Sue Scheff: How to cope when your kids are growing up so fast
How to Cope When Your Kids Grow Up So Fast:
It's a tough job being a parent - there are no rules or policies and you have to follow your heart at times and your head at others. And with today's kids, it's very difficult to do the right thing because they don't seem like children at all, even though they've barely lived 10 years. They're growing up faster than they should - not their bodies, but their brains, mentality, and emotional psyche. They know much more than they should, and they're quick to learn and absorb; and even though this is a good thing when it comes to positive aspects like knowledge, technology and learning, when it comes to areas that are shaded in gray like sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, pregnancy and abortion, parents have no clue as to how to deal with the amount of information (some of it that's not right too) that their children know.
We grew up in a different world, one where television and movies were toned down and where there was no Internet. Getting information today is as easy as pie - the Internet tells you just about anything you want to know. Children as young as 10 and 11 want to wear makeup, drink and be sexually active, just because their friends are doing it and they don't want to be left out. And coping with them without alienating them is a tough task, one that parents would find easier if they:
- Stay in tune with their children's lives: As a parent, you must know what your child is up to, who their friends are, and what's going on in their minds. That's not to say that you must snoop around their stuff or do things behind their back, but it's a good idea to watch their behavior as they grow and check for signs of change as they cross the age of 10. That's when they are likely to be influenced by their peers and tempted to try forbidden things. You certainly don't want your preteen experimenting with sex or drugs just because they think it's cool, with you being left in the dark about it.
- Can talk to their children openly: Parent-children relationships work better when there's a layer of friendship in between the two. When your child seems on the verge of becoming an adult, both mentally and physically, it's important that they're able to come to you with all their problems and secrets. This is possible only if you keep an open mind and are not quick to judge and condemn. A close friend had sex when she was 13, and later, because she was scared that she was pregnant, she confided in her dad the whole story. He was very understanding and helped her cope with the issue, without once berating or shouting at her. This attitude changed her completely - she became more responsible because of her father's open and understanding behavior, and today, she's a balanced and happy adult.
- Learn to draw the line somewhere: Kids today live in an entirely different world from the one you grew up in, so they tend to wear trendier clothes and wear makeup long before you were allowed to do so. Rather than denying them all that they ask for and risk them going behind your back, give in a little regarding issues that are relatively trivial. At the same time, it's best not to encourage or turn a blind eye to drinking, sexual activity or anything else that could have long-lasting and serious repercussions just because you don't want conflict with your child.
- Realize that each child is different: You know your child better than anyone else, so use your judgment to deal with sensitive issues according to their temperament and attitude. Don't follow what your friends or siblings are doing with their children; there's no guarantee that what works for one child will work for another. The better you're able to read your child, the more you'll be able to help them as they grapple with issues that are beyond their understanding.
This guest post is contributed by Nancy Simmons, who writes on the topic of online science degree. She welcomes your comments at her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thank you to Nancy Simmons for allowing me to share this important and educational information.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier children.
Also on Examiner.