Thursday, August 26, 2010

In the past 24 hours I have been forcefully reminded that when you are working with teenagers they don't actually need another friend. Most of them have plenty of those, of varying degrees of loyalty. What they more often need from the adults in their lives is a parent. A leader. teacher. A mentor.

Sometimes the most loving thing is holding them responsible for their behavior.

Just don't expect them to love you in return for a long, long time. . .

7 comments:

tamathy said...

Ouch. I say we stay away from teenagers. Yuck. That was my philosophy when I was a teenager.

Loradona said...

I hear you on that. It can be really, really hard to do what kids need, when what they need is someone to call them on their junk and enforce consequences. Sigh.
Good luck. Know that you did the right thing.

Cathy said...

Yes. Dealing with teens is difficult.

I was recently released as YW President before I was able to deliver my momentous discourse on modesty that I'd fretted over greatly.

After another month of pondering, I decided with trepidation to talk to a couple of the YW whose Facebook photos had originally made me feel like we needed the talk. I know I'm not their leader anymore and I was unsure of overstepping bounds. But I am an adult who loves them and I felt a responsibility to advise. I hope it helps and does not injure.

Now if I could figure out what I should do about the two YW with the worst lack of modesty, also discovered inadvertently through Facebook profile photos...

Query for this community of thoughtful people: What would you do if you were in my shoes? The photos include string bikini shots and a prom dress that exposed about 1/2 of the breasts of the girl in question. Parents of these two (sisters) are members but struggling. The mother posted the prom shots. They have a 12 year old sister.

Maybe I just need to trust the excellent new presidency but I still feel responsible...

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Cathy--the FB pictures that shouldn't be posted right now are there because A) Their mothers don't know and B) One of them is beyond thinking she has any influence over her daughter. It is true that said difficult daughter is 16, but mom has never had any other attitude as long as I've known her.

I can't say much more on a public blog, but the lack of supervision over kids' technology in general sickens me. The issue referenced here began with old-fashioned less than wonderful behavior, but has blown up because someone took a picture of said behavior and messaged it to everyone she knows. I'm afraid only mom and dad are out of the loop at this point. If it was my kid, I'd want to know. I just hate to be the messenger, especially knowing that the teenager I have worked hard to cultivate a relationship with will see my intervention as the ultimate violation of trust.

I think some prayer and fasting is in order.

emandtrev said...

I agree 100%. It makes me sad and scared and determined all at once...

Cathy said...

It was fairly easy for me to talk to two of the girls because I know there's a chasm between them and their parents. They are much loved but their family is 1st generation immigrants from Korea. The mother's inactive, mostly because of language issues. These girls have testimonies and are the motivating factor behind their family's activity in the church. This makes it easy to step forward and reinforce moral standards--fill in a gap that's there because of communication issues and the desire to be chic.

The other family--well, the mother's posting of the prom pictures suggests she condones the behavior. How to combat that? And yet, correct moral principles need to be taught.

It's so tough when adults fail in holding to standards. I didn't know what to do the day my first counselor started telling the girls that things like eating out and shopping, etc were okay Sunday activities...good ways to spend time with family, especially non-LDS family. I tried to reiterate counsel from prophets but I think I toned it down too much through my lack of desire to condemn my counselor.

Aargh.

Fasting and prayer are good. I should also follow up with the new YW presidency.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Wow, Cathy. I am so glad that the women I work with tend to be pretty like-minded about things.

I have to be careful, though, that I am working hard to help the girls while not undermining the authority of and respect toward their parents, even in cases where I totally disagree. The truth is, some of them are strong enough to stand up in the face of difficulties, and others will always just back down. I guess we can't though, hey?