Every one of us has a hero inside of us, we believed this as a child, then adults in the guise of parents, teachers, relatives, friends of our parents came along and crushed this belief, limited our capabilities, shackled the genius that lay within us.
As kids, did you run after kites, watch stars letting your minds wonder if there are others like you residing in them? Have you run after butterflies to catch them, look at their beauty as they fluttered in your hands, and then let them fly off? Did you watch the ants move in a line from one point to another and wonder what could they possibly be telling each other as they met with their antennae? Curiosity is innate in us as is imagination. As we grow older, we forget to be bold, enthusiastic, to love, and to dream.
Harsh experiences of broken promises, dirty politics, fake people, large egos bring us to “our reality” and we then throw that at our kids as their reality.
Let’s not undermine how stressed and anxious adolescents are these days, most of this has been contributed by well-intentioned parents. You speak to these young teens in a matter of fact way, but how they receive those words and create their own world is very different. A young extra-ordinarily bright 14-year old was suffering from exam anxiety. Most of you would say, it’s no big deal, most kids do anyway, but are you conscious of how such anxiety saps the performance capability out of your teen? Their percentage score can drop by as much as 7 to 8 percentage. So, someone who’s scoring 85 to 87% can actually raise their score to 93% just simply by reducing their anxiety during exams, along with some parental support.
As parents, you may believe that you know better, seen more, experienced more, and understand more than your teen, however, the sheer lack of compassion and desire to keep adding value to their lives damage them much more than you could ever imagine.
Teen: “I am going for group study today at Arshya’s”.
You: “How many of you are going to be there? Are you sure you will study and not watch a movie or something?
You probably wanted your teen to understand that you are aware of alternate possibilities in this situation, what you’ve successfully done is reduce her trust factor with you. You have subtly encouraged her to tell you a story when she really goes to watch a movie.
You: “The next few years are very critical for you. Make sure your marks are good”
Possible responses from your teen:
Should your Teen be highly responsible, she will take full ownership of what you said, and this will create a huge amount of anxiety in her as the pressure mounts of living up to your expectation.
Should your Teen be competitive then too, she will delve into the need to live up to your expectation.
If you Teen is a happy go lucky kid and doesn’t heed what you say, then in all possibility your rising anxiety at her constantly not-up-to-the-mark grade would blind you to explore other possibilities to motivate her.
Parenting is not easy, but what we say to your kids matters a great deal, know your Teen’s uniqueness to be her true mentor.