It's OK
Off the Wall, February 16, 2017

One of my favorite subjects to observe is behavior patterns. Ever since college where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, I have often wondered what makes people tick and why do they act the way they do.

I never thought about writing a column about it until I was standing in a doctor’s waiting room and the receptionist and I began talking about a particular subject of which I was in question.

This young lady stated, “I’m an adult now and my parents have no say as to what I do.” The interesting thing about that statement is what occurrences in her life led up to this straight forward declarative. That’s what I’d like to know.

We who had children know without uncertainty that each age group demonstrates a certain way of thinking.

When kids are young, say below the ages of five, they pretty much do as they are told. That’s not to say that they aren’t little rascals and put adults to a test now and then, but they seem to look up to one or both parents and do as they are told.

One woman stated recently that her five-year old daughter does as asked most the time except when it comes to straightening up her room. That takes a little more egging on.

As I see it, youth start to become more independent once they spring forth from the nest and start mingling with others. There seems to be a desire to “be a part of” particularly when peer pressure enters in.

Parents who try to fashion their children’s hair do or clothing styles to look like older youth or adults may be raising expectations as how these kids should act, when truly they are masquerading the ages these children should be acting out.

How a child is made to think, in my opinion, will affect his future behavior when it comes to certain situations.

Kids often go along with parents’ requests up to a certain age and then the “switch-a-roo” goes into effect. I believe teenage years start a whole way of youth’s behavior. Instead of going with the flow and letting mommy or daddy dictate their course, these young people rebut what they are told.

Much has to do with outside the home pressures whereby peers guide their thought patterns.

Then comes the “know-it-all” years. “I don’t think Mom or Dad’s attitudes are stupid. They are just backward in thought. They aren’t teaching us things according to the times,” one teen may point out.

I believe something occurred within those years for the redheaded young adult to make the original statement I noted above. She told me in her earlier years, her mother didn’t mind if she got tattoos on her body, but her father was strictly against it.

For her father to state his feelings became offensive to her.

Here is the whole reason for writing my column today. For this and other courses of probable but not certainty of actions, would she have been much farther ahead if she would have sat down with both parents and discussed the pros and cons of committing such acts?

It might go like this. “Mom and Dad, I’m thinking about a tattoo of a Pokémon engraved on my upper arm. I’ll pay for it with my savings. I would like to have your permission to have it done.

“Well,” Mom might say, “You know we are staunch Christians and try to abide by God’s Word in every way. You may not be aware, but in Leviticus 19:28, it states, ‘You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you.’ Maybe you ought to pray about it before going ahead.”

Do you think the young lady of whom I mentioned may still be acting in such a fashion because her parents kept her from going ahead with getting these designs on her tissues and now she is standing her ground now that she is an adult?

I was talking to a doctor recently, and I asked him if any of his grown children still asked for advice from either him or his wife. He answered to the affirmative.

We both agreed that just because our children are grown, they still should feel it’s OK to seek our advice. After all, as we grow older, we also get wiser. Adults, talk over dilemmas with your parents. It will do you both good.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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