, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Or kids labeled as problem teenagers are even more likely to hear, “The rate you’re going, you’ll never amount to anything when you grow up.” Now think about these type of statements for a moment. What kind of message do you think these statements send to our kids?
Don’t you think that just maybe they send a message that says teens aren’t viable citizens in their own right?
…Or perhaps that there isn’t anything they can do right now that is worthwhile because they haven’t grown up yet?
…Or perhaps it tells those labeled as a problem teenager to go ahead and just continue to mess up their life because nothing in their life really matters until they reach adulthood anyhow. These kids just might be thinking, why not just be problem teenagers since that is all that is expected of them.
Time for Introspection
Yes, really examine inside yourself how these kinds of questions and statements affected you when you were growing up and possibly what effect they may have on your own children today.
I believe kids being asked what they will be when they grow up or that they won’t amount to anything just might be thinking why bother to do something constructive or important today. Whatever I do won’t count for anything until I’m grownup and become an adult anyhow.
All Humans Are Vitally Important
We need instead to help our children see that no matter what their age, all humans are vitally important and capable of great things. I’m not saying that statements to this effect alone will change problem teenagers around but this change in attitude on the part of adults can’t hurt the situation and in many cases will make a world of difference.
So, instead of thinking of your teens as striving to be something, think of them as having arrived at their destination of being fully functioning human beings capable of great things. That doesn’t mean they don’t still need guidance and support from adults around them. It just changes the perspective of kids of all ages and opens up the field for more in the way of possibilities for our problem teenagers and all kids for that matter.
All Kids Need More Choices
This especially gives problem teenagers more choices and less focus on waiting to finally be an adult so they can someday “be somebody.”
Of course, this isn’t just an issue for each individual parent alone. This is an attitude about kids that is heard across our whole society. But you can begin in your own home to make this change for your own children and as the word gets spread perhaps our society view will change as well and perhaps problem teenagers can become a thing of the past.