Every time I think about the “teen years,” my thoughts return to the famous opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Doesn’t this sound like the emotional ups and downs of a pre-teen or teen, their hopes and aspirations, their gloom and despair? I have often wondered if Mr. Dickens had young adults (pre-teen or teens) in his house when he wrote the book.
Challenging is apt description of the pre-teen and teen years.
Teens’ bodies are growing and changing at such a fast pace that it is hard for their brains to keep up, although their brains are changing as well. Emotions flare up, and often out of control, with very little provocation. One moment they say something thoughtful and profoundly wise, and the next moment they are yelling like a three-year-old in a tantrum. They vacillate between playing with toys and developing software.
These years are wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Teens want to be fiercely independent, and independence is, after all, our goal. Yet they have no idea of how dependent they really are. It is up to us to gently guide them through these tumultuous waters into adulthood.
Do you want a simple way to turn your pre-teen and teen’s thoughts toward responsible adulthood?
Would you believe that one little change has the potential to initiate a shift in your pre-teen and teen’s paradigm? The change is simple—begin calling them “young adults.” Many kids ages twelve to eighteen feel stuck in a hazy world between childhood and adulthood. They tend to shy away from added responsibility and frequently pick the easy, deceptive life of dependence.
Several beneficial things happen with this easy little change on your part.
- You will introduce responsible adulthood into their thinking.
- You will help them begin to realize they won’t be a child forever.
- You may guide them to more responsible behavior and higher expectations upon themselves.
- You will communicate more respect toward them.
- You could encourage them to be confident about taking appropriate action when observing a need or a wrong committed.
- You will help them begin to envision themselves being helpful during times of crisis or emergency.
Just calling your child a young adult will not ensure he will act like an adult, but it will make him aware of the fact that he will inevitably become an adult in age, and it may encourage him to choose to become one in maturity and responsibility as well. It is a simple change on your part, but it will implant the seed of big change in the heart of your child.