Monday, August 02, 2004

Guidelines for Adolescence

Remember our nation is in its adolescence, and so are many of its people.

People who get caught making mistakes want to be caught.
While they may squirm, become sullen, defensive and try to justify and blame others, they really want to learn.
When someone has made an error, broken agreements, done harm to themselves or others, gone against their own values, your response either facilitates or deters their learning, the healing and their spiritual growth.
When you “catch” someone making a mistake, your punitive reaction or caring response has a powerful impact on the outcome.

We can react with fear and judgment, anger and punishment, rejection and avoidance.
We can respond with love and forgiveness, listening and understanding, support and encouragement.
We can be proactive and ask ourselves how we can create an environment, where it is easier to confess mistakes
and make changes before there are detrimental consequences.

In all relationships there are five primary areas to be addressed for success.
Joining with a common goal for both or all parties in a family.
Honesty without withhold, secrecy or negative consequences for confessing.
Equality with everyone encouraged to give their very best at all times.
Modeling our best and expecting the best builds respect, responsibility and teamwork.
Commitment to what is highest and best for all concerned is essential.
In serving our own needs at the expense of others we feel separate, guilty and defensive.
Responsibility for the quality of our relationship without guilt or blame requires the most conscious one to be aware, to express, to request, to encourage, to coach and mentor others to be responsible for their thoughts, words and actions.

No one grows into their fullness without accepting the full responsibility of having freedom of choice.
No one can becomes responsible without knowing what works for the good of all.
No one can know what works for their family, friends and partners, if family members are silent.
When we are not authentic in our relationships, others may come to believe their behavior does not matter.
Ignoring the teen who is abusing their body or privileges, our money and the benefits they receive from parents convinces them their irresponsible behavior is of no consequence.
“If I don’t matter to those who love me, why should my behavior matter to me?”

How we treat our children and adolescents teaches them their value in our world.

Listen deeply to your children.
Look for what they are really asking from you.
They want listening, understanding and to know they are being heard.
They want direction, and guidance, freedom from fear and abandonment.
They want relevant rules and guidelines which give them structure and encourage a values-based life.
They want parental requests which are obvious and specific, unemotional and direct.
They want written words and contracts with explicit consequences and results.
They want help when they make mistakes rather then resentment and retribution.
Help them learn to accept the natural consequences.
You as parent or provider, authority or householder, need to take care of yourself, your money and your belongings.
Do not martyr or sacrifice. This leads to resentment and covert hostility in you and guilt for the other.

To teach responsibility, we must accept full responsibility.
Where we err as a parent is to expect others to know what we know, to understand without education and information.
Where we err as helpers is to think everyone sees their worth and wants to give their best to the world.
Where we err as women is to believe everyone knows how to love and be happy.
Where we err as teachers is to not hear what is needed and offer specifics.
We want to see others as being the same as we are.
We forget that everyone has their own path and their life experiences, unique to themselves.

To give freedom to someone who really does not understand responsibility is foolish.
To trust someone who does not trust themselves is to expect what is unlikely.
To deny, forget and avoid the one calling for help is to perpetuate the pain.
We must learn to respond with respect and love, teach with specifics and our own example, and guide with focus and clarity.

Everyone seeks to do their best and many do not know how...
Loving you,
Betty Lue