This should be read by kids and parents together.
Young children are known to be pretty horrid to each other. I have heard some of the meanest things in playgrounds! Teenagers go through a lot as far as relationships go. Everybody knows it and everybody goes through it or has gone through it, so it’s no big deal. We know, as adults, that we get over it eventually. Still, sometimes, it really hurts and teenage hormones may lead to unexpected reactions. Children and teenagers don’t always have the maturity to put things into perspective yet.
Discovering new feelings is disturbing. There is more and more social pressure in schools to be a certain way and part of the “in” crowd. But the “in” crowd is not the right one for every child. When facing a difficult social situation, when you try to adjust pretending to be someone else to fit in, or when you find yourself left out because you won’t settle for certain rules, it creates a world of new emotions that have to be faced.
Coming from the children world where, granted, kids can indeed be mean to one another, but where things are also easily forgotten, the teenage world is a bit tougher because things affect kids in a different way. To avoid pain, embarrassment and shame, many teenagers forget who they are and follow the herd. For them, it is better to have bad friends than no friends at all and they take the consequences. Even though in reality, there are always other friends but to them, it feels like there aren’t any or they are not worth giving up the status they have acquired.
As teenagers, you have to stay aware of who you are and understand your value. This is a very hard thing to do for some people. The pressure of so-called friends may drag you down. You must stick with the friends who get the best out of you. I am talking about friendships AND more involved relationships.
It is a very hard concept to grasp for kids and teenagers alike. I can’t tell you how many 14-year-olds I have had to console when their best friend decided to “dump” them after some bitter fight over silliness. Of course, for them, it is not silly. A first experience of back-stabbing is not pleasant. What teenagers often don’t see is that they don’t need people like that in their lives. And yet they fall out and love each other again over and over.
I always ask kids what those friends bring to their lives. Any relationship is an exchange. To put it very simply: What I do makes you happy and what you do makes me happy. I grow thanks to your influence and vice versa. My life gets richer because you are in it and so does yours because I am in it. Teenagers have to be reminded constantly of this. Some are stronger than others or more mature and will be able to be burnt once and then understand and move on to greener pastures, but others take longer or, in worst cases, really fall into the trap.
I am not saying that there are good kids and bad kids. There are simply different people, with different values, different backgrounds, different histories, cultures, ideas, opinions, etc. who do not necessarily function well with just everybody. In the formative teenage years, you haven’t always completely defined yourself and influences can take you far from who you really are.
Boys and girls take the same risks. Girls will cry and scream more and boys will punch and kick more but the result is the same. Kids have to learn as soon as possible to surround themselves with people who add to their lives and only produce positive emotions. They also have to learn that they have to do the same if they want good relationships. Little upsets are always likely to happen in a relationship but that’s normal and doesn’t have a long lasting result. But if you see your kids mad, hurt, disappointed on a regular basis, look into it, don’t just let it be thinking it’s only teenage stuff. Self-esteem at that age is too important.
The key to remember is: What you give is what you get. Never lower yourself to someone else’s level. Be your true, honest, friendly, generous, genuine and happy self and you will only attract like-minded people.
Florence Bernard advises parents to become better educators with some insider’s information gathered along her 17 years in education. Her book, Better At School, the Essential Guide to help Kids Improve at School describes simple methods to achieve kids’ best potential. Discover it and more great tips on http://www.betteratschool.com
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