Parenting issues are not uncommon between kids and parents, especially if you have pre-teens or teenagers. One minute it’s all fun and games, and the next minute things have escalated to DefCon One.
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As a teacher and a mom, I understand there is a push and pull constantly going on between the two generations. However, that may not be enough to understand what goes on in your child’s mind on a daily basis. Like that is truly even possible. Ha!
So, as a substitute teacher, I asked kids ages 12-years-old to 18-years-old (7th-12th grade) at my private school what they would tell their parents if they could say anything to them without reprisal. Most of the kids couldn’t believe I would ask such a question.
In fact, they were suspicious at first. But, eventually, they warmed up to me. Truthfully, once we started talking, they couldn’t shut up. They had lots to say about parenting today! Sheesh.
Check out these five parenting issues kids have with their moms and dads. More importantly, here are five wise solutions to help you navigate through some of the most difficult years of your child’s life.
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5 Common Parenting Issues
Check out these five parenting issues that are problems faced by parents today. These tips will help you understand your pre-teen or teen a little better and give you some talking points when you have a conflict.
Perhaps these solutions will help you resolve some ongoing issues you have not understood until now.
1. Technology Issues
One of the most difficult parenting issues is technology. What is so frustrating is that the technology now is totally different compared to the last generation. Parents in the last generation had archaic equipment compared to today’s standards. What we have now is mind-boggling, so much that we can’t even keep up with the latest invention.
The students didn’t think we, the parents, understood the stress it was causing them socially since we didn’t experience it ourselves as a teenager. Most of the kids I talked to were in agreement that they spend way too much time online worrying about what other people are doing and saying about them.
Almost everyone said they had dealt with some sort of depression due to social media either by comparing themselves to others or being bullied.
One person said their parents didn’t understand what it was like to be bullied online. The shame and humiliation were beyond anything we could possibly comprehend.
Needless to say, this is a huge problem and one of the biggest struggles of parenting this decade.
By and large, most parents DO understand how technology is affecting their kids. That’s why I suggest you hold off on social media as long as you can. I highly suggest getting Covenant Eyes as a filter for phones and computers. Additionally, don’t let your kids have technology in their room at night.
Slowly let off on restrictions as your kids get older. By the senior year of high school, your teenager needs to have access to phones and computers full-time. They will be gone in a year, so make the senior year a test year that prepares them for college.
2. Competition and Stress Issues
Parenting issues typically evolve when it comes to grades and sports. The kid’s I interviewed expressed how hard it was to carry the burden of performance and competition day after day.
Unfortunately, the students felt their parents were putting an excessive amount of pressure on them to perform in high school and not letting them be a kid. There was a consensus among them that they have larger workloads and have more stress than we had 25-30 years ago.
One student said she felt like her parents put grades before her mental health. She described the feeling of being trapped in a world she didn’t like nor one she created. All of the students said they wanted to be good students, but the pressure was intense. Sadly, there is a weight on them that is heavy and some days seem unbearable.
Most of the students just wanted their parents to acknowledge the amount of work they do and to encourage them instead of being angry with them when they received a low grade. Every student did agree a zero was unacceptable, and hard work was important.
This is a tricky issue because some kids are naturally more motivated than others. Only you know what your teenager is capable of doing.
Allow your teen to choose his sports, but don’t go overboard on playing every single one of them. Grades are important but not to the detriment of your child’s mental health. Good character is most important and needs to be reinforced in your family with regular church attendance and faith-based values practiced at home.
Parenting is a delicate balance. Look for overall growth in each area, and don’t freak out when one area isn’t looking so great. Kids develop skills in stages. Eventually, it all comes together in the end.
When you see your teen falling behind, work together on solutions. Empowering your teen is the best way to help him find the motivation to fix his own problems. If he is uninterested in working on a solution, you may need to use some tough love.
Pray for wisdom. It could be depression and anxiety that are causing your teen to give up. Find a good counselor if he won’t talk with you.
3. Double standard Issues
Having a double standard was another complaint among the teenagers I interviewed. Frankly, it was a hot button when it came to parenting issues.
