Those teenagers. Those rebellious, argumentative teens. It's like aliens have taken over their bodies. Our children used to worship us. They used to listen to everything we said. They used to think we knew it all. They used to want to be just like us. Now they fight. They argue. They question. They challenge. Isn't it horrible?
No. I don't think it is. I think it's wonderful. I think it's a beautiful age of discovery. Finding out who they are for themselves, that they don't have to be the person everyone else tells them to be. Learning to think for themselves. And, yes, challenging everything!
For the life of me, I don't understand why everyone has such a stereotype in their heads about teens. Why is everything they do that you don't agree with labeled rebellious? Do you understand that is an opinion and not a fact? As soon as you change your perception and see a desire to learn and grow and become instead of fighting your every wish, it is no longer rebellion. It's defining themselves. It's growing up.
I believe we get so frustrated because we sense that we are losing control. We are no longer in charge of what they do or who they choose as friends or what they wear. They don't want to follow our rules anymore; they want to make their own rules.
But I have news for you. It's not our job to control them -- it's theirs! I believe it is our job to support, guide, teach, protect . . . but not to control.
We spend so much time teaching them to be polite. To do what they're told. To not ruffle feathers. And then we expect that at eighteen they will magically be able to go out into the world and be independent adults. We've tried to micromanage every decision for them, and now they're on their own. Good luck, son!
Eighteen is an arbitrary number for adulthood. The legal age in this country for various things has changed over the years. The age to smoke. The age to drink. The age to be legally accountable. The age to have sex. These all change depending on society's current view. Is this because one generation of children is more (or less) mature than the others? No. It's because adults have decided they got it wrong before and they are trying to fix it.
Do we really think that just because they are young and inexperienced, they have no good ideas? That they can't discover new truths?
In my faith, we believe that Joseph Smith (a fourteen-year old boy) restored Christ's gospel to the earth. That he resisted the growing push to join religion. That he questioned. And that he received new truth. A truth his parents and grandparents didn't have.
It's a good thing his parents didn't write him off as a rebellious teenager.
I think there's too much polite in our world. I think there's too much "go along to get along" attitude. I think there's not enough challenging of the current system.
As if the adults are doing such a great job running things.
Our teenagers argue with us. They challenge what we say. And they question everything. And that's exactly what they are supposed to do. That is how they define who they want to be. And if we can just ease up a bit and look for the glory in teens, we might find that we like them. A lot. I know I do.