This past weekend I turned 20 years old. Most birthdays do not really freak me out, but this birthday took me by surprise. I am no longer a teen and I am adventuring into a decade of life that will bring many new changes.
My birthday caused me to reminisce about my childhood and think about all the good memories I have of dolls, fairy tales and toys that are n0t electronics. I remember losing teeth and waiting excitedly for the tooth fairy. I remember picking wildflowers in my backyard and pretending I was a princess. I remember playing with dolls that Santa Claus brought me and my mom fixing my hair in a bun for ballet class. I remember many things about my childhood, but most of all, I remember the innocence. I remember the carefree innocence of my friends when we were young and how happy we were because life was simple. The only relationships we had were “in person” and supervised by our caregivers. We had no idea what social media was.
One of the things that breaks my heart most about our culture is so many children/kids will not experience that same innocence which my friends and I enjoyed due to social media, celebrities, certain books, movies, music, etc.
That is one of the reasons I felt it was so important to write this blog series. “Kids Aren’t Lizards” is about relaying to parents what I see every day. I see what kids post on social media. I see how dating relationships affect an 8th grader’s life. I am no longer a child, but I still live in the same world that they do. I am not here to tell parents how to parent; I am here to offer help and provide all the info I have. I am here to plead with parents and others to protect the innocent and provide that same child-friendly safe zone which I feel we have lost for the next generation of kids and young ones.
My dad always says, “Kid’s aren’t lizards, they don’t hatch and raise themselves.” which is the premise for this blog series. A humorous example is my dear, precious 9 year old brother who without parenting would be a sickly, toothless, stinky hobo if my mom did not require a good diet and hygiene from him:) I think too many parents are detached from their kids lives either voluntarily, or due to stress and responsibilities, or by accident. Some parents see their kids making poor choices but look the other way chalking it up to “kids will be kids” or give into frustration and other parents simply do not see at all. Again, I am not here to tell you how to do your job but I did grow up in your kid’s generation and I do understand their struggles as well as I understand yours.
I’m the middle man (woman). I am not a child but I am still learning to be an adult and growing in my maturity. I know what kids in this generation are struggling with because that was me 3 years ago. However, I have now entered adulthood and am starting to see those same teenage choices and decisions come full circle. I am starting to see both sides of the coin.
With all my talk about innocence, please do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating that children just shouldn’t grow up or that we shelter them. But what I am saying is that too many 11 year olds have social media accounts. Too many 7th graders have boy/girlfriends when in reality no 7th grader (in my opinion) should be dating period. Too many kids whether they be 3rd grade or 10th grade are wasting their innocence and childhood because their parents are detached and these kids are forced to raise themselves. In the absence of an adult, a child then begins making decisions that no child or teen has the emotional or mental maturity to make.
The bottom line is that the loss of innocence due to in-active parenting worries me. I love your kids. I have a heart for kids and teens. I am honored to speak in schools, youth groups, etc. because I get to meet and spend time with these kids. I see their struggles and more times than not I see their parent’s absence in their lives that contribute to their struggles.
Every kid desires to be loved and every child wants to be made to feel special. I know every parent loves their kids and they understand how special their child is. However, sometimes life gets in the way and we lose track of being involved. I understand how difficult that can be which again is why I’m writing this blog series.
Each week in January I will be discussing 4 different topics- Kids & Social Media, Kids & Dating, Kids & Friends, and Kids & Extracurriculars. These are 4 subjects that I feel are extremely important and relevant but are simply not being addressed on a regular basis as I think it should be. Again, all I am here for is to offer help and relay the issues I see in my generation that many parents simply may not know to look for.
All I want is for kids to grow up on time and in a mature manner. Not grow up too fast in an immature way. I look forward to sharing what I have learned through my own experiences as a teen growing up in the digital age as well as some interesting facts regarding social media next week.
I hope you all have a Happy New Year!
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