Supporting Your Teen

After the school shooting last week, kids are struggling more than ever.  I had a talk with my kids over the weekend about active shooter drills, protecting themselves, and staying safe.  It helped them, but it didn’t make me any less afraid to send them to school.   Over the last few days, kids have pulled fire alarms at school, further adding to the stress that teens and teachers are under.  When does it stop?  Kids are not supposed to be worried about guns in school.  It’s enough to worry about grades, friends, graduation, and the future.  They shouldn’t have to question if they will have a future because a person comes to school and kills them with a gun.  Now is the time to check in with your kids, and find out how they are doing.

I’m encouraged by the kids working social media and making their voices heard.  No matter what is said about the upcoming generation, they know how to be heard.  Good for them!  They should have a voice.  They will never forget what they saw, but fighting for something that means something can help them can help as they put their lives back together.  They deserve to be heard, and they may not be able to vote now, but they will be able to vote in the future.  Watch out to all the politicians who aren’t paying attention.  These kids are!

As I think about my own kids, I am thinking about how to help them.  Talking more about how they are feeling and thinking is important, but is that enough.  Kids have more information today than they have had in the past, and they have to be able to manage more than we as parents ever did.  They have to deal with bullying, apathy from adults and peers who have no respect for authority.  Parenting has changed over the years, but not for the better from where I sit.  I hold my kids accountable, but it’s a delicate balance between punishment and teaching.  Teaching is holding people accountable.  Punishment is not teaching.

The other thing I have been talking to my kids about is taking responsibility for your actions.  That’s hard in a time when our leaders seem to want to blame others for everything that is going wrong in our country.  I want my kids to be able to take responsibilities for their success and their mistakes, but how can I do that when our leaders can’t.  I try to be a role model for my kids, and sometimes I’m okay, but other times I am not the role model I would like to be.  When I’m not, I can admit that and try to do better.  That is a real role model, and what I want my kids to see.

Our world is a complicated place, and I’m hoping that things will get better.  As we support our teens, we support ourselves.  As we care for them, we protect our future and the future leaders of this country.  Our fate will be in their hands in the future and we can teach them how to be better.  Let’s teach them to be more responsible, caring, and ready for whatever the future holds.  They are our future and they need to learn how to fight.  This is for them and for us, and for being happy for life.