Teenagers and their parents – an interesting relationship
Teenagers’ relationships with their parents are often characterised as fraught with difficulty: a hotbed of emotion, arguments, slammed doors and poor communication. Comments like “You just don’t understand”, “You don’t know anything” and “You’ve ruined my life” can be heard being hurled at (long-suffering) parents by their teenage offspring up and down the country, and probably in many places across the globe. But that’s not the whole picture and it reminds me of the Mark Twain quote,
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
Parents can offer much to their teenage children in terms of advice, guidance and support. Maintaining a good and open dialogue throughout young people’s adolescent years is important in a number of ways. For example, it helps the teen feel able to share their concerns and have the use of a more mature sounding board at the time when they are experiencing a great deal of change and challenge in their lives, at school and with peer relationships. It also allows the parents to spot issues more easily and, hopefully, quickly, and seek help, if appropriate. With newspapers reporting frequently on the rise in stress levels and mental health issues among teenagers, this becomes even more important.
There are many societies around the world where parents and grandparents are venerated, respected for their accumulated wisdom and life-experience, seen as a source of knowledge and to be honoured. Native Americans, Koreans, Greeks, and Chinese families, amongst others, work on this basis. Not so in Western cultures like ours. (See this article for a summary of some other cultures’ practices).
So I was delighted when Ernie (Aged 13) chose what teenagers can learn from their elders as the theme for his next blog.
What Teens should learn from their Parents and Grandparents
A blog by Ernie Wybrow
Firstly, I believe that teenagers should learn lessons of appreciation from their grandparents. Teenagers are always on electronic devices and have things that their grandparents probably didn’t have when they were young. Sometimes this can make teens and kids very spoilt, meaning they don’t appreciate how lucky they are, and how good their life is. You’ll usually hear a grandparent say to you “Back in my day we didn’t have any of this…”. Next time, maybe you should listen.
The next lesson that I believe that teenagers should learn from their grandparents is about history. At school, teens may find history boring, but maybe they’d prefer to hear it from their grandfather and/or grandmother. I don’t just mean school history: grandparents can also teach their grandkids about their family history – they may find that more interesting.
Parents can teach their children about positivity, and working hard. I believe this is an important lesson because it can really benefit a teenager’s future and job life. Having a determined parental role model can influence a child to do what they do and to have a successful future.
I think one of the most important things for a father or mother to teach their child is courage and facing fears; this is another huge benefit for everyday life. Courage is an important thing for a child’s future as it will help with exams at school and job interviews etc.
Manners is another obvious, but still very important lesson for a teenager to learn. Bad manners can mean not getting a job, being fired from a job, losing friends and more, so I
t’s important to know this from a young age.
Obviously it’s not just a one-way street. Parents and grandparents have much to learn from their teenagers too – and not just how to work the latest bit of technology! I’d be interested to know what parents and teenagers reading this blog feel they are learning from each other. So please leave a comment below and let me know.
I’d like to finish with a quote from Maya Angelou……
“I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.”
Valuing Minds can help support young people and their parents – click here for more details.