As parents, it’s nothing like how we thought it was going to be, and we’ve expressed concern for years about not receiving a “how to” manual. The hardest job in the world, and no formal training to be had. How can that be?
The little training we did get came from our own parents. We learned how to communicate, how to show love, how to express emotions, how to follow through goals, and how to be a person, in general, by existing in our own families.
But that was the pre-technological age.
Of course, today’s youth are still learning all of that in the context of family, but they are doing so with the ever present pull of the latest electronic gadget. Today’s parenting requires creativity in guidance and teaching boundaries in a different way than in previous generations. Today’s youth have grown up with the power of technology at their fingertips from a very young age. They know no different. There is a constant flow of distraction that can take them out of the present moment, out of the surroundings in front of them. The stimulus that electronics provide to the brain, over time, tends to make most other daily experiences dull by comparison.
Homework is even more “boring” than it was when I was doing it, chores are a bigger “waste of time” and teen’s access to social media has become a “right” somewhere along the way.
When the previous generation was growing up, social time was earned—I had to complete my responsibilities prior to communicating with friends, and when I did communicate with friends over the phone, the whole family could hear the conversation, as the phone was stuck to the wall in the kitchen. We actually had to verbally converse in order to share, plan or discuss. My parents knew who I was hanging with and talking with for the most part.
Most teens today have the majority of their conversations via texting, which tends to be more private in that others around them are not involved in the communication, but ultimately, these texting conversations can lead to a false sense of privacy, for the uneducated and immature communicator.
What do you do to get past this and keep your teenagers in the present moment?