I feel like I read a lot about our youth that is bad. They are often labeled as entitled, disrespectful, and dumb (I'm thinking eating Tide pods). I see a different side.
I facilitate a group for youth in eighth through twelfth grades, typically every other Thursday. I always leave the group impressed. The insight the young people show is impressive. We've covered topics such as peer pressure, consent, stigma of mental illness, school support, and even processed feelings after the Florida school shooting. These "kids" express a wide range of emotions and display deep thoughts on the topics. They also support one another and wish others (think adults) would too.
Of course, they discuss some things youth do that is disrespectful or dumb, but who isn't that way at some point. The cool thing is they are able to recognize that behavior as negative (even if it is their own) and gain ideas on how to change it from each other.
I am privileged to be a part of their conversations and share my "old" perspective on things.
I encourage everyone to take some time to talk and listen (really listen) to our youth. You might be surprised with what you hear and learn.
It was one of those days. I was not feeling well-achy but no fever. I had a full day of work coming plus two of my kids had an activity that evening they needed to go to. In addition, one of my kids struggled to get out of bed that morning and we were running late. I do NOT like to be late-ever! All of this was running through my mind when getting in the car with two of my kids. My youngest then refused to move over so that my son could get in the car. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. Sadly, I yelled at her to move (and maybe like five times). Of course, this did not make her move but instead she started crying. I jumped out of the car with the intention of moving her myself but seeing her cry made me stop. I then took a few deep breaths and hugged her. I then asked her to move again which she did. I apologized for yelling. My son told me I would need to have a consequence for my behavior-lol.
I share this story to remind everyone that no one is perfect. I frequently work with adults that appear to feel shame as opposed to guilt for some of their behaviors. We are not bad people if we slip up at times. I teach others anger management techniques and ways to cope when upset, and yet I do not always remember to utilize them. My initial reaction in that situation was responding in anger. I'm human and made a mistake. Luckily I was able to recognize my mistake, change my behavior, and apologize. I am not always able to do so so easily but I will continue to work on improving. That's all we can do, continue to strive to be better.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!