If we have made responsibility the central theme in our homes, long before the adolescent years, then we can often times see what we have taught our children, come back at us during the teenage years. Responsibility does not just mean making their school work their number one pursuit nor does it mean cleaning their rooms and looking after their own personal hygiene the only thing that matters. A great part of responsiblity also entails teaching them that they need to take responsibility for their own actions and the words that come out of their own mouths.
They or we do not get to get off on being rude to us or others, because we have failed to teach them respect. They or we do not get to get off on lying or cheating on their homework, because we have made study time consistent in our homes and made it the top priority over anything else,first. Home work needs to be done where we can both watch them and help them when they need help.
If they are not asking us for help then that is a good clue they are not doing their homework. Sending them to their room so they can grab a book and pretend or switch to a web site every time they hear us in the hallway or knock on the door is not supervising homework. They or we do not go free from understanding that when we deal out discipline or punishment they will need to follow it through until they finish it because we have been consistent with our punishment.
In short then, just as all the lessons of life need to be taught to our children because we have done our job they need to take responsibility for their actions by doing their job. Do not use,”I trust my child or children” as a cop-out to get out of taking your own responsibility towards being there both as their supervisor and their guide.
The earlier children understand right from wrong and their responsibility in it, the sooner it becomes habit in their lives. Children who are not confused with morality,since they have learned to live the value of right over wrong until it has become a habit, many times, are more tuned in to the choices available to them. It takes so much more energy to lie and cheat because we are always called on to remember what it was we said in order to keep from exposing ourselves as a liar. Not to mention the guilt that often follows that all liars need to justify in order to live with the lie. Mankind was never made to lie. At the opposite end of that statement, since it is not accurate to generalize about anyone,many times, it is the parents who make the rules too strict,who have the children who behave the worse,once they find their freedom or rebel.
The chances are always better with honest children who are allowed to express themselves,because many times they are not conflicted by peer pressure or not understanding their own minds or direction. Since teenagers are no different from the rest of the population and anything is possible we need to keep in mind that they still need our direction during moments of doubt or confusion that will sometimes happen. Other times to be able to say,”My parents would kill me if I do”,offers a nice excuse for them to get out of doing what they know is wrong. No one can ever say,”My child never would.” and say it with certainty. Our chances are better with honest kids who do not have to lie in order to be able to spend time with their friends, though in a great deal of the cases.
Since self-expression as well as terminology and the way it gets expressed, is very much a part of each individual taste, be prepared to be humbled, if they do not always dress or appear to speak the same language as we do.Conformity will come soon enough,and it does us all well, to support their own desire to express who they are to themselves as well as their peers. Wanting to be different from everyone else is much better than wanting to be like everyone else,in an effort to be accepted or popular.Many times they will set the trend when they do decide to be different and if not they are showing more courage than most of us do, and that is a good thing.Creatitivity, often, brings along with it a life-time of success and contentment.
It is not the responsibility of the school, Church, grandparents or anyone else to teach our children how to take responsibility for their own behavior, it is our responsibility to teach them. The others will simply aid us or help us once we get them started in understanding that we are the parents and our children can both trust us to keep our word to them and they can rely on us to be there for them when they need us. They need to learn that our home is a safe place to return to at the end of the day when children have been children.
If we do not remember just how mean children can be to each other, then we need to take a refresher course by just listening to our children and offering the help where needed. If it is our own child who is mean and we are not handling it correctly because they are being mean to other children and even being bullies, then we need to get professional help,the earlier the better.
After all of that has been accomplished, we will have these wonderful people in our lives who are known as teenagers. They will bring home with them and their friends an enthusiasm and zest for life, at the point in our own lives, we feel our own enthusiasm is draining. They have a generosity of heart for all their fellow students, at a time, we have become too set in our ways or too complacent with the status quo. They will accept everyone because they have been taught to accept everyone and they will many times remind us that it was us who taught them the significance of doing so, at a time, we are becoming more cynical each day. They have a thirst for learning and getting involved with the world around them, at a time, we are not even keeping up with the magazine subscriptions on World affairs.
If we as parents remember that we need to start teaching our children no later than the age of 2 or 3 the significance of taking responsibility for their own actions as well as what is theirs and taking responsibility for it as well, then we will find that our teenagers have a great deal to teach us.
Many times, we had already taught them but until now, we were not always certain that they had heard. If our teenagers are not renewing our own youth while inspiring us to be more accepting of others, but instead are a consistent head ache, each day, then do them and you both a favor, do not stoop to their level and fight and argue with them but instead get them help that you both need. If we have done our job in early training,and we are maintaining a general acceptance of their right to express themselves, but there is no explanation for this sudden change in attitude, many times, this is the time that we will see mental illness and depression begin to play a role in the lives of our child or children.That can be true in poorly structured homes as well.Too often we over-look genetic factors that are often as a result of hereditary factors.
For the sake of all adolescence and teenagers, everywhere, parents need to know and understand that personalities do not just change from happy-go-lucky to quiet and withdrawn. As parents we need to make certain that there is not an under lying cause and we as parents need to be aware if our children have had a life changing altercation or attack on them, are not doing street drugs or drugs stolen from our own medicine cabinets, or taking alcohol from our own homes.
If they have not had the early training in childhood or have had early training we need to get out of denial, and understand both are sometimes the other side of being teenagers. Children many times will be the alcohol or drug suppliers from our own home or from their grandparents without anyone being wiser for it. It is also, quite possible, that they are suffering from depression and need medical help.
Do not think that teenagers will always share the truth with us or for that matter anyone else either. Many times they carry an irrational shame or fear that can only surface with the help of a professionally trained person or people. Do not wait until the school decides to send them to counseling as many times kids can be great deceivers and schools do not always see the child we see.
Many times poor behavior is shown to us, as parents, as a scream for help when our child needs help. Our teenagers can teach us many things and all we have to do is be tuned in or knowledgeable enough to know the symptoms that are out-of-place when they happen.
We can only know that when we do know and understand we are their parent and their friends are their friends. Too many parents make the mistake that teenagers are adults now so we just have to let them learn on their own. Make certain we are learning as well, from the teenager, so we can step in when needed. The success of their life may depend on it. Teenagers are for enjoying and if they are unhappy we will be as well. Stay alert,be wise, and be there, and it can be the best years of all of our lives. Not only will we all be rewarded as a family, but so will, all of Society feel the imprint we have made on our children’s lives.