I have the privilege of working with young people and getting to hear more about the world they live in. This is invaluable for me as I genuinely believe that adults can learn a lot from them. Here are just a few of the lessons I think we could all learn from:
- Teenagers still need their parents around even though they may be more independent and possibly not that communicative. You may not need to pick them up from school any more, but just being in the house when they are means that you are available if they did need you. It communicates to then that they matter. Teenagers can interpret your absence as a sign you don’t care or don’t want to listen, even when that’s not the case. It doesn’t mean you need to be at their beck and call constantly, just that you make time to be around for them in the week.
- In a similar vein, don’t always resort to filling time by checking your phone when they are playing in the park/with their cars/reading a book. Watching them and being ready to engage again show them how much they matter to you.
- Children and young people need their parents to manage their big feelings. In my humble opinion this is one of the key jobs of a parent and lots of the children I see tell me how much they need this. They need someone steady who can not be overwhelmed when they are overwhelmed. Children and young people are most difficult to manage when they need you the most. They shout and strop and really what they are saying is ‘help me, I feel bad and I don’t know what to do.
For young people
- No body has it all figured out. (see my other blog on this). Sometimes you might look jealously at someone else in your school and wonder why they’ve got all the friends/good marks/looks/coolness/all of the above. But remember everyone is just trying to make their way in the world. Some people manage this without treading too much on others, but some people don’t and will hurt others on the way. Some people look like they don’t have a care in the world and others have the world on their shoulders and many people are somewhere in between. But everyone struggles sometimes, has good times and bad times and makes their way through the best way they can. So be kind to yourself and kind to others.
- Related to this, everyone has ‘stuff’ (baggage, things in their mind etc). It’s different for everyone but there’s always things that are easier and things that are hard.
- Kindness always helps. I’ve blogged on this before, but we have no idea about other people’s stuff (I often get to hear about it in therapy so I can confirm it is there) so being kind is the best way to be.
If you’re under 20 please do add to the comments things which you wish adults or other young people knew.
Stay kind and stay strong