With all the bad news in the world, I thought it would be a perfect time to engage everyone into tips on parenting young people. You know. So, we can move forward into the great unknown with a renewed sense of purpose through empowering our young people to be more positive and productive. And because we need people to lead our universe without using the idiom of building walls or threatening minorities. Less assholes, more leaders. Yes, we have that power.
- Watch your words. They can hurt easily. They can also provide an ongoing narrative of encouragement and support. Your choice. Hearing “I Love you” every day is much better than nothing. Silence is heartbreaking. Unless you are alone and the kiddies are safely tucked away, then it’s wine.
- Speak the truth. Trying to lie your way out of a question can be damning. There’s Google and damned Wikipedia so the youngin’s think they have you covered on the information gathering. Also, a little life truth never hurt anybody. My quote this week of “Get used to it kid. It’s not all lollipops and unicorns” sent D2 into a wow moment. Truth.
- A little struggle never hurt anybody. Learning anything new is hard. Growing up is hard. Going to school is hard. Getting your first job is hard. Getting out of bed is hard. LIFE IS HARD. We have all struggled with something. It’s getting past that struggle and moving on that builds character. Instead of trying to save the child, stand beside the child while he saves himself. You will do him a grander favor by supporting, not carrying.
- Get a sense of humour, will ‘ya? Teaching the child that laughing at a situation instead of worrying or crying over it is a much better option. Nothing is ever that bad, that pointing out the absence of obvious logic isn’t funny.
- Teaching compassion. We need to do this more often. Sensitivity and learning how to be decent to other human beings is glaringly absent from social media these days. Teach kindness. Nice words. Kind gestures. Open a door for somebody. Say something nice to your child about somebody else. Point out something they did nice for someone. They may have thought you didn’t notice their good deed or didn’t realize what they did, made an impact on that person. Every action has a reaction. Every word and deed has an impact on every other person. It’s how the world works.
- Relationships are the crux of our universe. People need to learn how to relate to other people in order to survive. Even something as simple as ordering from a menu, speaking on the telephone, asking directions, making appointments, etc. If communication is challenging, then accepting that challenge and finding ways to deal with it is a big deal. Accepting of others challenges can make and break a person’s ability to relate. How you speak to someone stays with him for a long time. Take your time. Choose your words. Young teens venture into the foray of relationships with wobbly legs and fearful eyes. Rightly so. It’s a jungle out there. We can support their journey with big ears and some pointedly accurate words. “Yes. He sounds like he has an issue with you being funny. Tell him to sog off.” “Yes. She sounds like she has an issue with you being friends with Jenny and Janet and Quinn. Tell her to sog off.” I joke, but not really. Allowing the young person to tell someone when something is wrong or doesn’t feel right, is a great way to empower her. We tell our kids to be nice and listen. We also need to give them the right to say ‘back off’ when they need to. It’s a balance thing.
- Bad things happen to good people. Tragedy is as much a part of life as breathing. Unfortunately, it will touch everybody at some point. Grief is a part of letting go. Allowing them to grieve and feel sad and cry is allowing them to be human. Emotions should not be put down as a sign of weakness or strength, but as a part of being a human being.
- Rise above. By this I mean to remember to be better than the small person talking smack about somebody else. Rise above that shit. Be better than that. Remember that if someone is saying something negative, return with a positive. Like a tennis match. She lobs a negative remark, you return with a positive. She strikes back with a ‘but she’s a bitch’ and you hit the ace with ‘she’s had a rough week with her ex and needs our support, not our shit.’ YOU WIN. Too often we are quick to judge or quick to put down without knowing the full story. Get the story or say something supportive. Kids learn by example. If you try to remember to remain positive and it becomes your reflex, your kids will follow suit. It really is that simple.
I know I’ve spouted a lot of stuff here, but the basic message is to remain positive. Even if the arse end has fallen out of ‘er, try to rise above. Be better. Be respectful. Remember kindness. Human dignity. Compassion. It can still exist. We are all capable of rising above the small shit.