A Teen's Perspective On Our World

At raisingboysandgirls.com, we love kids.  Obviously.  We also love to feature kids’ voices.  When we speak at parenting events, we always remind parents that it’s not so much that we’re experts.  It’s just that we sit with kids, day in and day out, and learn from them.

These wise words are written by a high school friend of ours, and one who has struggled herself.  They’re from a school project written in response to a piece in the New York Times.  Her words serve as a reminder…of how the culture has changed for kids today and what they want from their parents.  Talk to your kids.  Use feelings words—around the house and around the dinner table.  Give them room to feel and help them know home as a safe and supportive environment—no matter what.  Kids today deal with a lot—each day can feel like a traumatic and stressful experience.  They need our support, our understanding, and our shared hope. 

 “The Trauma of Being Alive”, written for the New York Times by Mark Epstein,
explores the distress people are in not just after a traumatic event, but on a daily basis.  With news of world-wide disaster readily available, the condition of our world is enough to make even the most stable among us stress out from time to time. This “freak episode” is only acceptable to society, however, after a reasonably stressful event. Then one is to pick themselves up and move on, become normal again. Yet, does this not imply that strong emotions or feelings on a daily basis are not normal, or in fact wrong?  The struggles of daily life should be enough validation for one not to feel their best. We are all conscious of the devastating disaster in our own communities, so much so that every day turns into a traumatic and stressful experience. Many perceive this as a separation from the “norm”, while this actually is a healthy and needed process to understand and regulate one’s emotions.

Running away from anxiety or depression only makes the feeling grow stronger
and get worse. One must totally delve into their emotions periodically in order to fully conquer them- and then move onto the next tragedy. Now should one noe always wallow in their emotions, void of all joy and excitement- absolutely not. But, being sad sometimes shouldn’t be a crime. For example, anxiety is a mental disorder with profound physical side effects- shaky hands, nausea, headaches, profuse sweating, hyperventilation, the list goes on and on. If the initial emotion would be broken down into a reasonable and containable feeling, however, a perceived disastrous situation would in return become miniscule. The availability of tips for dealing with emotion is scarce. Asking for help is seen as a weakness, when it is a normal and basic human need to communicate with another.

The alleviation of these problems begin with these simple solutions. Parents
could be more open with their children about their own struggles, creating an
environment of acceptance and understanding in the home. Also, counseling can be a very helpful and even vital accomplice to working through our daily trauma. The American Counseling Administrations points out that about 75% of children with emotional and behavior disorders do not receive specialty mental health services.  Addressing emotions would alleviate some of the stress that young adults feel, allowing them to grow and prosper in a healthy and more stable atmosphere, giving them the tools to stabilize our world.