Tips for Teens in a Cockeyed Culture

Growing up is hard enough, but throw in a wacky, wayward culture in which to do it and you’ve got a catastrophe in the making. What makes the undoable seem possible? Good parents and straight talk to teens about the issues and challenges in their lives.

The journey from adolescence to adulthood is a period loaded with decisions, both large and small, that will affect the rest of their lives.

How prepared are they for the challenges they will face? ‘Tis best to get started off on the right foot. The O’Reilly Factor for Kids is a pull no punches book for teens to address these issues.

O’Reilly emphasizes being a good friend and the importance of loyalty. Stick with the right friends–birds of a feather flock together. Avoid: violent friends, vicious gossips, liars, cheaters, and someone who flirts with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Bullies are really life’s losers. Don’t be intimidated by them, stand up to them. However, teens may well benefit by confiding their troubles to their parents or a teacher who most likely is not aware of the bullying.

Develop empathy. It’s a good antidote to being an egotist. If Mom and Dad think the new motorcycle’s not in the budget, rather than pitch a two-year-old’s fit, try looking at it from their perspective. Is Mom worried because one of your friends just wrapped his bike around a tree? Is Dad’s job in jeopardy? Is the insurance too high? Growing up means learning to think of other factors involved in a decision over mere self-gratification.

I particularly liked O’Reilly’s discussion on siblings. Take a look around. They’re your best friends. If you fought with them when you were younger (and who hasn’t) that’s normal. Now that the teens are maturing, they need to think about how to get along better with the sibs and appreciate a life-long relationship of deepest friendship.

Given the current woeful state of marriage in America, O’Reilly gives advice on handling divorce. He encourages kids to stay in school and get help with depression. The mere fact this subject comes up is indicative that, contrary to what the left maintains, yes, divorce hurts kids–of any age.

On chores: help around the house, don’t whine and complain and don’t expect an allowance. Your parents provide you with three meals a day and a roof over your head. If you want spending money, go get a part time job. Chances are, if the teen’s earned the money being spent on the Nike sneakers, he may be a bit more careful with the cost of the selection.

Drugs, smoking, and alcohol are of course, all off limits for teens. Again, he encourages them not to be stupid.

O’Reilly’s advice on sex is less stringent. He should and could be stronger. He says, “Sex is best when you combine sensible behavior with sincere affection.” Hmm. Are we talking husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, fianc???? ¬©es, or God forbid, other combinations? He does at least bring up the trouble with diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

The solution to the dilemma is not politically correct but nevertheless straightforward and simple. No sex before marriage. We can tell our kids to say no to drugs and alcohol. For the health of their body, mind, and soul, we must have the courage to tell them to say no to sex before marriage.

O’Reilly dishes out lots of advice. Fashion trends are another topic: don’t dress like Britney Spears.

Read. Self-esteem comes from success. Recognize your talents, develop them, and work on the areas in which you are not as strong.

Skip the bad language: it gives others the impression you’re illiterate. Work hard. “Respect your life and the lives of all others, including unborn children.”

Children in general, and teens in particular, need unequivocal communication on what life’s ground rules are and we expect of them. No, you’re not leaving the house dressed like that, having a keg at your 18th birthday party, driving like a maniac, or smoking dope. Yes, you will go to church, do your homework, and take out the garbage. That’s why we get paid the big bucks to be the parents: so that one day when we look back on our lives we will be able to thank God that our children grew up to be the wonderful human beings they are, and it was worth every minute of blood, sweat, tears, and joy that is parenthood.