Youth Focus

Youth Focus
Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers. This quote is by Socrates, fifth century B.C. and is still relevant today.

Many times my son would do the same exact thing I did as teenager and I had to bite my tongue and re-think how I was going to handle the situation. Parenting has evolved due to technology and brain development is a topic I teach for infant toddlers.

However, I discovered another researcher, David Walsh, who publishes on this topic for teens. For those with Internet access check out the Web site http://www.mediawise.org/ for more information.


To learn more about adolescence I have studied several authors and recently David Walsh, Ph.D., who published, Why Do They Act That Way? with sound research advice for parents of teens. Dr. Walsh presented to the South Dakota Extension Educators a few years ago on the effects of media and our youth.

According to Dr. Walsh, the proverbial generation gap is fast becoming a chasm. Consider some things today's adolescent faces with the sexually changing maturing bodies that give rise to strong urges; if you notice how the television shows have changed over the years, what the youth are watching affects their brain development.

Adolescents have to try to figure out and manage volatile and powerful emotions. Notice the mood swings, how easy the tears flow for no apparent reason, or suddenly an innocent comment becomes a reason to become extremely angry?

Social networks are much more complex today. So, how does a teenager fit and deal with the immense peer pressure? Teenagers know right from wrong but peer pressure at the right time in the right moment can knock all sense out of a teenager.

The decision of how to respond to the temptation of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs is always there. Parents, remain strong and consistent throughout the growing process. The adolescent years are now predicted to last longer than 18 years old.

Adolescents have to figure out what their values are going to be; they are renegotiating their relationships with their parents; and they have to get through school. Does this sound familiar? Remember trying to get enough sleep along with activities and being with your friends, talking on the phone or going to their house?

Today, teens Instant Message (IM'ing) and use cell phones to stay in touch. Parents must be the constant staying force, tough love, reinforcer of the rules and the disciplinarian.

Next week we will continue the discussion on the adolescences development. Today's column was summarized from Why Do They Act Way? by David Walsh, Ph. D. 2004.

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