PLEASE, teach your child how to respect themselves above all and before anything else. There are many aspects to respecting yourself that affect a person's self worth and personality as a whole. We should be understanding of our own faults, learn from our mistakes, have an idea of our goals, get back up each time we fail, and never let someone else's opinion change how we feel about ourselves. Yes easier said than done, but are you actually teaching your child this? Have you explained, talked about, or shown how a relationship should flow. Whether raising a young woman or man, each should realize the respect they need to have for themselves as well as each other.
This brings me to the issues with technology I wish we could and would more openly address with our kids.
- When did riding bikes with your crushes become posting status updates every 5 minutes on facebook?
- When did phone calls stop being something you hid in your room to do late at night with your significant other and become snap chatting selfies?
- When did calling from payphones and being home or at a certain check point on time become a complete mute point where children come and go as they please?
- When did texting I love you become become sexting the most appalling messages?
- When did passing notes or even arguing between classes become posting to twitter for the whole world to see?
- When did our young boys become punks with no respect and when did our young girls become sleezy and self degrading individuals?
With a very eye opening week into the lives of a teenager in today's technological society, I cry for help in educating our young. I don't want to see the selfie pics of your son (or mine) showing off his six pack half naked because he thinks it's sexy to post online. I don't want to see the selfie pics of your daughter (or mine) showing off her breasts, mid-drift, or thongs half naked because she thinks it's sexy to post online. Somewhere between my parent's and my children's generations, we stopped taking Polaroids to keep hidden in a drawer and started posting pictures for EVERYONE to have a digital copy and look at for the rest of their lives.
I don't want to see the text messages I recently read between your son and my daughter OR your daughter and my son discussing the physical things they would do to each other. I don't want to see the twitter blast discussing the recent argument your son and my daughter OR your daughter and my son recently had so everyone knows the exact details and can chime in on the personal AND intimate details that they have nothing to do with. I don't want to see the sexual, inappropriate, or really any details about your son or daughters past relationship on facebook from 6 months ago.
I beg you to teach your child to respect themselves inside and out. I beg you to teach your child how they put themselves out in the digital world can affect them forever, literally forever. I beg you to teach your child to respect others, they don't know what someone else is dealing with internally. I beg you to teach your child that relationships are intimate and only meant to be kept between the two people involved in the relationship. I beg you to teach your child to think before they act and that every action has a consequence - good or bad. And again, I beg you to teach your child to respect themselves inside and out.
Our boys need to become MEN who understand that it is OK to show feelings but at the same time show respect for their equals. They still should open doors for all women, walk their girlfriend to her front door (or boyfriend), they should introduce themselves before taking a significant other out, and they should even meet each of their best friends parents. Our girls need to become WOMEN who understand they are worth something more than a body. It is is OK for them to be strong and opinionated in a respectful manner to all around them. They should show respect for their boyfriend's parents by meeting them dresses appropriately (or girlfriend). They too, should even meet each of their best friends parents. And both should have respect for their elders using frequently the key words "Thank you, Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir, Allow me, Please, or No Thank."
Yes, being a teenager raging with hormones and feeling like they know more than we do as adults, is completely normal. BUT, that doesn't change the fact that they need to be made aware of the long term effects. That naked snap chat can be recovered; that sext has been saved, shown to friends, and even forwarded or screen shot; that tweet about someone is being read by future college advisers; that facebook status where you and your friends acted like idiots at some business while checking in at that location, it being read by the job recruiter considering you for a position. Once it's online or in the digital world, it is there forever and ever. PERIOD.
*Read my Disclosure