Tyler Clark is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on: modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now.
Like other parents, I’ve been concerned about the future of today’s generation. As I specifically work with teens struggling with anxiety, ADHD, delinquency, depression, and other issues, it can be easy to become stressed about my children’s future.
Yet, as I have guided and watched my children grow into their self-identity, I’ve been consistently amazed by strengths which many news pundits discount when discussing today’s younger generations.
Younger Generations Embrace Technological Change
One of the hallmarks of younger generations is their enthusiastic embrace of changing technology. While Gen Xer’s around my age began to experiment with technology in our teen years, I still vividly remember the sound my dial-up modem made, the inability to make phone calls while online, and how intimidating creating an AOL account was for me. This is not the digital world my children have grown up experiencing.
October is Bullying Prevention Month and it is the perfect time to teach your children a lesson about dealing with bullies.
The Stop Bullying campaign has some alarming statistics about the problem. According to their survey, 48% of students 6 – 12 have dealt with bullying at some point in their lives. Another 30% admit to being the ones who were doing it to others. Those figures only account for the children who fess up to either; the actual numbers could be much higher.
The Dangers Of Bullying It isn’t just a matter of someone getting their feelings hurt, or having trouble in social situations. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people and there have been cases of children as young as ten taking their lives.
Experts have found that there is a potential connection between long-term bullying and suicide. That shows us just how serious this issue is.
I remember a few years ago I was watching a news program and it offered a list to teach parents about decoding texting slang they claimed teens were using. Among some of the more colorful gems were:
– LHS – Let’s have sex
– IGTD – I got the drugs
– PIRDTAS – Parents in rooms don’t talk about stuff
– SMH – Satan makes me happy
These were so ludicrous that I have never forgotten them. Have you ever seen those used anywhere? Can you imagine your teen doing it? Of course not, it was so out of touch that I was sure it must have been a joke (spoiler: it wasn’t).
Slang is a normal part of communication, especially for young people as they assert their independence. Each generation has their own and in the digital era it is a little different than the “boss” and “sick”’s of our own decades.
Not too long ago, I saw a Facebook comment on a George Takei post. A man from the Baby Boomer generation was going on a rant about the Narcissistic Generation & Millennials and how they were useless, lazy, didn’t know what they were doing, didn’t have real jobs, didn’t buy houses and more. It was quite a list of sins.
One particular thing which stuck out to me was his vehement claim of narcissism. This online stranger claims that millennials are selfish, self-absorbed narcissists.
Narcissistic Generation or a Value-Shift?
I don’t normally engage with random people on the web; however, his passionate rant rubbed me the wrong way.
No one learns without failing or making mistakes. Yet, we as parents often forget this universal truth as we raise our children. Instead of pushing them to take risks, experiment and uncover their true potential, we refuse to let them learn from their failures.
However, shielding our children from risks only cripples their ability to learn new skills and prevents them from discovering their innate abilities. It also hinders them from learning how to overcome failure and adapt to change- key attributes required for personal growth.
As parents of teenagers, you can think of many things that cause you worry and anguish. Likely near the top of such a list are their interactions with bad teen friends. Years of effective parenting can unravel with a few bad choices made via the influence of negative peers.
Luckily, you have many practical steps you can take to help guide your teenagers through this time when peer influence is at its strongest.
Building teen trust can be hard at times. Your teenagers are experiencing a transitional stage of life, enjoying more freedom than they had during childhood, and the taste of freedom can be addictive. As the parent, you place a certain amount of trust in your teen, hoping they will not abuse their freedom. But sometimes poor choices are made and that trust is broken.
I understand dealing with the shifting dynamics of trust between parents and teens can be difficult. As I have advised many parents of troubled teens, I have compiled some advice for you parents out there who are struggling with trusting your own teens.
Depression is hard to deal with while you are trapped in a depressive episode. However, once you have identified that you struggle with depression, you can find your triggers and begin to create a plan with how to deal with your personal depression triggers. Below is a list of the common depression triggers with a suggestion on how to deal with each one.
If you are the parent of a teenager, you’ve probably been asked to “Leave me alone!” — but only after you drop them off at the mall and buy them the latest iPhone. Yep, get used to being to being despised.
As hard as parenting emotional teenagers can be, staying present and keeping the lines of communication free flowing is crucial. A study by the Council of Economic Advisers found that teens who reported not feeling close to their parents were more likely to smoke, drink, abuse drugs and engage in sexual behavior. Yikes! Guess we better figure this thing out.
One of the keys to parenting teenagers with sanity in tact is humor. Laughing about the struggle will not only bring you much-needed stress relief, it will lighten up the whole situation. And if you are looking for ways to laugh your way through the treacherous teenage years, having a repertoire of comebacks is just the thing. Here are six one-liners that will take your teen off guard and might even elicit a laugh or two.
Some teens have experimented with prescription and recreational drugs without becoming addicted or suffering other negative consequences. But, they aren’t the norm. For numerous others, the addiction kicks in after the very first time they use. For these teens, drug use leads to problems with home, school, work, relationships, shame, helplessness and isolation.
As a parent, you’re always worried about teen peer pressure that could lead to using drugs. And, if you find that your teen is using, it’s your parental responsibility to get him the help he needs fast. The best way to help your teen is to become educated about the warning signs and steps to take to guide your teen into living a drug free lifestyle.