HOW WE CAN ALL WORK TOGETHER Transitions between Child, Teen and Adult
Being a teen in an ever changing world is a complicated business. In a new series of articles, Stephanie J. King explains how parents can navigate and nourish the relationship with their children during this often difficult time.
Life unfolds the way it does for specific reasons, yet how would you feel if you had been better understood during youth? If you had been granted better tools to help you to cope with where you were, in preparation for what lay ahead, would your direction and life outlook have been different?
Did you follow the usual pathways expected of your age group? What if someone had seen the ‘real you’ unfolding, or had recognised or known your potential, or if you even knew yourself that you had talents, strengths and gifts lying dormant, that just needed encouragement to come forward?
Would your life have been different if you could have known then, what through hindsight, hard work and effort you know now?
Every person born is quite unique. Each has a different purpose, a life agenda to establish, to fine tune and complete before life is through. Each one has a voice, a sound mind, free will and independence and the ability to be whom and what they choose.
Being a teen in an ever changing world is a complicated business. Not only are we learning who we are, were we fit and who and what we’re supposed to become, but we’re ducking and diving the emotional cross currents and mood swings of teachers, family, friends and piers, we’re conforming to pressures, expectations, boundaries and movement constraints we don’t necessarily like or agree with – whilst battling hormonal highs and lows of our own.
Too young to be old and too old to be young, teens live in a kind of no man’s land. Often they are deep feeling individuals, who care very much for society, for family and friends, for what is happening in their world, though they might not always show it, and they will go miles beyond what’s called for when necessary.
They’re inheriting a world where war seems a constant threat, where society and outlook are ever changing; where most things have already been tried, done or tested, where extremes are the norm and where debt and hard work, if they’re able to get a job, stretch before them like a black holed abyss; where landing employment is more hit and miss than pot luck…
Expectations run high. Every one dreams – but life doesn’t necessarily fall into the categories that hard work through school, college and upbringing lead us to believe. And what if we’re not academic? School and learning can seem like a nightmare. On the other end of the spectrum – if we’re particularly quick minded, to keep the pace of everyone else can seem boring.
Remember that during their teen years most youngsters still think that life revolves around them, that the world and their parents owe something to them, and that everything should be theirs by way of right. But where does this stem from? What are we as parents also doing to create what is unfolding? Let’s rewind…
Being a child has different connotations for everyone, depending on family values, conditioning, social circumstances, environment and influences around. What we think of in terms of likes and dislikes become building blocks of personality and traits of character such as endearments, weaknesses and strengths. Not all do we choose for ourselves, but depending on how we are wired – and our family place and viewpoint, we develop coping techniques that overcome adversity and obstruction, as well as how we then learn to process love, affection, emotions and our many other different facets.
During infancy no one can gauge how we generally think unless suddenly it becomes obvious through behaviour. How we piece together the unfolding pieces of the puzzle of life is unique to us all. Most of the time, we amble along in our own little world as we wish. Like sponges we soak up all we’re fed. It’s only when problems come to light in terms of misbehaviour or blatant wrong thinking, that miss matched belief structures can be recognised and readjusted to fit into the usual mouldings of mass consensus – otherwise they remain as they are…
Today’s role of a parent is complicated
Parents are busy – working and surviving. Not so long ago it was enough to feed, clothe, spoil and care for young children, to hold down a job and put a roof over their head, but today the whole job is more complicated. No longer do we expect them to be seen and unheard, we are recognising their rights and potential. We try to give them what we feel that we ourselves didn’t have, in terms of love, attention, values, time and affection. We try hard to keep up with the times, often overcompensating for what we feel are our downfalls. The world is wide open. All things imaginable are available in an instant.
Anyone can be a parent. This is the most challenging and important profession on the planet, yet we do it blind, without training and alone, without example. Schools pick up the slack of our triumphs and mistakes, but who guides us really? We only know what we have picked up or have been through ourselves, and we all carry different stories about that, but who helps us through this whole parenting process? And who can say that what we do is wrong or right, that our outlook and perspective is correct? It seems that in many instances, what we do is trial and error, but the high stakes that we work with are priceless. The children we birth and cherish bear the brunt of the best and the worst we are able to offer as their parents.
Take a backwards look at your own family and upbringing; you are either very similar to your parents or completely different. Look back further still at your grandparents and the relationships between both generations. How much unnecessary baggage was passed down? How has life altered between then and now? How much does past conditioning still influence your behaviour today?
Every generation has its own take on life
Every generation has its own take on life. Each believes it knows best and each felt misunderstood, unheard or unrecognised. Each tries to do better than generations before, each wanting to leave its own mark on society and in greater life somewhere.
Basic character foundations are set early in childhood when we are too young to discern right from wrong, true from false. Some of our deepest traits, likes, dislikes, beliefs and opinions are buried so deep that we never have cause to question their validity until such time as we interact with others at school, college, work or we want to form relationships of different types ourselves.
Science is acknowledging that life has two definite aspects, that we are both spiritual (energy) and physical (matter) in nature. If you operate purely from the physical perspective of living and achieving, you’ll feel every lump, bump and problem on your journey’s path. If you are able to join both the spiritual and physical together properly, life becomes a whole new different ball game.
The struggle disappears and suddenly you can see what’s really unfolding from a completely different perspective. You see the whole picture – rather than simply your personal viewpoint. You can then identify and refine how you connect or react in response to what is happening, according to what is necessary or needed, instead of battling blindly on your own at ground level…
Being a parent is difficult because the stakes that we pay with are high. We are the ones who will turn these young people into confident, independent individuals, capable of steering the future, or not, according to what unfolds on a day to day basis to train them – if we do our job well.
Being a child is difficult too. You are seeing first-hand the real time unfolding saga of your parent’s life stories, their triumphs, highs and lows, which in turn directly programs and affects you…
In the next article, I will be taking a look at ‘normal’ teenage behaviour.