Listen. The Tide Pod 'challenge' and various other challenges, ranging from dangerous foods to prophylactic snorting are quite clearly barking mad, but they're viral and mind viruses have a way of switching off logic.
Couple of things about this...
Stop blaming Millennials for the Tide Pod thing. Clearly you can't pin THIS one on them. For some reason everything utterly daft on the internet gets blamed on Millennials/Gen Y but it seems to be Gen Z behind this.
By the way... Gen X here. We're a tiny little cohort nobody notices, so we snuck under the radar with our nonsense (although you use our aceeeeed smiley every day. You're welcome).
Second... this is what happens with hormones. People crave drama and intense emotion and connection. When I was a teenager that meant raves, ecstasy and acid. Not for me, I hasten to add. Yes to the raves. Even organised a few. No to the drugs. But I was one of the only people I knew who didn't partake in the substance abuse.
Pot, shrooms and long hair when my parents were teens. Acid, Ecstasy and raves when I was a teen. Molly and Tinder (which only changed to 18+ in 2016) for Millennials. Assanine online challenges like the 'Tide Pod Challenge' now. If you go back a couple of hundred years it was opiates and duels. Young people crave highs.
You can't. You didn't behave when you were a teenager either. If you grew up before social media, or you managed to delete all your online evidence, just stop. You know full well that you got away with things. That doesn't mean you didn't do them. Be holier-than-thou all you want, but don't be a hypocrite.
Not Catholic, but I was schooled in a convent for a while and didn't meet a single saint while I was there. In fact, I seem to remember the phrase: 'Sex is evil. Sex is sin. Sins are forgiven, so get stuck in' being in general usage. If you now have kids around that age, you might be freaking out. There's a reason to do so. If they're eating Tide Pods or taking drugs or not practising safe sex they could die. Not sugar coating it for you. Them's the facts, my friend.
But you can't stop them doing any of these things just by telling them not to do them.
The reason I didn't do a lot of the dangerous things my friends did when I was in my teens and early 20s was because my moral compass was on fleek. It was on fleek because I made it that way, not because my parents or society told me what to do. I had an image in mind of who I wanted to become, and drug addiction didn't fit into that image. I still did some daft things, but my daftness had perimeters that I set and maintained.
People ask why I don't look 45. A large part is because of decisions I made about drugs, alcohol, nutrition, etc when I was 19. If you just live for the highs, you age fast. By the way, if you want to know the kinds of things that really helped with the not looking my age thing, living largely organic was a big one. No fast food for the last 25 years. This is the company I get most of my organic goodies from for my skin and bod these days.
To draw this bit of the convo to a close...
You can't make young people behave, but what you can do is pay attention to why they're doing stupid shit. Can't think of a delicate way to say that. Sorry. The reason they're doing crazy things is not just because of hormones but because of boredom and because things are set up as 'challenges'.
In the wild, when young animals are transitioning to adulthood they challenge each other to prove sexual prowess to potential mates. That dude's got the biggest antlers. That guy's got the brightest feathers. Grab your coat, you've pulled... right? Same deal. They're just showing off. Unless they're total narcissists, they'll grow out of it eventually. In the meantime, one way to keep them on the planet until that happens is to understand the weird logic behind this and provide an alternative.
Someone doing something for a dare shows courage. It's peacocking. It brings just a little bit of fame to an otherwise unremarkable day. It unites a group of people. There's them (the people too chicken to eat poisonous substances) and us (the people courageous enough to do so). For more of the same a couple of generations back, I recommend watching Quadrophenia. A chap who married someone in my family directed it. It's eminently watchable. So, for the young people in your life to stop doing life endangering things, they need a new kind of challenge.
I see so many adults online talking about their home business but very few actually encouraging their kids to go for it. Why? With more young people living with their parents for their first few years of adult life, doesn't it make sense to get them set up in business while they're still at college so they can contribute to the mortgage/rent when they graduate?
For one thing, there is a phenomenon I've witnessed way too often with mothers in particular passive-aggressively controlling their offspring - especially sons - by using accommodation and home cooked meals to prevent them from taking responsibility for their own lives and adulting up. If they're downing Tide Pods at that point, mums, I hold you at least partially responsible! If, however, they're paying rent and contributing something to the food budget that's a sign they're entering adulthood and it helps them to develop a sense of both responsibility and independence.
Don't pay their rent and food bills. Pay to set them up in business. Let them pay rent and food bills themselves. It's about helping, not controlling, your kids.
To be clear, this doesn't give you carte blanche to elbow your young'uns into your downline. They may want to do something entirely different from what you're doing, and that's fine. It means making them aware of the possibility of becoming self-employed. It also means being cool with the idea that they may do better than you.
Ultimately, they're the ones who'll be choosing your retirement home so equipping them with the earning power to get you into the swankiest high-end place is in your best interests too.
If you're not in anything and you're looking for inspiration, here are a few I'd recommend. The top two come with free trials.
Set them a challenge, and support them as they work on that challenge, and you may find that instead of eating Tide Pods, they're selling you a more environmentally sound equivalent while they work their way out of your basement.
P.S. If you want your kids to start into the solo entrepreneur world with their best foot forward, hire them a coach as well. Happy to coach teens up, but I personally would want you to give permission for me to coach them one to one if they're under 18. If they're under 18, you're building something together and you want to be in on the coaching sessions, I'm cool with that too. Here's my info.
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