Important Teen Tips
I recently read an article that discussed a disturbing social phenomenon that “pretty” is no more, now it’s all about being “hot” – and sadly that observation is true.
From the time I was very young I have been adept at people watching – you learn a lot about others by simply observing. Find an opportunity to observe the kids that your teens (and pre-teens) hang out with. The next sporting event you attend don’t watch the players on the court or field, watch the players in the stands. Yes, I am serious… watching teens when they think no one is looking is the best way to see what you have never noticed right before your eyes.
Watch and make mental notes… and then have some discussion with your teen at a time when you can have a good conversation around proper and improper behavior and attitudes.
It is truly frightening how much adults “look the other way” at inappropriate behavior in teens, rather than deal with it head on. The societal behaviors of flirting, flaunting, and pursuing that used to be subtle are becoming overt and emboldened by a generation of teens who are being marketed into a frenzy. They are told the goal is to be “hot and wanted” and too many parents are sitting passively on the bleachers allowing their teens to be influenced by the wrong coaches.
Here’s three quick things you need to be looking for and influencing:
1 – Clothing Choices – Don’t make the mistake of thinking a girl wearing a low cut shirt just doesn’t realize she is revealing too much. She knows exactly what she is doing. She is mimicking what she sees all around her and trying to look hot. Your daughters need to know this is wrong and your sons need to be taught to stay away from girls dressed immodestly.
2 – Physical Touch – Do you see a lot of leaning into, touching, hugging, etc. going on? A lot of touching leads to a desensitization of our youth to the high value of personal space and not touching. A teen boy once explained to me that holding hands with a girl was “nothing” to him because he had done it so much. Kissing was “nothing” to him because he had done that so much. Discuss with your teens the need to have a “personal space bubble” as my daughter has always referred to it.
3 – Electronic Overload – Have you noticed your teen seems to have grown another appendage? More and more teens are attached to a device that keeps them communicating with their peers 24/7. Subsequently you have no way of knowing how “hot” their conversations are becoming. Whether intentional or not, left on their own, conversations and photos can go too far too easily. You need to shut that down. It is your responsibility and right as a parent to influence their communication habits. Set up boundaries and rules around time spent on Facebook, their phones, and computers. Go through their providers and shut down the ability to send and receive photos, place blocks on devices, require all online time to occur in common areas of the home and stop by and visit the screen often when they are online. Also teach your teen the importance of eyeball to eyeball relationship and make them, yes make them, invite friends over for real interaction. (Hint – make really good food and they will buy into this concept!)
The bottom line, be a part of the life of your teen, interact, discuss, have fun, be intentional, build your relationship and theirs in the right way – don’t just turn them loose because today’s world is far too hot to handle.