Societies change, rules and laws governed by individuals come and go, but humanity (humankind and human nature) remains constant.
Feelings of aggression, jealousy, hurt and shame - all emotions experienced by our teens and preteens (and ourselves) - haven't changed over the centuries.
Humanity then is the same as humanity now and the fundamentals of what makes us human e.g., working hard, self-sacrifice, love of family and friends, these were as real back then as they are today. So why wouldn't we listen?
Humankind can refer back to what our ancestors did (or did not do) as a moral code, a guide or compass to live by. The methods are tried and true. They have been tested, and retested, from one generation to the next - each perfecting its methods and improving (hopefully) society as a whole.
Look at technology as an example. It is a constantly evolving field. Each mobile device 'upgrade' is supposedly superior and supersedes the one before. Does that mean the previous iphone, Nokia, Samsung or whatever was bad? No, but the next version might be better. More refined, More features, More effective ... and perhaps more complex. Do we really need all those functions and features or have they complicated things so much that we now just try to fit more in because everything is that much faster? Perhaps as they say "the original and still the best" is true in many cases. Sometimes "keeping it simple stupid" is not so stupid at all.
If you are looking for parenting strategies and tips, I urge you to look to the past - as well as the future.
Our youth are in trouble today. We only have to look around at the drugs, the sexual promiscuity, the increasing levels of violence. Kids in our modern society are often ill-equipped and prepared for their entry into adulthood. Is it all doom and gloom for our youth? Absolutely not. But there might be another way, a better way, and ironically it might exist in the past.
In our constant quest to make things better, parenting methods more effective for example, we might have just confused ourselves and made things far more complicated than they need to be. How is it that humanity has survived this long? Because our ancestors might just know a thing or two!
Life was more simple, less complicated, clearer. A parent's job was simple. Preparation for adulthood. Every endeavour was to equip the next generation with the skills that they needed to survive. And how did they do it? They did it through stories. They sat around the campfire - yarning and telling stories - and building the bond. They did it through the older members taking the younger members with them on hunting expeditions, a hunting story, or telling them a story about how to pick berries, weave baskets, work in the mines, wash clothes, change a bike tyre, do the washing up.
The task doesn't matter. The learning from the elders does.
And what about today? Do we sit around the campfire 'yarning with our young people' and building the bond whilst at the same time encouraging independence? Do you take your teenager to work with you occasionally so they can see the adult world you live in? Do they know what taxes are by going with you when you go to see your accountant, your solicitor, your bank manager? Or are they left to their own devices to worry about the latest fashions and possibly dabble in mischief due to boredom? Do they watch you fill out the form when you apply for a mortgage or do they hang out a mates place playing God of War?
Houses, cars, jobs - they don't just magically appear and our kids don't just magically know what to do to get them. They have to be taught - shown the image and told the story - so they can be properly informed, well-functioning adults. Don't take the past away from them. Teach them what you know. Pass it on through stories. Prepare them for the future.
(For more information, see www.storyimagetherapy.com).