Teenagers have had issues since time began, but these issues are different with each generation. This is primarily because we are more evolved, more tolerant, more accepting, and more lenient with each generation. What wasn’t accepted as ‘appropriate’ these days would never have even been considered a generation or two ago. The first issues that come to mind for me include drug use (i.e. illicit drugs, alcohol, pills) and teenage pregnancy (including STDs). Face it, teenagers are much more promiscuous than their parents and grandparents were as teenagers (in most cases). I have heard of more and more parents willing to purchase alcohol for underage kids, not to mention how these parents allow their teenagers to do drugs in their home because they want to make sure their child is ‘ok’ when using them. Personally, this type of behavior really upsets me. There is no excuse for anyone allowing, enabling, or promoting drug use and promiscuousness in their home.
To top it off, teenagers these days are looking for more and more ways to ‘get high’ and it is quite scary. Teen drug use is on the rise. In addition, teens today face cyberbullying, shootings, terrorism, school violence, and broken homes. Divorce is much more prominent in today’s society than it was in previous generations.
Without proper stability, discipline, support, and strong relationships with their parents, teens are more prone to lashing out, rebelling, and succumbing to the everyday pressures they face. As parents we need to step it up. I see so many parents who don’t discipline their children, especially as they become teenagers. I see so many parents contributing to their teens drug use. I see so many parents letting their teenagers run amuck with no care of where they are or their overall.
I understand that there are single-parent homes, homes where both parents must work to make ends meet, and little time to really spend with kids these days. However, we as parents, must find the time to spend time with our children, no matter their age or how much they fuss and fight with you about it. We must talk to our teenagers about the dangers and issues they face. We must keep tabs on our kids so we know where they are, who they are with, and when they will be home.
Having two teenagers, I understand the challenges of talking to and spending time with teenagers. However, I talk to my kids, I have raised them to know right from wrong, to know that they can always come to me and talk no matter what. I also ensure I know where my kids are at all times, who they are with, and when they’ll be home. I also keep them as busy as possible in different types of activities with the intent to keep them busy so that they don’t have to face as many of the pressures as possible. I am also proud to admit that I discipline my kids – all of them, including my teenagers. Sometimes I am called a ‘mean mom,’ but that’s okay because I know that in the end this is what’s best for them to help ensure they understand that whatever it was that they did was not appropriate or acceptable.
Do you have a teenager…or two? What has your experience been with them? What are your challenges?