The Teen-Age Bill of Rights
The first six years of life are the most crucial in a person's development. The basic foundations of personality are established during this period.
By age four, 75 percent of a child's mental capacity has been developed. Habits of eating, sleeping, playing, obedience, orderliness, respect for elders, sharing, getting along with other people, honesty, and religion - are acquired early.
The roots of teenage confusions spring way back from infancy. How many parents have gone wrong believing that all their babies needed was a good babysitter?
"The children are still too young" or "They will learn good habits when they are older" or "I have no time to supervise them" or "We need two paychecks to provide for our needs."
Regrets come too late. By the time these parents realize how their adolescents have developed, these youngsters are already hooked on alcohol or illegal drugs, and heaven knows what else.
The teen years could be the most problematic stage of life. Halfway between childhood and adulthood, the teenager is a very confused person. Suddenly, he does not know where he belongs. He is neither a child nor an adult. Nobody understands him. But he needs lots of guidance because he has lots of questions he cannot answer.
Here is where the foundation of family life comes in.
Communication is the key. If parents have established open lines between themselves and their children - and their kids have been raised without fear of parental wrath and scorn - then the knots of uncertainty that bug a teenager can readily be unraveled.
A group of American sociologists and psychologists conducted research into the feelings and thinking of American adolescents regarding their relationships with their parents. The results came out as the "Teen-Age Bill of Rights" which follows:
- Love: We want our parents to love us no matter what happens or what we do. We want our father to be around more often. We want him home in time for dinner so we can discuss the day's happenings with him.
- Understanding: Maybe we don't understand ourselves, but we want parents who do, who will listen and who will explain.
- Trust: We want to be put on our own. We want our parents to expect the best of us - not fear the worst.
- Joint Planning: We want parents who will stand beside, not over, us. We appreciate guidance in important matters, but after we have proven ourselves to have fairly mature judgment, we don't want to be nagged about every little thing.
- Privacy: We need a room of our own to retreat to, and a place to pursue our hobbies, and store our junk. We don't want our letters read, or our phone conversations listened to.
- Responsibility: We want our share of family tasks. But we'd like to know who's to do what, and why.
- Friendship: We want the right to choose our own friends. And unless they have reputations for being "bad" company, such as drunks and drug addicts, we want them to be welcome in our home.
Please feel free to determine how many of these "rights" are applicable to your home and family life.