Hand in Hand with Our Teenagers

Copyright 1999 Susan Kramer

As adults we serve as children's guides for society's future benefit
Childhood to adulthood, a process of change from dependency to self-determination

We were each a child who grew and became more visible in the world. If we respect children as individuals who have their own thoughts, emotions, and dreams, they will feel good about themselves, and in turn respect us. This back and forth respect and communication bridges the generation gap.

Children are our inspirations to act as best we can
Growth is from both sides
The 'adult' is the example and the 'child' inspires the adult to be their best

Children are impressionable and react rapidly to stimulus. Children, as individuals, need a general and personalized plan with their schooling to develop their inherent qualities. And, besides academics, children need to learn practical living skills, and spiritual practices, which provide a foundation for living in society as useful adults.

Children learn best when they see the adults around them modeling the behavior and skills they want the children to learn

Upon reaching the teenage years, our children walk across a bridge spanning the river of uncertaintyfrom the security of childhood on one sideto the other side of sole responsibility. It is a swinging bridge, with teenagers swaying at the beginning, in the middle, and at the endsometimes hanging on precariously along the waytill finally stepping onto the firm ground of solo independence.

Adults need to extend teenagers a helping hand if they are about to fall
Otherwise we should just observe and allow them to master their walk

The basis for their behavior as teenagers, was set before they became teenagers. In the teenage years the fledglings are testing their wings. Adults can guide but not act for teenagersotherwise they won't reach the end of their bridge to independenceor will be slowed down past the age of twenty.

Guidelines for teenage behavior at home and at school should be set by the parents and teachers with repercussions made known beforehand, and then enacted if the rules are violated. As adults, we have golden opportunities to inspire and bring out the best in childrenour next generationby our words and actions. Let us, as responsible adults, fully love each other, and our childrenliving as the best examples that we can.

Compromise has a place in parenting

When enforcing our rules we do not always have to play the tyrant. We can give in on small points. Then when the big problems come, we can stick to our principles without the child feeling that we are never flexible. This attitudethis compromise in parentingshows children that each event in life requires individual considerationthat one pat way will not be the wisest choice in each situation.

Compromise in parenting involves our partner, too. It makes us feel good to give in to our partner's requests sometimeswhen we would rather do something else. Children learn from example more than from words. They find their way to happiness by seeing us care for others. Expressing care through action is the way we manifest real love.

In summary, compromise with the children does not necessarily make them think that we are weak or can be easily swayed. It shows them that we use our mind to weigh the merits of each individual situation. Why be bound to one of our own ruleswhen a better way is evident?

Teenagers are individuals
soon to be adults
part of our world wide family
Let's guide their journey
by being the best we can be
Giving them our caring love, our guidance
Teenagers are people, too
and one day may be parents
From the highest consciousness in ourselves
Let's give them the best of ourselves

Author Profile Susan Kramer, author of Free to Move While Learning the 3Rs and over 30 collections of writings on spirituality and consciousness, is the mother of 5 grown children and 6 grandchildren. More of her writings can be viewed at her web site

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