When it comes to how I talk to my teenagers about the tough topics of today, I truly believe in the saying “the kids haven’t changed, we have.” By using this motto, it shows that no matter how much technology and social media have become a huge part of our lives, teenagers and the basic issues of growing up remain the same. Whether it involves sex, drugs, friends who are bad influences, or self-esteem issues, the tough choices teenagers have to make remain timeless.
The philosophy behind my motto is simple. Naturally as we parents get older, it is easy to distance ourselves from the specific circumstances and frame of mind we were in, when we had to make our own tough teenage choices. Because of this, we begin to look at solving problems from an aged view, if you will. This is how we as parents change.
While the tough teenage topics remain the same, technology and social media have magnified many of these problems. So parents have to make a concentrated effort to keep up with the rapidly changing outlets our children have to turn to for advice and guidance. We as parents have to bridge this gap.
One of the first things I did to help bridge this parenting gap was to learn all I could about today’s social media. With so many to choose from, it was a time consuming task. Now, not only do I have extensive knowledge on the subject, I participate myself. Armed with this knowledge, I am able to talk to my teenagers on an even playing field. They actually respect that I know what I am talking about.
I also enjoy having conversations with them about the tough decisions I had to make as a teenager. Put simply, while you still hold the parent role and respect is crucial, your teenagers will appreciate the fact that you understand what they are going through and will be there to guide them and not judge them.
The biggest thing I’ve learned from this philosophy is that when you set this type of trust, your teenagers will be more likely to come to you for advice on sex, drugs, bullying, and many of the tough topics teenagers face today, and will continue to face.