How many times do we, as adults, stop to listen and I mean really listen to our adolescent children? Yes we are adults and often claim to know much more than before, but have we really learned? Parents from all walks of life quite often find themselves asking this question: What do I do? Soon we realize that we dont really know enough. In fact we actually do not have the answer. However, we do know that soon it will be time to put the kids to bed. Soon after that, daylight will break through and will have to rush everyone through the door on to another days work!

Teenagers seem to grow alone, even when they are with us most the time. Adult life tends to selfishly absorb our time and attention from their world. What has happened to us? When did we forget we also needed someone to listen to our needs, and our cry for help? A teens mind becomes quickly overwhelmed with stimulus. If we are not careful to pay attention they lose direction and react, as dependant or hostile to their contemporary social circle. Do parents still honestly teach their kids the concept: "Love Thy Neighbor"? How about the "Ten Commandments" as whole? I would have to be ignorant or politically incorrect and feel free to wonder; does each different religious denomination teach the same moral values to their children?

How do the "Ten Commandments" define moral values as thought in other cultures? Does "Thou Shall Not Kill" change its meaning when thought in other cultures? Parents give up on teaching moral values and relinquish that responsibility to the school and legal systems. Many adults chose to hide or build taboos for teens even commercialize and target their minds.

A clear and present problem.

Just the other day at a prestigious private school a higher-grade student decided to pick on a lower grade student, as a payback from ridicule; picked him up and stuffed him in a garbage can. The officials made an example out of him. They ordered him to explain his wrong doing, before the school assembly. Basically they did the same thing to him. Shortly after his public exhibition they expelled the older student from the school. When questioned by the younger students, the officials would respond, "He was dealt with".

Somewhere else in the world another kid became a statistic of teenage pregnancy, some pre-teenager felt alone and segregated by everyone she/he came across. A kid from a wealthy family is either using drugs or smoking at a young age, say eleven years old. Someones child is been abducted from their home and some teenager is abandoning her infant in the garbage or some steps. An adult is abusing another child. Teenagers dare assault their educators. But not to worry! Not too many teenagers carry weapons to school or around the neighborhood anymore. There is a program in place for that! Oh that is right, life is not all negative, somewhere in the world a teenager is been loved and cared for, with all provided for them.

As an educated society we create a whole additional world of choices and we call these: resources, programs, activities, organizations, sanctuaries. We feel very proud of them as we contribute to society. Oh yes! We also created jobs Ah! There is a small catch too, we get to generate income and promote the economy. "Yes of course it is for the kids!" We just have to decide when and how much.

What goes through a teenagers mind?

"If only someone were to ask me how I feel? I would have to say that I feel alone, scared and confused oh yes loved too. I dont know how to be humble, how to or why to listen to my parents. Why do I have to study? How do I learn? I have so many things going through my mind and dont know were to begin! Sometimes I am popular and well liked by everyone, other times everyone hates me and walks away when I am around. Why does that happen? Just yesterday, we all loved to play together. Why did that kids parent tell his son to foul another soccer player? Why do my parents fight? Why do I have to cover my eyes so often when we watch TV as a family? Why wont my parents let me do what I want? Why is it that most our teachers are so mean at times and nice only to certain kids? How old do I have to be to kiss a girl and is it okay to kiss a boy? Why is it that only sometimes it is okay for me to have an opinion? Okay, now it is bed time again!" "What I go through in my life is better off keep inside my head."

What can we do?

Will you the reader take that first step? Truly you have your heart in the right place. Listen and care enough to make teenage children a priority. Life presents us all with several impositions and our nature would be to use them as our fair excuses for distraction. We the adults have the obligation to educate ourselves more in depth in "Child and Adolescent Psychology", learn to listen with sincerity and make time for our young. Live by example and make the young, part of our lives; full time not part time. Become aware of behavioural signs and symptoms, remain involved and share their experiences. Teenage children present us with several concerns, curiosities and their needs. We, however, are very quick to dismiss them. Please invest your time and attention to address such curiosities, explain or teach the different options and consequences. Do not be afraid to teach your children all those things you wish you'd been told about when you were their age. Would you rather a stranger take your privilege and do your job?

Indeed there is an instructions manual we can use and follow to make life easier! It is written by your conscience and dictates the difference between right and wrong. Its text is simple and offers you two choices, right or wrong. Sure in life there is some grey areas, but you have to trust your conscience and let it lead you down the right path.

By: Jonathan Rosillo 03/25/04

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