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What’s Old is New Again

August 18th, 2011

Sometimes the idea that what’s old is new again can be positive. But when I listened to the podcast and heard how the alcohol and pot of the 60s and 70s are now favored by teens – well, it wasn’t a good thing. We’re talking about the era I grew up in and yes, teens were doing plenty of experimenting and rebelling. However, it seemed to pass quickly for most and the consequences were not too significant.

Fast forward to today and I can tell you I worry about my grandkids and the choices they may make. The use (and abuse) of alcohol and drugs has been normalized and the behavior often glorified. There does not seem to be any rules to this game, but the consequences are severe.

So where do parents start? This sounds so simple – spend time together as a family. The podcast mentioned the alarming small amount of time dads and moms spend with their children. Time together is how you build affection and trust. This is the basis for communication.

Talk about yourself and the pressures and choices that came at each age. Be honest in sharing your own experiences.  That doesn’t mean I have to tell every little detail about what I did, or didn’t do. But I can share my mistakes and the consequences of my choices.  I can share my values and beliefs.

Allow for some experimentation. What I mean is it is natural for kids to experiment. That is how they learn. As a parent you can allow experimentation in areas where there is little or no long term danger. Let your child experiment with various school activities, part-time jobs, types of hair style and clothing. A wise parent learns when to close her eyes or bite her tongue. I choose to look past the trendy clothes and purple hair. The clothes change and the hair grows out. Instead i focus my energies on open conversations about choices that affect my grandkids’ futures. We may not always agree but they know they can speak freely with me.

Children are growing up in the same world as we adults live in but their experiences are very different.  The one thing I, and you as a parent, can do is be present. Do not turn over all influence to peers and media. Children and teens need and want, support, guidance, and caring from their parents. If that is what’s old is new again, I think it is a very good thing.

Donna Donald

media and kids, positive parenting, raising teens, safety

  1. Lori
    | #1

    Blue Blaze Shimmer – that was the name of the eye shadow I sported my freshman year in highschool. I was just thinking of it yesterday when my own freshman daughter came out of her bedroom with a beautiful tint of pale tan. I made sure to compliment her and then wondered how my mother could have let me out of the house with Blaze Blue. UGH! As I read your post however I thought about the decisions my parents let me make – the eyeshadow, the running tights & boxers everyday wear, the 4 in hairsprayed bangs (yes I’m a child of the 80′s); and the ones they didn’t-no cruising after 11, can’t cruise in THAT town, no sleepovers on school nights. Although I didn’t understand then, as a parent I certainly understand now about their decisions, and I too choose my battles and bite my tongue. It must be working since she chose a beautiful pale tan instead of BLAZE BLUE!

  2. Donna Donald
    | #2

    I too wore the blaze blue and some obnoxious shade of green! Wise parents learn to choose their battles. Here’s hoping it keeps working at your house.

  3. frustrated
    | #3

    Sometimes choosing your battles doesn’t work. It depends on the child and their own personality and stubborness as well, as we have learned. Our oldest, just barely graduated highschool, now pregnant, attending an online college, with a still in high school boyfriend and despite our greatest efforts, tried drugs and loves alcohol. Our efforts are working with our younger three though. It just goes to show, it doesn’t always matter what you do.

  4. Donna Donald
    | #4

    There are no “absolutes” in parenting as you have learned. There is not a set of guidelines that insures success. Sometimes after we have done our best, all we can do is love our child.

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