What they meant by “double standard” was their parents didn’t always practice what they preached. One student said, “ I will not trust an adult who can’t apologize to a kid.”
That really got my attention. This is where the discussion became heated. Suddenly, everyone had an opinion.
The students were angry they had to apologize to their parents when in the wrong, but their parents didn’t apologize back to them.
Kids know when we as parents behave badly (yell, call names, retaliate, threaten, manipulate), but see it as a double standard when we won’t admit our own faults to them and take ownership of our bad behavior.
Sadly, many parents see apologizing to their teenager as weak or they simply have too much pride to admit when wrong.
I agree with the students when it comes to parenting issues about apologizing.
Parents DO need to apologize when wrong. It’s a great opportunity to show humility, character, and strength as a person. Not apologizing for bad behavior is just more bad behavior.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (HCSB).
4. Listening Issues
Listening was another one of the biggest parenting issues with this group of teens. They wanted us (parents) to listen to who they are, what they believe, and how they think. Even though they are young, they are still thinking about their world
Also, they said they wanted us not to overreact if they had a different opinion than us. I think they were trying to express the fact they are growing and changing. Their opinions are evolving as they get more information and experience life.
Perhaps we need to realize our kids are transitioning between two worlds–cartoons and Calculus. Often, these two worlds collide in a day, and it can get a little messy. They still don’t know quite who they are.
As parents, we need to listen to our kids about whatever is swirling in their brains. And for us to love them no matter what they believe at the time. Even if it is not what you believe.
On a personal note, my own kids had a few things I didn’t exactly agree with them on as far as cultural issues go. I prayed for God to change their hearts or mine. He did both. I listened to their point of view with an open mind and tried to quietly point them back to the Bible.
Through the years, I have seen the Holy Spirit do more work on them than I ever could have done. Thank heavens!
Check out this article about parenting. Dr. Dobson gives some great tools for listening to your teen if you struggle in this area.
5. Grateful Issues
The last point of the five most common parenting issues was quite heartwarming. This group of teens struggled on how to let their parents know how grateful they are for all they had done for them. Sadly, they felt their generation had been stigmatized as entitled. Truthfully, they do know there are many entitled kids, but these kids wanted to let everyone know they work hard.
The seniors were especially thankful their parents had made them study, volunteer, take part in a sport, and invest time in their spiritual life. I found it rewarding the seniors were starting to see the big picture and understand why they had to do certain things.
How incredible that they thought their moms and dads were actually pretty awesome for loving them enough to make them do the hard things in life.
Sometimes we forget that our kids do appreciate us. They know we love them and have sacrificed for them in so many ways. It is important not to get discouraged when they are not meeting up to your standards. Don’t give up on them.
Our teenagers are counting on us to believe in them when they don’t even believe in themselves. Stay in there and keep encouraging them no matter how hard it has been for you. There will be a day they will come back and thank you for all you have done. If you do have an entitled child, it’s time to do some backtracking and fix it.
What Do Parents Struggle With the Most?
Parents’ biggest concerns naturally go to such things as drugs, premarital sex, and alcohol usage. We also worry about grades, friends, sports performance, and developing a moral compass when there is little reinforcement in this area.
While we want the best for our kids, it is hard to let go of certain expectations and allow God to take the reigns. This takes a lot of love, patience, and self-control to not manipulate what we want instead of what God wants.
If we push too hard and control our kids, they may feel we don’t understand them at all. This is why prayer has to be an integral part of parenting. It is a fine balance of loving, listening, coaching, and stepping back.
What Are the Challenges Parents Face Today?
The challenges of parenting in today’s world are far and wide. No other generation has ever parented kids who have access to unlimited technology, cut-throat competition athletically and academically, lots of disposable income, but little in the way of spiritual instruction.
Frankly, it’s a toxic mix just waiting to implode if we don’t intervene.
Many of us feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. We feel exhausted just carrying our own responsibilities.
When you don’t know what to do, ask God to give you wisdom. He knows and loves your kids more than you. I have found this to be the best advice after raising two kids. God made a way when there seemed to be no way. And that has made all the difference.
What are some of the most challenging parenting issues you have encountered? Comment below.
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