Why do so many parents discount their children's and/or teenager's opinions?
Because the opinions of teenagers are too full of angst and not well thought out.
I think the prevailing situation with children and teens is that they want and need to be heard. How unfortunate that parents often ignore or don't hear their children when they talk. These young people will find a way to be heard, if not by mom and dad then someone else and it isn't always pretty.
I made a point of stopping what I was doing to listen to my children. And yes, I heard some wild ideas and opinions but they were from the heart and they wanted me to acknowledge them.
I think in our hearts we all want to be heard and too often we do not feel that we are heard or we want to know our presence and voice make a difference in our own families. Lots of psych talk i know but as a child who wasn't heard, I am particularly sensitive to this subject.
I listen to my son's opinion and, if he can support them, I allow him to act on those opinions. He has a sweet tooth like I do, so I don't always listen to his opinion about deserts. But everyone has a right to a voice. Fairness is important for developing a sense of importance and feeling engaged in real life.
When you are a child you have the mind of a child. It is by nature a self-centered view of the world with the base concern of having your needs filled. It is programmed into every human at birth and is not subject to alteration by way of status or location.
When you are an adult, you outgrow your child-mind and take on that of an adult - one that is able to look beyond self. As an adult you look at the bigger picture, the needs and wants of others and how it will affect more than just yourself.
The "many parents" you speak of here may know and understand this. They may see that their child or teen has not yet developed the mindset to look beyond self and to the greater picture of how it will affect everyone involved.
I would even venture to wager that these parents DO, in fact, listen to their children's opinions - and upon seeing the true nature of those opinions, help their child grow and learn by leading them to a more global state of awareness.
A parent who loves their child does not stand idly by and allow them to self-destruct. While a child may feel they are being unfairly treated at times; once they mature and look back upon the circumstances they will find that their parents did what they did out of love & to help that child grow to become the person they are today.
In many cases parents pass on a tradition that was expected of them. The expectation of children being seen and not heard is still fairly common, a holdover from decades ago.
The problem with this tradition is that some children go to extremes of turning to negative ways of getting attention or will isolating themselves in order to appease their parents.
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