How do we support our young people to turn into healthy functioning adults. Look around you and see how many adults do you know that are happy, healthy, peaceful and without the pain from their childhood showing up in their relationships and work life? Every time we see someone who looses it, has a meltdown, an adult tantrum, can’t or won’t listen and we essentially are watching unresolved childhood experiences.
In the west we do not manage that length time when our teens are progressing from childhood into adulthood too proactively. We leave it up to others to manage the tricky parts… My daughter, this morning, presented me with a school notice about an excursion day where all the girls go to one location with teachers and doctors to listen and discuss sex, body image and relationships and all the boys go to another. That never happened in my school years! Even the government doesn’t expect that parents can handle this situation adequately, they call in teachers and doctors to do it for us. Wow! That blows me away!
Somehow our society has lost belief in our parenting ability around important conversation about many things. Discussion about the rites of passage is now a clinical and teachable experience. I can’t honestly blame the “system” for taking over either. Too many parents do avoid the conversation around drugs, sex and relationships because their own rites of passage was stumbled through with drunken moments and shear terror. They feel shame, helplessness or fear around discussing these issues. When I was in my teens, many of my friends were getting drunk, hooking up with boyfriend after boyfriend and doing just about anything to stay “cool” and accepted by the group. No one talked about what was happening at home, the violence we were experiencing or witnessing. I was from a middle class white household and even though my parents were still together, I faced some pretty tough challenges throughout my teens through lack of guidance and support.
I see the difference in my daughter and son between what I went through and what she went through. I spoke to them early about many things, especially when questions were asked. No question was to hard to answer or put off. They heard what they needed to hear to be able to make intelligent decisions about what they can do in those sticky situations.
The other time to start a conversation is around a topical movie or show that is currently airing. I’ve found discussing healthy relationships after watching Twilight with my daughter very successful. The dangers of drinking and drugs was re-inforced after watching Puberty Blues on TV this year. These moments in time are small but have long lasting impact… not as much as the traumas do if we don’t talk about what the dangers are and they experience it for themselves!
For that reason, I’ve chosen to support the production of an Australian movie on this subject and I hope you see fit to do so also. It will raise awareness of many issues young people face and which need to be discussed at a family, community and society level. You can support it through the Pozible website.
The movie has been completed and can be watched here: