Tagged with "intelligence"
18 Sep
Posted in: parenting
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Teenagers Deserve More From Adults

Cildren hiking a trail in Idaho

Twice last week I listened to adults rant about teenagers. I heard all about how lazy teens are, how disrespectful, how they lack work ethic, how they dress like slobs and how our future is surely doomed when that lot reaches adulthood and takes over. I listened and silently seethed until the ranting was over. Both times I shared only one thought,” You, obviously, don’t know the right teenagers.”

Right around the time I thought I had a decent grasp of parenting, my oldest became a teenager and all thoughts of parenting competency flew out the window. I’m at the front-line of all things teenager. I live with a freshman in high school and another a few months shy of 13. There are days I feel I know more about what’s happening in the lives of the teenagers I know than about friends my own age. Teenagers can be disrespectful, lazy, and dress poorly. But at the age of 40, I can also be all those things.

I know active teens who keep much busier schedules than most adults I know. They go to school, followed by athletic practice and find time to finish schoolwork. I know some who attend school during the day and work several hours in the evening. There are those who take classes at local high schools and a community college. Then there are those teens who manage a life like one of the above and rely only on their two feet for transportation.

I’m the first to say teens can be annoying with their knowledge of everything. I’ve been on the receiving end of eye rolling, although I’m sure he learned that from me. Not everything I ask is done as quickly as I would like. My definition of organization and that of a freshman in high school are not the same. Communication lines are sometimes a tangled mess, or monosyllabic in nature. Teenagers seem to run on a slightly less-exact form of time than adults. Most days I’m sure I talk only to hear myself speak and must remind certain people that I’m the adult, not the other way around.

Teens can also be inquisitive, funny, caring, hard working, go-getters and more intelligent than they sometimes let on. They are complicated, hormonal-charged adult-like children struggling to keep up with the endless physical changes and social changes that come with growing up. Adults tend to forget all of that when faced with the talking back, attitude and rule breaking. I’m guilty 100 times over for being too hard on our teen. I know I forget when dealing with him how amazing he can be when he’s not busy annoying me. Much of the issues I have with my own teenager is him as much as it is me. I’m tired, hormonal, over-worked, under-appreciated and grouchy at times. I have no idea how to raise a teen or guide his path while still giving him ample room to both falter and soar. It’s a constant struggle of me treating him like he’s younger than he is while also expecting him to act older than his age. No wonder teenagers push back.

I know there is greatness in those moody world-changers we’re raising. There’s no time for the ranting and bashing on our teenagers who are quickly morphing into young adults. We need to support their goals and dreams, give them ways to channel their ideas and foster their gifts and talents. Finding your way, at whatever age, is not an easy task. Let’s show less judgement and offer more guidance.