As a parent in a culture where anything goes, I have concerns like most would. Kids have way more to process than most of us did when we were their age. So why aren’t we, as parents, managing accordingly?
I have my opinions, but I don’t want to judge knowing how difficult it can be to raise a child and, more importantly, raise a child in these current times.
How we parented in the past reflected a simpler time. Parents are younger now than before; grandparents and great-grandparents are parenting a whole new generation of kids. These kids have an incredibly new vision of what’s acceptable, what’s not, and just how far they can push the envelope. In short, these aren’t your average kids that say their manners at dinner or speak when spoken too.
These kids are a new breed and depending on who you talk to, that can be good or bad. Today’s technology is complexed, access is widely available, and they understand it like it’s a second skin.
There is a host of situations that parents, grandparents even great-grandparents have to tackle these days. The term “it takes a village” has never been more relevant.
Parents, grandparents and yes great-grandparents are managing kids that are battling the social issues of today like being gay, transgender or gender fluid; they’re dealing with diagnoses like depression, mood disorder, aggression, sexual assault, and the list is growing every day.
Parenting the way we used to is no longer viable. Parents today are facing a challenge greater than parents before them. We need to better educate ourselves on how to raise our children to meet the current social climate.
This doesn’t mean as a parent we’re not equipped to handle it. I’m merely suggesting that as parents, we take the first step and admit we don’t have all the answers and take a step in the right direction to get educated on the happenings that are our kids are experiencing in these times.
I will always emphasize the importance of communicating better but sharing that with your kids at an early stage is a wonderful way to ensure your kids will get an understanding of how well communication works.
This is evident in how kids communicate with their parents about their sexuality and, more importantly, how parents react when they share something that can cause great anxiety to a child.
As parents, we’re our kids first role models, Whether it’s our intention or not, we shape the way they see, behave, or even react to everything around them. At an early age, child experience learned behavior but what if their behavior no longer reflects what they see around them? What if it’s who they are and or who they think they are and communicating that to you provides an uncomfortable level of anxiety.
What if your child was to share with your family that they’re not like the other kids. Even though they were born one sex, they feel that they were supposed to be a different sex. Or, they don’t claim either sex and have chosen to be called them instead of being referenced as he or she?
This is the child you held as a baby and watched throughout their years of growth. So how do you even address this revelation? Are you shocked? Maybe you knew but chose to ignore it out of existence. Perhaps you’re religious and can’t fathom what your child has shared with you.
You might be embarrassed, angry, in denial or maybe even disappointed, but feeling this way won’t change what your child has just shared with you. Actually what you’re feeling would indeed be normal, but what’s important is what your child is feeling and getting a better understanding of that, would be key here.
How do you do that without making your child feel horrible about finally sharing something so personal? Start by embracing your child and telling them that you love them. Giving your kids the support they crave starts with being selfless. Love is love no matter the situation and being able to remember why that love should never be forgotten is a blessing.
When it comes to our kids, love should win always. Parenting can be difficult for sure at times, but knowing and understanding that even in the toughest of situations and or conversations with our kids the love and comfort of being there, supportive even if what they do or say doesn’t sit well with us. Manage what they share with the love and the rest will follow.
Remember we have no control over what our kid’s choices will be, but how we react will be the difference in how your relationship will gain new perspective going forward.
So parents, please listen carefully to the love in your heart, your kids have something they want to share with you.