Teen Humiliation Means Parents Are Not Paying Attention

Pat Brown, from Women in Crime Ink, has written possibly the most direct and appropriate response to parents who seem to lack good parenting skills. Her article “Teach Your Sons Not to Rape,” from March 20, 2013, which focuses on the Steubenville Rape Trial, explains that if you haven’t raised your kids properly, by the time they are teens, you need to take responsibility for this. Naturally, when I read the article Parents Force Girl to Hold Sign in an effort to humiliate her for poor grades and her entitlement issues, I felt it was time to give my own take on this as well.

If a teen has entitlement issues – this is the PARENTS FAULT, not the teens. Who was giving the child everything they wanted from the get go? Not the teen. Who was the one not setting limits all the time? Unless you are parentifying your children, I would guess the adults would be the one’s responsible for this. Who didn’t teach your child right from wrong? Who didn’t say no?

This sign holding has been going on for some time now and I for one am getting a little tired of this parental bullying. Nothing will push a child toward sex, a.k.a. attention then humiliation. Who do you think will be ready to comfort the teen when they see him/her on the street corner holding up an idiotic sign? If they are younger than high school age, they are bound to be bullied in school. What has happened with kids who are bullied in school? School shootings. Maybe it is time to come up with another plan parents. You messed up big time, when it comes to raising your children. They are entitled kids and you made them that way.

By the way what is “Self-Entitled?” Is this a new word that Gentry and Renee Nickells were teaching this child? It certainly implies that they are not willing to take any responsibility whatsoever.

When I work with children, and I have said this before many times, I hear about what they are going through with their parents. I hear about Narcissistic parents (and I always meet them so I am clear this is the issue). I hear about drug addicts and alcoholics. I hear about domestic violence going on in the household. I hear about parentification. I have seen cases where parents are clearly not raising their children and the kids are so stressed out, they don’t know what to do. This causes them to fail in school mom and dad.

Divorce does this too BUT ONLY IF the parents are arguing and trying to control the other. Game playing.

No matter what the problem is, that your child is going through, parents have to step up to the plate first and foremost and ask themselves – where did I go wrong as a parent? You have to say to yourself, what lifestyle did I raise my children in. What did they witness?

All parents go through teen angst because guess what, this is a stage where kids go from the concrete operational stage (everything is black or white) to the abstract reasoning stage (theories, there is a world out there and how do I fit in). This is a huge jump and causes teens to go through an identity crisis. Guess what parents? You did this too, when you were a teen. Your parents did their best to get through it and you need to do the same.

If you raise your children consistently from the beginning – so they know what to expect from you. Don’t try to make them the bff you never had. Pay attention to them. Tell them NO.

If it is too late now, and it is never too late which is why I enjoy working with teens – there is still hope. Sit down with your teen and get to know them. Listen to what they are going through, without trying to give them a lecture for thirty minutes after the first word pops out of their mouth. Spend time with them – go out to dinner with them or get involved in their hobbies. Go on a hike with them somewhere, away from society. Take them on a boat ride, go fly a kite, something out in nature. You can make up for the past but it isn’t going to happen in one take. You have made some major mistakes here if your teen is getting into a lot of trouble.

Having them hold up signs to humiliate themselves is a sign that the parents have given up and have decided to make the teen the scapegoat for their family problems. I guarantee you if I sat down with these teens holding the signs, I would find out in 50 minutes what kind of family dynamics this child has had to suffer through. Bad grades are a sign that possibly there are chemicals involved but generally this is a genetic issue. Which family addict is this child taking after? What if the child is getting bad grades because they were raped or sexually abused or bullied and they are unable to talk to mom and dad, who never listen in the first place, so they are holding this in. Maybe they are unable to study in class or pay attention because someone is making life difficult for them. How about mom and dad are too focused on their careers and have been neglecting their child?

Parents think. Use your common sense. Stop focusing on yourself for a minute and the problems you are having in your own life and pay attention to your children. Don’t humiliate them, thereby distancing kids from you even more. Pay attention to their needs. Give them healthy love and nurture them with good wholesome food. Get to know their friends and the parents of their pals. Go to school and meet their teachers and take their advice. Take responsibility for your children by taking responsiblity for the mistakes you have made as a parent.

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4 thoughts on “Teen Humiliation Means Parents Are Not Paying Attention

  1. All parents make mistakes and some have bigger consequences than others, but I do think there are kids who are willing to be controlled and compliant FOR A TIME, and then indulge themselves with whatever they please. I have met kids not raised that way AT ALL yet somehow insist on making devastating choices. Sure, some of it is developmental but some of it is human nature. Most people do want what they want but agree to live within societal rules, others insist on violating those rules only to find themselves living in an even stricter environment. Go figure. Slow to learn, I guess. At some point, though, they need to stop blaming their parents and own up to the choices they have made. If they have a decent IQ than they can think and they can make decisions and they can also deal with the consequences of their actions.

    • Hi Liz, It is easy to see things from the outside looking in and assume that kids are raised properly and to think they have a happy family. I was raised in a very abusive household, both physical and emotional. Everyone loved my dad and mother very much. In society they came across as really great people. Church going and very involved in the church and the cultural society. Inside our house it was very strenuous. Whenever my dad walked in the door we tensed up waiting to see what he would find wrong. To this day, people will still say I was raised in a happy household. Back then I was rebellious and made mistakes. I was blamed for them because “How could I do that to my parents.” From a psychological perspective, I am not pursuaded by images and I don’t focus on what they do for a living or how nice they come across. I focus on what they are not doing and saying. I watch their eye contact, their somatic movements, their attitudes, the way they address their children and so forth. I look at the children’s reaction to their parents, what they are saying and responding to them. I know what is hidden in gestures because I have seen it far too often working for social services for many years. I empathize with your opinion as a parent and I know it is hard for people to understand what I am talking about. I get very upset sometimes when I write these articles because I am bothered by the way people are treating their children and as a result how children are behaving.

  2. Jeannine–I am sure you see quite a bit in the therapy world and I am sure it is disturbing! I think each family has both function and dysfunction–obviously the degree of either changes life in the house dramatically. It is pretty complicated when 2 people meet and marry, each carrying their own idea of what it might mean to grow up in a family. Then they go on to have kids (when they are often kids themselves) and try to work it out for the next generation. Then add all the regular and irregular stresses of life and sometimes it is just plain crazy. I am thankful for the families who seek wise counsel….and I fear for the families who don’t!

    • Oh gosh Liz me too!! And it bugs me when I hear about a family situation and the neighbors turned a blind eye. That happened in CA when that young girl was kidnapped and lived with the captors in a tent behind the house for over a decade I believe. People saw things and did nothing. Thank you for your comments and concerns.

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