No matter how you were raised, you are most likely wanting to keep an open mind in raising your own kids, right? Generations are ever-changing, and certain things that might have been taboo when you were growing up are no longer issues in today’s world. Letting your kids express themselves in different forms should be a no-brainer, but sometimes it can be hard to be on the same page.
Kids are growing up faster than ever, not only due to technological advances but also in general. Many kids ditch the stuffed animals at a younger age an move into cell phones, online gaming and more before they even reach double digits. They are seeing and hearing all about the planet, corruption, violence, profanity and the world around them more so than was allowed in previous generations.
Whatever you allow in your house may not translate to other children’s homes, and vice versa. But with instant access for any child within arm’s length of a cell phone, it can be difficult to regulate those rules anyway. The most important thing is to ensure that whatever expression or information your children are receiving is safe. There are healthy and unhealthy ways of expression for kids to find and ultimately choose, so make sure you are having multiple, ongoing conversations and opportunities for your children to be able to express themselves in a positive, safe way.
Healthy Forms of Expression
How your child chooses to express themselves is going to rely heavily on what interests them in the first place. They may love art and so choose to express their feelings and who they are through painting or sculpture. They may love to write and so choose fiction or fantasy to build a world around their thoughts and feelings. They may want to express themselves in a more outwardly fashion, donning apparel and accessories that express their true emotions and who they feel they are.
Again, making sure they are doing all these activities in a safe way is what will give your kids the ultimate self-expression. Your teen may want to wear a short skirt to the mall, and you may have issues with it, which you can hash out with your teen in a positive fashion to reach a conclusion. Even something like dying their hair a neon color may be too extreme for some households, while it’s common place for some families, even when the child is relatively young.
If you do feel the need to set clear boundaries with your kids on certain forms of expression, be sure to have open discussions with them about it. Don’t go about it as a “because I said so” type of situation, which may lead to more fighting than necessary. If you really don’t want your teen wearing short or more revealing clothing, make sure they understand why it bothers you. And being open to reevaluating certain boundaries at a later date can help your teen embrace any potential rules too.