You rarely have to look very far these days to find an example of somebody tearing down today’s kids for some perceived failing they have compared to kids in “our” day. Those of us who were paying attention when we were kids might be familiar with the concept – because when we were kids, we used to hear that we had those same failings, compared with kids of the previous generation. And the chain continues for as long as you’re prepared to go back; rest assured that your own grandparents were once the subject of some older people’s rants about “the children of today”. Maybe it’s time to break that chain, because being a kid is hard – and if you have doubts over that, let’s look at a few examples of how.
You’re always following someone else’s rules
When you think about it, everything you do as a kid is governed by what older people have said you can (and cannot) do. There are good reasons for this – the adults in charge at home and at school have the experience to make rules and (usually) have made them with kids’ safety and well-being in mind. But it’s unfair to expect a kid to understand matters as complex as safeguarding, and so sometimes those rules just seem like grown-ups telling you what to do.
People are always telling you how good things are for you
Too many of us adults are guilty of looking at the world kids inhabit today, and wishing we had had the chances today’s kids have. This can tend to lead to us lecturing kids who feel unfulfilled and frustrated. “You’re lucky. When I was a kid…” is never a good way to speak to a child. First of all, well done – you’ve discovered the concept of linear time. Your parents didn’t have the things you did. Your grandkids will have more options than your kids do. As often as not, they’ll just want to play with their RC creature Grrrumball and be left alone. But there is nothing wrong with a kid wanting more in their life, and this should be understood.
Kids now have all sorts of pressures we didn’t
This one depends on a certain amount on your age, but many present-day parents went to school in a time before cell phones and social media – or at least before these things became ever-present. As kids get older, the social scene they have to navigate becomes more and more thorny, and if you’re remembering your adolescence now, you’re probably thinking it was filled with awkward moments and things you’d love to take back. Now, imagine that those moments could be captured for posterity and shared far and wide. That’s one bullet a lot of us have to be glad we dodged.
Everything seems much longer to them than to us
Take a moment and Google “news + [today’s date, one year ago]”. Look at the news stories that come up, for things that happened 365 days ago. At least one of them will cause you to think “Really? That seems like it happened last week!”. As we get older, our perception of time changes because we’ve lived more seconds, minutes, days, and years. To a kid, waiting a week for something like Christmas feels like forever – and it’s hard to communicate to them that wishing time away is wasteful. They’ll know one day to savor every moment they have, but for now, give them a break if they complain about having to wait for something.
What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.
Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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