Empower Your Teen!

     I wanted to pull my hair out, stomp around and scream and yell and then run away!  Yep that's what I wanted to do yesterday as I received another call from the principal at my daughters school.  This was the second in a week.  It has seemed that my model student, know it all teen newby daughter is on a tough learning curb!  I usually am pretty calm with big issues, almost excited actually (which is sick) to teach them new life skills. I jump on them to teach my kids about life and themselves and others.  I empower them to death! This week it was just too much.  I know that crazy super moon was stripping away issues and evolving everyone in my house.  Wow! Growth is great, but this is ridiculous!!

     So here's the story.  Mikaela took a pair of someones shoes home and told me a friend gave them to her. I had no idea.  She got caught, and I got called in.  Not impressed!  She gave the shoes back, apologized, and said she made a bad mistake and acted impulsively.  The principal was too easy I think but Mikaela seemed to learn from her mistake.

     This week she pulled some guys pants down as a joke.  The sneek by and quick yank-a-tha-pants.  Lol! Kind of funny but a very poor choice of actions.  Luckily he grabbed a hold of his gotchies!  Not impressed.  I got called in.  It was a big deal.  She didn't get it.  Everyone was joking around and I guess in school these days the kids don't have a lot of respect, and the teachers tend to turn a blind eye to many a goings on.  So her and a group of friends were horsing around and playing tricks on each other all day.  Teachers saw and didn't stop them.  So finally at the end of the day things escalated and the pants were yanked. Everyone including the yanked found it funny but decided to tell on Mikaela.  It was a suspendable act. A very big deal. Sexual harassment.  Mikaela says the kids always play pranks on each other and it was not out of the ordinary.

     So after I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't on candid camera (surprise I wasn't!) I agreed to voluntarily pull her out of school for the day to avoid a suspension.  The principal was easy on her.  She's a good girl who made a bad choice.... again!!

     What would you do in a situation like this?  Get mad? Blame the other kids?  Blame the school for allowing the kids to be out of control? Ignore it? Or remind your child that ultimately they are responsible for their own actions despite what others are doing.  Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean it's a wise choice. And surprise! There is no special "joke" or "everyone does it" clause in policy, rules, or the law.  It is what it is and if you get caught, you pay the price.  So watch yourself, and always make a wise choice for yourself.  Don't follow the status qua.

     Was I mad...of course!  Mikaela was under house arrest for the day, did chores, projects, and did a paper on respect and sexual harassment.

     There were other kids involved and they will likely be reprimanded as well. They have a "no tattling" code between kids.  Your not cool if you tell.  Mikaela filled me and the principal in with all the other inappropriate "jokes" that these kids do.  She should have told someone sooner.  It was out of control.  Again, I was not impressed!!

     Here's the skinny.  Always use every unpleasant event and mistake in your child's life to build character, inner strength, and positive decision making skills.  We all make mistakes, but do we learn from them and use that knowledge to make a better choice next time?

     Next, I find that teen behavior is often victimizing, but  they call it joking.  Name calling, labeling, sexual degrading names, comments and labels are all inappropriate.  These kids use these names like whore, bitch, slut, etc, jokingly.  Not appropriate.  This type of behavior conditions our young people to be tolerant to abuse.  It's OK if he calls me a whore, we just joke that way.  NOT!!  Another girl posted a pic on her Facebook of a boy mowing her lawn and wrote "look at that little bitch!"  Horrific!!

     We need to teach our children self respect and self esteem.  We need to set the example by how we treat our self and others. How a person feels about them self will reflect on how they feel and treat others. Are we angry and blame others for our shortcomings? Do we yell and scream because we can't control our temper? Do we name call and degrade others for fun.  Our children see how we act and in turn mirror their surroundings.

     Mikaela made a mistake, and gained some knowledge on the harassment laws.  Mikaela stole someones shoes.  She gave them back and we had a lesson on energy and karma law. Does she get it?  As good as a 13 year old is gonna get it.  For her this has been a learning week. There is no excuse for these actions but we used them to do some soul searching, self healing, and character building.

     We need to pull our children out of this world sometimes.  A world of self entitlement, instant gratification, and enabling.  Teach your children empathy, honesty, respect, and love for others.  When they make mistakes use this as a stepping stone to teach them about themselves.  Have them problem solve to figure out why they made the mistake and how to fix it. Maybe they are acting out frustration or anger from something else going on in their life.  Use this time to help them heal whatever is causing them issues.  Show them that they have the power to learn and make good choices.  This is a human journey and we need to make mistakes to learn and grow.  If need be, there is always help out there from a professional or Councillor.

     For every choice we make their is a outcome.  If we make a positive decision, we get a positive result.  If we make a bad choice, we get a bad result.  That's how it is.  We reap what we sow.  Our present reality it the sum of our past choices. Teach your children this.  Teach them to stop and think and if they make a bad choice, own it and fix it.  They don't have the power to go back and change what they did, but they do have the power to repair the damage, take control of the choices that have now and learn from the mistake.  This is called self empowerment.

     Parents who sweep issues under the carpet or rescue their children when issues arise cripple their children in many ways.  They take away the chance for their child to gain knowledge, inner strength and character.  Without developing problem solving and reasoning skills based on ones own experiences, as grown ups these kids can't cope.   When we allow our kids to reap the consequences of their actions it teaches them responsibility and respect.  When you rescue your child constantly, it prevents them from aquiring essentially life skills to survive as an adult in an adult world.  This results in kids who are breaking out into college or the work force not able to survive.  They can't handle responsibility and don't have the self confidence or skills to be responsible for themselves let alone know how to be successful.. This results in kids returning home and living as adults off their parents, becoming drug addicts, alchololics, abusive, or using others to enable them.

     Enabling is poison to your child's self esteem in the long run.  When we signed up as parents we didn't sign up for a fairyland family or a daddy Warbucks fantasy.  We took on the responsibility of someone's life and future.  As parents we are responsible to raise this child and teach them how to be a successful adult.

    Are we doing that?  Although no one is perfect, we can always jump on the opportunities we are given to empower our children with skills and thinking that will help them to become a successful adult.



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