Help for Parents Dealing with Teenagers – 13 Jan 11


Yesterday I wrote about the efforts that we are making here to teach children honesty and some good values for their life. It is not that easy and I know that this is the problem of many parents all around the world. The big question is: how do I teach my children values that the society around them does not deem important at all?

You have a certain idea of what is right and how you should live. You yourself believe in love, in compassion, you would like your children to have self-esteem, to treat others right, not to hurt themselves and to take responsibility for their actions. This is why, when they do something wrong, you explain them why you are angry instead of beating them. You tell them not to steal and not to say bad words. Instead you show them to solve conflicts calmly and by understanding the other one and you explain them how your life went, what you learned and which experiences you made. In short, you teach them what is right and what is wrong.

What do you do however if your surrounding teaches your children exactly the opposite? Your children go out of the safety of your home and learn all those things that you never wanted them to hear, say or do. You see what they do, against all that you taught them and of course you will feel sad. Did I do something wrong? What could I have done in another way? Did I lose my connection to my child? And maybe at some point you will even feel that your child thinks whatever you taught and told is nonsense.

Let me tell you, you could not have done anything else. Dealing with teenagers may not be easy but feelings of guilt don’t help anything. You have passed on your values, you have done your best. You cannot do anything else. Every person, also a child or a teenager has his or her own personality and the people who are around this boy or girl have a bigger influence in that time than you. You have coined the first years of this person’s life. Now all that you can do is offer support and keep a connection in between your hearts.

Of course, each case is different and it is different here than it is there. Sometimes it will be necessary to say a strict word and sometimes it is better to simply watch and give soft guidance if possible. The important thing is to stay in love, to remain calm and know that also children will go their own way. You have explained them all that you could and you showed them enough. You can say it again and again but now they will live their life. I believe that at some point, maybe only when they are adult, they will remember the values that you taught them.

This is what we hope for the children of our school, too. I don’t have the ambition of changing the world or making the whole world a better place. I may not be able to change the families of the children whom we teach. I may not even be able to change all of the children of our school. If I can improve only the life of a few children however, I will be happy and satisfied. If some of these children, when they are adult, remember what they learned in our school, not only about numbers and facts, but about their heart, about honesty and love, then I will be happy.

9 Replies to “Help for Parents Dealing with Teenagers – 13 Jan 11”

  1. When you say to “stay inlove” it reminds me of a Tolle quote about role playing with children or in any other relationship:”As you look at, listen to, or help your child with this or that, you are alert, still, completely present not wanting anything other than that moment as it is. In this way you make room for being. In this moment you are not father or mother. You are the alert stillness, the presence that is listening, looking, touching, even speaking. You are the being behind the doing.”

    And one more quote about role playing:
    ” Why does the ego play roles? Because of one unexamined assumption, one fundamental error, one unconscious thought. That thought is: I am not enough. Other unconscious thoughts follow: I need to play a role in order to get what I need to be fully myself; I need to get more so that I can be more. But you cannot be more than you are because underneath your physical and psychological form you are one with life itself, One with being. In form you are and always will be inferior to some, superior to others. In essence you are neither inferior or superior to anyone. True self-esteem and true humility arise out of that realization. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth they are one and the same.”

  2. I think this last paragraph is really important- it is impossible to change the whole world, especially if you mean to. And if you plan to change it all you will only exhaust yourself.

  3. My little sister was always crazy growing up. My parents tried to get more and more strict to control her but she just went crazier and crazier. Eventually she left, before I even left the house. I swear she finds out what they want her to do just so she can do the opposite. Now I have kids and I don’t know… The way my parents handled my sister can’t be right, cuz they tried to break her. But I can’t just let my kids run around without any discipline though.

  4. When I think of the pain of the disillusioned child I feel heart broken. And when I think about all the ugliness they learn and inherent I think “They didn’t ask for any of this.” Whether you dislike him or like him, trust him or don’t, Obama said something lovely in his speech last week at the Tuscon memorial, in response to the death of the young girl during the shootings:”I want all of us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us — we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.” Candy lands, no school and 10 acre trampolines aside, what would the world be life if we could live up to our own children’s expectations of it? My gosh. It is something to strive for and a dream that purchase many people can connect on.

  5. That’s so sad! I know this one family that locked their daughter up with nothing but a bucket and a bible in the room. She escaped and came back pregnant and in need of rehab a year later. And also, she is so full of hatred. You can’t try to squash someone’s flame like that. Children are not here for you to mold and squish into shape, they are more like kites, they have a form separate from you and the best you can do is try to help guide from a distance.

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