While in an office today, I was listening to a parent of a teenager say multiple times “she’s crazy”, “my teenager is crazy.” Then she mentioned in the next breath that she had a 4 year old. This mother didn’t have any particular remarks about her 4 year old son except that she wanted to get him into soccer or Tai Kwon Do — something active. Apparently her daughter played soccer. I asked “Why do you like soccer?” The responses were what I would expect to hear: for fun, for the exersize, for her socialization. But what kept lingering in my head is that she kept saying her daughter was “crazy.” I indicated that the teen age is the most difficult of all, she agreed but continued to speak in frustration about her daughter.
I wondered why parents spend so much time and energy getting their children signed up for activities that make them busy and make them interact with other teens in a competitive way (sports). Wouldn’t teens benefit by interacting and being around people that are older, experienced? People that have gone through that teen time to be successful in their career and community? Would it be possible for the parent to promote activities with respected members of the community or for the child to find a few hours of employment and not worry so much about their social concerns?
Social concerns never end. They can go on our whole lives, but telling your child (I’m sure she doesn’t just use that phrase with strangers only) that she’s “crazy” is not going to help her/him through this passage of life. Ask what they think, how they feel. Try not to be judgemental of them. Teens want to be respected by their parents, mostly want to please them, but calling them “crazy” because they are experiencing life in a different manner than you may have — will not aid in their emotional growth.
If parent’s would spend some time learning about human development as they do about pop culture, sports figures and TV personalities — perhaps they would be better equipped to address the concerns of their children when situations arise that frustrate them about their teens moods or behaviors. Parents spend more time preparing for their careers than they do for the most important job they will ever have — raising a child.