Hudson Valley Parent

HVP February 2017

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22 Hudson Valley Parent n February 2017 By LAURA LYLES REAGAN S ocial scientists observe that children create meaning from the world around them and work together to create their own interpretations of even complicated issues like racism and gender roles. But adults often miss out on kid culture and its creative force because they are too busy imparting adult culture or too busy with their own lives. With teens the process is unde- niable! Ever heard of the generation gap? Since cars were invented and teens asked for the keys on week- ends and had a separate time away from parents, teens have been creat- ing their own culture. Rock and roll was born as a result! Today teens create their own language, meanings and of course music. It flies at the speed of the internet through social media. Teen culture and various subcultures are dynamic and ever changing. In other parts of the world, the generations are not so divided. While the amount of time spent with each other daily may not be as great in our Western culture as tribal cultures are we doomed to be disen- gaged as parents and teens? No! We have choices. One power- ful choice is to co-create the relation- ship you want with your teens. Co-creation: two-way communication Co-creating is a sociological and even a business term about relation- ships. It suggests that each party in a relationship shares the ability or power to influence the relationship. Traditional sociology views the role of children and teens as passive recipients of social learning where the institutions of society such as family, school and church teach chil- dren about our culture's beliefs and behaviors. As any new parent knows, chil- dren define the relationship. Babies cry. Parents feed them, pick them up or change a diaper. That influence continues throughout the child's life as they learn and grow to full maturity. In the new sociology of childhood, children are co-creators of culture and relationships. Their role is ob- viously different than that of adults but their influence as what sociolo- gists call "social actors" is powerful. (Prout & James 2010). An Example of Co-creation My youngest daughter loves horses. She has been riding since she was four years old. In her mid- teens, she discovered an approach of interacting with horses popularized by Monty Roberts. Monty Roberts is considered one of the first horse whisperers. He was made famous by the book Shy Boy which is the story of a wild mustang that communi- cated with Monty and followed him Navigating the Generation Gap

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