I have never been much older than the kids I’ve worked with as a coach, leader, EPA, whatever…this comes as both a blessing and curse. I love the relationship you can build and the mentorship you can provide because let’s face it, when you were younger there was probably a younger adult who you confided in more than your fifty year-old neighbour. Not dissing the neighbour, I’m sure they’re lovely. It is also curse. You’re almost never prepared for a lot that comes your way and you learn as you go. Nobody takes you seriously because you’re young but you’re old enough to know that it’s not right. Well buckle in, because a few things are not right.
- LOOK AT YOUR KID’S PHONES.
Your kids don’t deserve “privacy” or the “right to explore electronics independently”. Until they can understand the Charter of Rights and Freedoms-just no. More specifically, check your kids “friends” account. These are the separate accounts that you have to request to follow and it usually has some dumb name like “sallysfriendsnohaterz”. No, they are not posting nudes. However, a lot of them are making their lives sound incredibly miserable. Or they’re just really self-centred. Or they’re trying to solve their social problems by posting passive aggressive comments on their selfies or photos of their feet. It’s embarrassing.
2. Kids are self-centred and need to be mentored on how to look beyond their own world.
This mostly has to do with the above. I don’t know how more and more kids have more time to filter and critique 50 selfies of the same pose and yet, “Oh, Rachel has a very busy life. She’s in 5 sports this season.” Something’s not adding up. Quality vs. quantity. A kid who spends their evenings looking at themselves in selfies is not a confident kid. They’re incredibly conceited or incredibly insecure. Figure out which one it is and act accordingly.
3. Register kids in less things that serve them, and register them in more things that serve OTHERS.
I have yet to meet a kid who volunteers for something and yet I remember every single one of my friends actively and consistently volunteering for something, whether they were volunteering in dance classes, SPCA, the Mustard Seed, or venturing on their own for something they were passionate about. Guess what? Developing this skill will greatly reduce the problems in bulletin #1 and #2. “But they’re so busy, we have no time.” If it’s important, then you’ll find time.
4. Teach your kids about where babies come from. Be current and don’t be creepy about it. If you can’t do it, find someone who can and who your kid trusts. Don’t get your neighbour down the street because she happens to be a woman.
No, babies do not come out of belly buttons. Kids are learning earlier and earlier about SOME things, but not all things. And if they do not hear it from you, they will hear it in sporadic, most likely inaccurate ways from someone else. As a coach and as a current wanderer of halls, I’ve heard MANY things. It’s weird what kids say when they think you’re not listening.
5. Your kids aren’t special.
To you they are special. To the rest of the world they are kids. This means A) they don’t get an extra piece of pizza just because they want one B) they’re not going to be babied when they’re rude (because they will be and you know it) C) they don’t get things they don’t deserve.
6. If you do not have a suggestion or plan on helping alleviate a problem, don’t complain about it.
In other words, make it happen. Do it yourself. Don’t like something? Do something about it.
7. Just because your kids CAN have something, doesn’t mean they should.
They don’t need the light up shoes or the hover boards that light up on fire. Could they work for them? Yes.
8. Stop making every holiday a reason to blow money on kids.
They need your time more than your money (although I know that being a former teenager I would’ve hated this suggestion).
9. Don’t live in the past. At least TRY to appreciate what they value in the present.
Did you know kids are obsessed with these things called musica.ly’s ? Or exercising creativity on vsco ? Or snapchat filters? With moderation, they are not a one way ticket to them becoming prostitutes or having low self-esteems or body image problems. In fact, I’ve seen some pretty shy kids turn out some incredible work where they’re allowed to be creative in a way that matters to them.
10. Kids are still creative but we need to adapt too.
One of the hardest things about growing up was watching friends lose their imaginations. Everything became real and there was no time to imagine things. Kids imagine things all the time but they’re not necessarily going to paint it out, or write it out anymore. It’s in the things they say to you when you’ve nurtured that bond with them to be able to do so. It’s in the things they post. It’s in the photos they take. It’s less about saying they lack creativity and more about us searching a little deeper to find it.