I know it’s pretty easy for parents of teens to watch while social media captures all the things our kids are doing, both good and bad. But I think we can all admit we are missing some balance here. The focus falls heavily on the bad. In fact, “The Tide Pod Challenge” has gotten some long-lasting attention and brought quite a bit of controversy as older generations claimed maybe they also did some careless things, but of course they never did anything thing as stupid as that.
Meanwhile there are teenagers out there who are changing our world, volunteering, working hard to become future doctors and teachers but that doesn’t get half the recognition as when one group of kids does something like eat laundry detergent. Before we know it, all teens are put into this category and deemed dumb, irresponsible, and told their generation is never going to amount to anything.
No one likes to be put in a box. How would we like it if just because one group of parents did something, people started saying things about how incapable all parents were and how they were doing a horrible job raising kids these days? Oh wait– that happens all that time, and all this does is cause hate and discontent between adults, yet we continue to do it to our kids by throwing blanket statements around thinking our words aren’t going to matter to this future generation.
As a mom of teens, it’s hard not to take offense to so many of these negative things simply because our number one priority to protect our kids, help them build them self-esteem, and let them know how capable they are.
Grown and Flown reached out to parents, asking what they were sick of hearing people say about our amazing teenagers, and many of the same answers kept coming up again and again.
1. Boys will be boys.
This phrase makes me cringe. It’s like saying you can’t help it if you are going to act disrespectful, rude, or wild because you are a boy. Being a boy is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior by any means. But this phrase also puts pressure on our teens to think boys should act a certain way, to appear “manly” or masculine.
Girls start to think they aren’t able to speak up and boys are just going to act or treat them a certain way. Growing up I heard this phrase over and over and I truly began to think it was just the way things were, and I needed to accept it if I was catcalled, disrespected, gawked at, or called certain names.
2. Teens these days don’t know how good they have it.
With every generation, things change. Our tees have so much available to them and are all aware previous generations didn’t have a lot of the tools they have now. Every generation has heard this, it’s called evolving. We need to stop faulting our kids, for having no idea what our childhood was like, because it certainly doesn’t mean theirs isn’t hard.
3. They aren’t experienced enough to evoke change.
Sure, older generations have more experience simply because they are older, but our teens are smart. They have a voice and we need to give them the time and space to be heard. We all learn from each other—I’ve learned some of life’s greatest lessons from my kids.
4. They have a sense of entitlement.
Most teens I know are gracious, thankful, work hard and want to help. We can’t deny their expectation is much higher than it ever was for us. Their schedules are so intense, there have been reports they are more stressed than ever because their work loads are so heavy. I believe that’s the opposite of feeling entitled and expecting things to be handed over to them.
5. They are lazy.
They are growing like weeds and need sleep and food continuously, yes, we all know. But teens like working hard, they like getting noticed for that hard work and reaping the benefits. But they also need positive reinforcement.
6. Girls dress code is enforced so it won’t distract boys.
There have been so many stories about girls coming to school dressed “inappropriately,” we’ve lost count. It’s absolutely ridiculous and a waste of time to blame their wardrobe choices as the reason boys are distracted. This sends so many wrong messages to all of our teens. We’ve seen prom “modesty ponchos” and our girls being sent home for wearing perfectly acceptable outfits when all they want to do is be in school with their friends to socialize and learn.
7. They are too dramatic.
Growing up, when I would experience heartbreak or have friendship trouble, I felt there were very few adults around who took my feelings seriously. It made me feel silly and unimportant. We may think our teenagers’ love triangles, crushes, or friendship drama isn’t that big of a deal, but to them it is. In fact, it’s their whole world.
A little understanding from an adult they trust goes a long way. As soon as we make them feel petty for having certain feelings, they are going to stop confiding in us. They need to be met with love and support around these matters. They are evolving, and developing coping skills to have healthy relationships and they need guidance. What they don’t need is to feel like their problems or relationships are insignificant just because of their age.
As parents of teens, we have all been super frustrated and felt bits and pieces of all these things. But what we need to focus on is our teens’ amazing-ness their ability to help, bounce back, and make a difference. No one wants to feel like they are less-than, or be thrown into a box and told they aren’t capable of making a difference. And our awesome teenagers are no exception.