June 16th was Youth Day in South Africa. Now if you are a committed Dad like me, you would agree that every day is flipping youth day, right? Of course, this particular day commemorates the uprising in Soweto, and is now a celebration of the role played by the youth in liberating SA from the Apartheid regime. Yet, how many of us feel that on a family level, and day to day basis, the struggle is to get the youth off our couches.
The liberation is of our wallets, fridges and cars. Our kids are growing up in an era of what I call Socmed; where it’s okay to communicate with your friends and family, on a screen, by written word (or emojis)…and that’s sitting in the same room. It’s a time of brand consciousness, self-image and entitlement. Times have changed so much that one generation can’t look down at the next with the same yardstick. Especially so with: “Now, when we were kids…” Nothing attracts an eye-rolling more than a parent suggesting how much better they were as kids. And yet, daily, we work, and we cope, and we deal with, and we sacrifice. All in the name of giving our kids the best start in life. That’s what it’s about isn’t it? They must eventually leap from the nest, and as life-support systems, we parents must make sure they can fly. Love can be tough.
But love them we do, and so we embark on this roundabout where your doting toddlers who loved your lap, get pimples and hair – and turn on you like you got it wrong all this time! They come back though – I’m told. Wholesome families are not the norm these days and it’s hard to find a perfect family, if indeed they exist. But, so long as every family member is striving and seeking out positive relationships, then the course is at least right. Aligning kids to your will with discipline or punishment is only creating a false environment. How much better is it if your kids actually wanted the things we wanted them to want?
The balance, we must suppose, is finding the fine line between spoiling them, and giving them the best start. Sometimes we need to search for this in less obvious places…like All Out Adventures. Yes, of course it’s a spoiling – it is a place of fun after all. But you also get to push your kids (literally) into ‘strange’ and challenging situations; where there are no couches, TVs or cell signal! The team at AOA do not claim to be family-therapists, but they do have a way getting a scream out of your kids – which is very, very satisfying indeed!