Tag Archives: teenagers

The Golden Kids We Raised

Today I was talking to a friend of mine and she shared a story that was hilarious and sad at the same time. She has a daughter who recently graduated from school. She is fortunate enough to have a summer job as a receptionist. Today she was late for work and she chose to wear flip flops. Upon arriving at work she was admonished for being late and she was informed that flip flops were not acceptable work attire. Her daughter found both of these things upsetting. She said her boss is late all of the time and she failed to grasp the inappropriateness of flip flops for the workplace. Her mother tried to rationally discuss the matter with her daughter, but her daughter refused to hear her. A few years ago a group of young women who had won some kind of national sporting event went to the White House to meet the president and many of them too thought flip flops were the right shoe for the moment. The lateness and the flips flops symbolize a bigger issue, and the issue is where did these golden kids come from? The answer is so simple. We raised them. We did not intend to make them feel golden that was merely a bi-product of our misguided attempts to be better parents than we had. I loved both of my parents, but my father did raise his voice often. His word was law and there really was not a lot of discussion. If you did attempt to discuss you did it at your own peril. Back in the day discussion came under the umbrella called “backtalk”, and backtalk was not tolerated. So of course I wanted to raise children that could express themselves. Freely, but respectfully but sometimes that dialogue has come dangerously close to the disrespect line. My own teenage son balked at cutting lawns this summer because this was not his “ideal” job. How did these children become so precious? How did they become golden? I tell you how: you have what you raise. We have put our children in a protective cocoon. In the cocoon no one ever questions their judgment, no one ever raises their voice and work for teenagers is optional. How do you ask someone to toughen up when they never had it tough? A teen in Indiana recently planted a package in the girl’s restroom as a prank, and incidentally he wore a mask and a hoodie while he committed this hilarious offense. When the package was found the school alerted the authorities and the building was evacuated. The teen has been arrested and he now faces felony charges. He says he is sorry but he might be looking at some serious prison time. Sure the golden kid meant no harm but the authorities think differently. His relatives have excused it as a prank, but this particular prank can literally change the rest of his life. So how do we fix what we have created? Do we just push them out the door and say go for it? No, we have to take these incidents and use them as teachable moment. Sure teachable moments are starting to sound like another well-intentioned cliché, but it is not. My friend will talk to her daughter today and let her know that the real world is a lot different from the parental cocoon. In the real world they will call you on your stuff. In the real world you might be smart, but rest assured you are not the smartest, but she will let her know she can make it. She will make it because our golden kids have got to grow up and they will have to learn it is not easy once you leave the protection of the parental cocoon.