If you are a grandparent of teenage children, you know and can see the differences in today’s culture as opposed to the way things were when we were growing up. I was having a conversation with a gal from church who is a few years older than I and we were remarking how different the world is today than it was 25 to 30 years ago. Here are some of the differences we talked about.
One of the biggest things we noticed is how today’s teens are so much more free with their sexuality. As a youth leader in my church, I hear only glimpses of the sexual acts being committed by kids as young as 12! I know there are kids “exploring” their sexuality at a much younger age than even 12, which really blows my mind.
Another difference between teens nowadays and when I was a teenager is the attitude. Teenagers have a lot less respect for their elders than when I was a teen. Also, they are so much more outspoken. I am often shocked at the things kids say to their parents and other authority figures. When I was a teen, I would have gotten slapped across the face or grounded if I spoke to my mom the way I hear some kids speak to their parents. Why is this happening? Why the change? I think a lot of it has to do with the media. Television shows, music and movies teach the kids today that sexual freedom is okay, that speaking your mind is the way to be no matter who gets hurt because it’s your opinion, and that we don’t have to listen to authority because who are they to tell us how to live? Then on the other hand, we hear the statistics of teen pregnancy, of STD’s that teen girls have (1 in 4 teen girls in the US have an STD), and so on.
So, how can we as grandparents, help our teens be more respectful, teach them how not to get pregnant and contract an STD? I think we need to look back at how we were raised and how our parents were raised. We had an 87 year old woman talk to the families at church a couple of Sundays ago about how she was raised. Wow, the difference from even how I was raised! She used to get up early in the morning with her brothers and sisters and do chores. Go to school for only a few hours, then come home and do more chores. They had a family farm and she milked the cows with her hands, fed the chickens and collected their eggs and many other chores she had to do daily. Nowdays we’re lucky if we can get our teens off the couch to pick up their dishes they left on the coffee table!
I’m not trying to bash anyone here. I have a heart for teens and love them dearly. I deal with so many that are abused and neglected in our youth group that it just saddens me to think of the world that they are growing up in. It also scares me a little to think of where this world will be and how the teens will be 20 years from now! I know with today’s technology we’re not going to be raising our kids and grandkids on the family farm. But, how can we, with today’s technological advances, pass down the values we had as kids and help retain those values in our grandchildren?
What are your thoughts and opinions on this issue? Your input is greatly valued and if you have any success stories, our readers would like to hear what you have done as a parent or grandparent to raise your children or grandchildren so they are respectful, not lazy or becoming parents during their teen years.