It’s true. What do they mean when they say ‘parents are obsolete?’ The dictionary states ‘obsolete’ meaning ‘no longer produced or used; out of date’.
More likely they are saying that they, the kids, can’t and don’t trust their parents to be informed, helpful, accepting or able to help them. Parents are seen as out of touch. But the biggest concern most kids have today about their parents is that they don’t seem to have time for them. Parents seem to be too busy to help them with their growing issues or their need for guidance so they don’t trust in what they say. Kids today are more likely to find their own answers from other friends or the Internet if they have access.
When parents do pay attention it is to condemn, complain, yell, scream or over parent. Those are called helicopter parents (click for more) these days. They hover over their kids to make sure they are OK but issue orders instead of explaining things. That’s not caring–that’s smothering them and reducing, to near zero, any opportunities their kids have to learn about managing their own lives. Then there are parents who believe, fervently, in the democratic style of parenting (click for more) which is almost as harmful. Too many choices and it doesn’t allow the kid to think through the issues and come to a conclusion on his/her own that he/she can try out and learn from. We learn from our mistakes, not our successes. If the parents don’t understand how to use this style appropriately the outcomes could see the kids undisciplined and not understanding the term consequences. Boundaries can be blurred as well.
So why do kids see their parents as ‘obsolete’–no trust. Parents don’t communicate well with their kids, don’t have the quality time to spend with their kids and so they do not have the trust of their kids. They pay attention to them but learn nothing from them.
Parents need to take the time to do the job they signed on for. We are all tired at the end of the day. We are all worried about the economy and what if? We all need to recreate with our own friends. But why have kids if they don’t remain a priority? Our kids are telling us that to develop a trust they first need to feel connected and that they have value–that they are relevant. Spend time with them. Get to know who they really are. Listen more and keep your mouth closed more. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they are doing but stop short of telling them what they have to do all the time. Do things with them. Try doing things that THEY want to do instead of what you want to do. Give them a choice every once in a while.
Our kids greatest influences come from strangers:
Currently, many kids are under the powerful control of mass marketers. The folks who sell iPhones and video games. Those who control the fashion industry for kids. Those who tell our kids which shoes are the right ones. The media folks who depict young girls as young women. I think of the parents who dress up their little girls for those ridiculous ‘beauty’ pageants believing they are doing something wonderful. Some actually think this is good for their ‘self-esteem’. These little people have no idea what that is at that age let alone how to ‘win it’. I wonder what the little ones feel like when they are told that they are not good enough to win or that they are not pretty enough to win or that ‘fat’ girls aren’t pretty and they don’t win. How does that affect their self-esteem? In my opinion, some ‘mommies’ are using their kids to boost their own sense of self-esteem and not the other way around. Let our children be children. They will be adults soon enough. If they still want to compete in a pageant when the get older they will at least understand the politics of it all and what it really means.
There are few opportunities for kids to learn about what is happening on their insides these days. They aren’t introduced to their emotions other than by experiencing anger and sadness perhaps and told to ‘get over it’. Little boys don’t understand what being male is about. Kids are more depressed today than ever before and at younger ages–why? Teen suicides are climbing–why? Kids are bored and turn to bullying and violence more often–why? Kids are dropping out of school more readily–why? Kids are more entitled and less interested in the concept of working for what they want–why? Everything that goes on around them and influences them is about what is going on on their outsides. IF parents want to become ‘un-obsolete’ (is there such a word??) then they need to start doing the real things that are needed to keep their kids engaged in and connected to family. Parents need to get back all the way back to doing what many have forgotten about or are too busy to do and that is keeping their children connected in meaningful relationships that allow the kids to grow, learn and talk about the real things going on in their lives. Do that and we will hear less talk about obsolescence in their lives and their homes.
I have included a link that could be a great resource for those parents who wonder if they are doing ‘it’ right or may be conflicted about what to do now or what approach is the appropriate one given a particular problem. It is called: “thebabbleout.com.” Zoey has a great story to tell and this might just be the most valuable few minutes you have spent in a while. Don’t miss this chance to learn something new.
Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim. Thanks for stopping by–pass this along to your friends and drop off your comments to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Check me out at: jimcloughley.com for other stuff I’m up to.