Pick a narrative, any narrative

Parent about their teen: “They just don’t ___________.”

Insert: Listen, try, care…you get the picture.

Teenagers struggle in these skills because they simply haven’t had the practice. It isn’t their fault either, they haven’t been on this earth long enough to see why it’s important to listen/try/care.

The funny thing is, we don’t get upset when it takes a toddler a little longer than “average” to learn how to walk, we know and understand (Have faith?) that they will eventually do it.

So why are we disappointed when a teenager is taking longer to develop an adult skill?

I think there are a lot of reasons. We feel inadequate as parents and their performance amplifies our shame. We desperately want to fit in with the people around us. Status roles.

But the main problem is these labels are not teaching our teens to get better in an area of weakness. Instead it is doing two things:

  1. We are conditioning our teens to ignore us.
  2. And because we have labeled them as deficient in this area, we begin to notice that one behavior more often than we should.

Simple example of this is, Utah is “famous” for its bad drivers. So when someone swerves in our lane, we notice. Yet, no one notices the good drivers. No one says, “Wow, look how that driver made that left turn. That was text book.”

We get to choose what we want to notice about people.

Pick any area of weakness and you can create a story to fit your narrative. And now you have a self full-filling prophecy.