Friday, February 21, 2014
Putting Pressure on Teenagers
On a Facebook page that I follow a question was recently posted on 'giving some ideas for teenage boys to romantically ask their dates to the prom'. This kind of stuff makes me flip out. I wonder how many boys out there really want to find out a romantic way to ask a girl to the prom. Most of them don't even want to find an un-romantic way to ask. They are scared to death to ask. They hope the girl will ask them. And take away all that fear of rejection.
This got me to thinking about who is it that is putting so much pressure on teenagers today. I read a lot in the media about this being the generation of kids that are so stressed. I recently read somewhere that parenting is the most competitive adult sport in today's world. Wow! That says it all right there. It is the parents who are pushing kids so hard that they have such stress in their lives. I think back to when I was raising my own sons and it was a "keep up with the Joneses generation", but it was nothing compared to today.
I have heard that it is called hyper-parenting. Kids are just not allowed to be kids. It starts when they are very, very young. At birth parents start to worry about what pre-school their child is going to get into. For crying out loud, it is pre-school; not college. But it seems to matter. And I know of parents who send their children at the age of 3 (whether they can really afford it or not) so the kid goes to 2-3 years of pre-
school before they ever enroll them in kindergarten. Why is it that a child needs to know how to read at age 4? If they learn at 6, they will still know how to read for a lot of years before they die. Who is the parent really concerned about at this age. Their child? I think not. I think they are much more concerned about how they will look in front of the other parents in their circle.
And now we can talk about sports. Little, tiny basketball and soccer players who are being pushed by their parents. They have barely learned how to walk, let alone learned and know the rules of sports games. I sincerely doubt that any of these tykes asked their parents to 'please, pretty please sign me up for basketball.' And then there are those parents who sign their kids up for private lessons in soccer, wrestling, basketball, etc. Seriously? Have we really lost the ability to let our kids just get out there and play. And figure it out for themselves. Have you attended any middle-school or high school sporting events where the parents coach from the side-lines? It is sad to watch. I feel for the child whose mom or dad is constantly screaming at them on how to play the game. The child seems so confused on whether to listen to their parents or the coach. Often times the coach has told them to do something else. And there is always the 'ball-hog', who is not a team player, because mom or dad want him to be the star of the team. Parents work tirelessly to promote their kid in a sport their kids might not even want to play.
I have heard parents talking around me, as I sit in the stands watching a grandchild play at a sport, (of their choosing, because for the most part I don't even like to attend these events) worrying and talking about what college their child will go to. What the child will be when they grow up. Who is the best guy for a boyfriend! Are you kidding me? Let the kids figure this out. When my granddaughters were in elementary school there was a teacher's aid, who had a son their age, and she made it her job to try to get them to be her son's girlfriend. That is a bit over involved don't you think? I happen to be one of those old-fashioned ladies who believes kids in grade school (or even middle-school, for that matter) should NOT be 'dating'. Period! Plenty of time for finding Mr. Or Miss Right much later down the road. Let them be kids!!
Parents, stop pushing your child to be what you want them to be. Encourage them, yes. Help them make decisions that are the best decisions for them, yes. But otherwise stay out of their business. Don't be a hyper-parent. Don't be pushy. Quit putting so much stress on your kids. A's and B's are great grades. Hell, even a C is considered average. What is wrong with having an average child? Of course you can encourage them to do better, if they are capable, but screaming at them because they got a B!! That is a bit over the top.
You don't want to be the reason they are some day, laying on the therapist couch, trying to work through why "they just don't feel they are good enough."
*as a footnote....to anyone reading this who thinks I am one of those parents, I am working on getting past all of this myself.