You hear this said all the time, “we live in a different world these days…” Well, I’ve been thinking about things that are ‘different’… but also somehow the same, like:
I may not love the idea of my teen eventually dating in this day and age with apps like Tinder, where they can seem so shallow with their smorgasbord of suitors and users brutal judgement of each other with an instant dismissive swipe left or right.
But it is really so different from my mum’s generation where the girls all lined up against the walls at the weekly dances just waiting for the boys to come and ask them to dance? They were also eyed up; a snap judgement was made purely on what they saw and then just when they thought he was heading their way to ask them to dance, he would veer right and ended up asking the person next to them… brutal much?
My teen can at the touch of a button access all her music via Spotify and have it pump into her earphones or through the house over our wifi speakers to let our neighbours enjoy our selection 😉
My mum’s day was not that much different – she tells me about the postie having to wait until their new Elvis record eventually changed track so he could knock on the door as my mum and her sisters were blasting it for all the neighbourhood to hear…and did you see some of the sizes of some of those record collections!?
My nana may have bonded with my mum through their shared love of their favourite author…
Whereas bonding with my teen last week was the two of us curled up on the couch laughing our heads off and nearly peeing our pants watching the latest YouTube clips, mimicking the actions and sharing our favourite tube channels for a couple of hours.
Different mediums, but seriously: still really awesome bonding.
Where we live
Sure we’re not leaning over the fence sharing cups of sugar with our neighbours/friends, popping over for a cuppa and playing soccer in the street…
But my teen and I chat to neighbours in the lobby of our apartment, or out in the forecourt during Fire Alarm evacuations.
We meet our neighbours/friends out and about in the city for more than a few cuppas. We have concrete walls to practice Volleyball against and flat tar-seal forecourts to scooter and rollerblade along. The city is our street.
BYOD (Bring your own devices) and the age of the internet give our teens access to such a wealth of information that far surpasses what we could know in our lifetime.
The encyclopaedias at our house growing up were 10 years old and the ones at my nana’s house – a good 20 years old. As long as you knew the correct term to look up you could find the information in a flash.
If you didn’t own encyclopaedias at home, you had to go to your nanas house or had to use the library…or in the case of Joey from Friends, who just owned the Letter V, so could only do school projects on Vesuvius or Vivisection.
The information and the ability to learn it is still out there, just the way we hunt it down and access it is different.
My nana caught the bus/tram/train to the shops… nothing has really changed there, as so do our teens today. Albeit with Snapper cards and Real Time apps…but it’s still public transport and they still stand for elderly people or pregnant people (or as my teen says ‘anyone older than her’!).
My mum had sleepovers with her friends and cousins. They may not have had as many comfy squabs and airbeds to lie on and only woolly scratchy blankets… but the main components of sleepovers are still the same.
There is still a lot of talking, giggling, singing, listening to music, secret telling, risk taking, double daring, getting into trouble and tired teens in the morning.
My grandparents took my parents camping… my parents took us kids camping.. .and now we camp with my teen at some of the same places that have spanned generations.
Waterhole swimming, camp fire building, dishes doing, bull rush playing, spotlight playing, late night giggling permeating through the sides of the tents and the low hum of people chatting into the night.
We make limits on the times last text message of the night or when phones have to stay in the lounge for our teens.
It’s fairly similar to how my Mom had to make my teenage self a ‘talking on the phone time limit’ at night. I wanted my privacy and would stretch the phone into the hallway and the door would only just close with the curly cord smooshed underneath.
I would have to lie on the ground to get my ear to the handset… but would seep every last second out of my evenings just as our teens do now.
Some will argue that our kids don’t help enough around the house ‘these days’… but I don’t find that’s the case… as most of the chores and expectations haven’t changed.
Do your teens still take out the rubbish, keep their rooms tidy, feed the pets, walk the pets, clean dishes, mow the lawns, weed, sweep, clean, help with their younger siblings? If so our chore world is not much different.
When my mum went for a run in the 1960s she made the same actions as my teen heading off for a run now in 2015.
The action of going for a run is exactly the same, you put on your shoes and out the door you go. Sure there is more gear available, but you can just simply put your shoes on and run!
My nana may have been hip, my mum may have been groovy, I may have been The Bomb and for my teen it’s Amaze Balls. At the end of the day Dreamboat, Spunk and Bae still mean you think someone is ‘pretty damn awesome’.
Even if we do have to google what YOLO means or why I would want to LMFAO, the terms may be different, but the gist is still much the same!
In the 90s I took many selfies with my friends, just as our teens do now.
Sure we had to wait 1 week to get them printed and if we had cut off the top of our heads it was too just too bad. But some of these pics are some of my favourite of my old friends (even if a large majority of these had me poking my tongue out).
Our teens won’t love all of them and will cringe at loads of them, but no doubt will cherish some of the selfies they have with their best friends forever.
I’m about to start teaching my teen to drive, just as my mum did, just as her dad did for her, just as his dad did for him.
She is still going to bunny hop the car and stall at the lights. She’s still going to run out of petrol and have to learn how to change the oil and a flat tyre just as we all did. She’s still going to get grounded for getting caught with a friend in the car driving on her restricted licence (cough-cough).
Knitting & Krumping
My nana may have taught my mum to knit and my mum may have taught my nana how to do Chubby Checker’s Twist.
But that’s not so different than me teaching my teen to sew or my teen teaching me to krump… Soldier Boy… or Whip/Nae Nae… (I still can’t get the Stanky leg down though)
We live in a different world from our nana’s, our mum’s and our own upbringings…but it’s also so very much the same.
Yes, sometimes the mediums still freak me out a bit, but I have to keep them in perspective and ask myself ‘are they really that different at the end of the day’?
So often the medium has changed, but the basics are still the same.
One thing that certainly hasn’t changed is teenage risk taking, and parental fear, when teens head out. For more on this, check out 13 things to equip your teen with when they go out.