Day 8 ~ Respecting the teenager.

When I decided to write about teenagers, I will admit I failed to realize a very important challenge to me blogging about this.

spring2012-159I believe in stories.  I believe they tell us more than if I gave you advice.  But most of my teenage stories are under a privacy guideline.

I can’t tell you a lot of teenager stories (which are teaching moments) because they’re not my stories to tell.  They’re my kids stories.

And maybe by talking about the challenges of keeping sacred their lives and and respecting them as people I’ve hit on the main point.

Teenagers are people.  Not to be defined as a stage or terrible period in our lives; human beings who have a lot to give and the right to tell their story.  

There has been a paradigm shift in the way we respect each generation.  I was told to respect my elders just because they were that, my elders.  Then over time I could change my mind based on if they earned it or not.  Hierarchal.  Whether we meant to or not we’ve switched that philosophy for our kids.

Now earning respect comes first, then we offer authority; independent of hierarchy.   Maybe we did this because so many of the older generation disappointed us with hypocrisy that without meaning to we shifted the authority to ‘earning’ versus ‘being.’  Or maybe it’s because the culture in North America values critical thinking and not taking authority at its word but encourages examining the word.

Obviously both frameworks have their merits and both their downfalls.  There are times when I want my kids to do what I say “JUST BECAUSE I SAID SO” and most times this command is for their good, not because I’m lazy.  But I tell my kids to never take blindly what is taught at school because every curriculum has an agenda, to think critically.  Hmmm, see what’s going on here?

What do you think?  How do you teach respect in your family?

This post is part of my 31 days of teenagers series.