“Understanding Today’s Children and Youth: Are you Really in Tune with Today’s Kids?” By: Michele Babcock-Nice

Understanding Today’s Children and Youth:

Are you Really in Tune with Today’s Kids?

By: Michele Babcock-Nice

Our children and students experience so many issues, worries, stresses, expectations, peer pressures, and unfairness in our schools when adults who are entrusted with teaching, supervising, and/or parenting them are not “in touch” or “in tune” with them.  As adults, we must have the proper insights into situations and practice the appropriate actions related to children and students. This means that we must listen to them, be there for them, and be respectful of them and their feelings.

When adults do not listen to children or students, and when they are not properly “in-tune” with them, not viewing all sides of a story or situation, not thoroughly investigating a situation and the reasons for it’s occurrence, not believing children – unless there is good reason not to – that they lose respect for adults, including teachers, administrators, parents, and others in the community.

When this occurs, children and students may believe that they are “on their own” when it comes to having to deal with certain issues, such as bullying and retaliation, including that done toward the child or student by other students, teachers, administrators, parents, and/or others in the community. The child or student may wonder who is there to support him or her. He or she may think it is not worth sharing their issue or concern with adults if the adults don’t believe them, don’t support them, blame them, don’t listen to them, and instead, punish them.

These are the issues that children and students deal with everyday, at home, in school, and elsewhere. When the damage is done to a child by an adult lying against a child just to save his or her own reputation, it incorrectly and unjustly brands the child as dishonest, disrespectful, or a troublemaker. I don’t think that most children seek to cause trouble or be troublemakers. In my perspective, most children want to do whatever they can to please others. If they don’t, they may be grappling with some personal issues.

Therefore, adults don’t need to do more damage to a child by disbelieving the truth, then reprimanding, ignoring, bullying, or otherwise punishing them. Adults must seek to investigate and uncover the whole story – the entire situation, and to understand the reasons for it’s occurrence. Then, it is up to the adults to see that those situations don’t happen again, and that positive steps are taken to assist the child or student in knowing they can be trusting enough of an adult to share the situation with him or her.

There are so many who do damage to children and students, and don’t even realize it. The slightest insult, reprimand, punishment, lack of fairness, and disbelief by a teacher, administrator, parent, or other person can do so much to harm children and students – I have seen it and experienced it, myself, and with my own child. It is those who have the insights into these matters who are then left to try our best to “undo” the damage done by others to children and students.

Sometimes, trying to undo the damage comes in the form of providing incentives and rewards for children and students, in an attempt to repair the unfair punishment(s) the child or student experienced at the hands of others. Other times, undoing the damage may involve therapy or professional support. It is sad when adults don’t realize or care about the damage they’ve done, are dishonest about it, and continue their same behaviors because they have been believed rather than the child or student.

There are those children or students who may actually seek to damage the reputation of another, however, with the insightful adult discovering and investigating the whole story, such damage can be avoided and eliminated.

As adults, we must do our best to be mentally and emotionally “in touch” and “in tune” with our children and students as much as possible in positive ways. When was the last time you really listened to and/or believed your child or student lately?

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4 thoughts on ““Understanding Today’s Children and Youth: Are you Really in Tune with Today’s Kids?” By: Michele Babcock-Nice

  1. For the fact that child survival, development and welfare depends on the adults who are responsible for the provision of the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of children, adult seek ‘compliance’ from children whiles children make efforts to comply. Who reprimands an adult when he/she gets home late or commit an offense especially at school and at home. But children get reprimanded very often even for same or similar offenses committed by adults. We need to be in tune with our children to prevent unfair treatment of children.

    • Very often, I observe children being conformed and controlled, and then, they appear to be unable to think for themselves and make their own decisions. They have been so controlled and conformed that they are “stuck” in an emotional or intellectual structure in which they have learned that they are supposed to be controlled and conformed. I think that in order to be successful in our world, we need people who can think for themselves. We need to encourage children to do that, and be supportive of them with it, rather than too restrictive and structuring.

  2. Michele, Thank you for making these points. As a teacher I so often see students at the secondary level that have a hard time due to prior “labeling” that they have carried with them through school. This is why setting up a classroom as a democratic society and allowing each to improve and excell is so important. I have witnessed students make that turn around and find that they do not need to carry the burden of their “label” any longer. Unfortunately there are instance when too much damage has been done and no one can convince the student otherwise. As educators we must strive to help all students to be better persons.

    • Yes, I agree with you, Susan. You remind me that each student learns and/or excels at their own pace, though they can also regress or feel “restricted” into certain “acceptable” parameters of behavior or expectations just as quickly – if not faster. Teachers, administrators, students, parents, and others have such challenges these days. We must definitely find and implement positive ways to lessen the pressure, increase the enjoyment, and still be successful.

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