Friday, January 6, 2012

Is My Teen A Reflection Of Me?

Ripped from the headlines. Boston Globe 1/6/12  B14 NAMES page:


"Is there nothing Chad Ochocinco won't tweet. Yesterday, the Pats receiver felt compelled to reveal that his daughter had been sent home from school for disciplinary reasons."My daughter was just suspended from school this morning for a day for a slick comment, I don't think is worthy of a suspension. You decide. Teacher:Why are you late? My daughter:Why does it matter? You still get paid right?" Ocho continues with tweet: "This is detention worthy not suspension." Ocho then tweets his daughter: "I've no idea where you got your sense of humor n slick remarks but you never undermine authority especially teachers dammit!" Her response? "Daddy, I get it from you so chill please!" Ocho responds: OK that comment just cost you, you're grounded until further notice."

Ocho has 3 million twitter followers, his daughter has over 10,250. Talk about airing your family's dirty laundry in public! Just to compare, Joani has 0 twitter followers. And if this isn't a cautionary tale about public discourse, I don't know what is.

Oh where to start. So much to discuss, but since the average family is not dealing with twitter family drama, I will only discuss a teaching moment that stands out for me as the moment of truth. When dad berates daughter's lack of respect for authority and can't imagine where she learned such a thing, her response is YOU!!

This is a look in the mirror moment. Is there some behavior that your child exhibits that is achingly familiar? Many times it's the good aspects of our personality that our kids mirror like kindness and generosity, a love for your sport, or your music or your passions that they share with you. But often it is the less stellar parts of our persona that stand-out. Are you argumentative, judgemental, have a temper, a control freak, or perhaps you are shut-down emotionally, or somewhat passive about change, or keep yourself removed from all family drama, and then wonder why your teen never leaves their room.

In the Intro to Psychology class I teach to college students, we discuss personality development through different theorist's eyes, one being Alfred Bandura's Role Modeling Theory. Basically he says that the influencers in our children's lives provide a model for behavior. See story above! All of my students cite their parents as their main influence for how they deal with emotion and relationships. If I were you, I would read this little tweet interaction to your teen, and then ask them what part of their personality do they think they got from you. What a fun family dinner that would be!

PS. I have no idea who this Ocho guy is!

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