We’ve been talking with our teens about the recent incident that happened when a 15-year-old girl posted a complaint about her parent’s on Facebook and her dad’s reaction. Her complaints were standard teen angst – since time immemorial teens have rebelled and complained about chores and how awful life is with their parents. That’s what they do. We should expect them to, otherwise, we should assume they don’t have enough chores and it’s too easy for them at home and they may never want to leave.
The reaction of the 15-year-old girl’s dad is being hailed by some as having done the right thing. Yes, as parents of teenagers, we may feel like strangling or throttling necks or perhaps the occasional fore-head flick, but that doesn’t mean we should. As adults, we should think before we say and do things. The ability to see how things may turn out, maintain our composure, and not act like 12-year-olds ourselves is what sets us apart from our not yet mature, ever evolving teenagers. If nothing else, parents should not act like teens themselves and out of anger and frustration, film rants to post them on YouTube. As parents of teens, we may all feel like doing this, but we’re the adults and should behave as such.
Teens don’t yet understand the reach of the internet. They don’t have the ability to see how their behaviors will impact their future, whether it be college applications, future employment or future love interests. It’s not like the olden days when a note written on a piece of paper with a pen in long-hand gets confiscated by a teacher and then later tossed into a trash can and that’s the end of it. No, it’s out there on the world-wide web to share, forward, and download.
Regardless of the technology, kids, today and in the future, still need to learn critical thinking skills. Social media sites don’t teach kids critical thinking skills. They learn those from parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives, who demonstrate this by behaving like adults and thinking before they act. Posting on the internet (or in a text, tweet, status update, or e-mail) makes apologizing for your bad behavior even harder. It’s almost impossible to take those “messages” back.
When we don’t act like the mature, authority figures that we are supposed to be (and it does happen), we should at least give ourselves the opportunity to apologize for it. We need to tell our kids we made a mistake, we lost our tempers, and we behaved badly. That’s the next YouTube video the 15-year-old girl’s dad should film.
Have you been talking about this with your kids? What’s their reaction? What’s your reaction?
Go Gingham related links:
Parenting: Children’s Allowances
Piano Lessons – they’re an indulgence at our house – time and money
Frugal family fun – more ideas that won’t break the bank
Time tested family rules – who knew these would work?
Take the night off and let your kids cook dinner every week
Our weekly ritual – Technology Free Sundays