Can we make teens or anyone else for that matter, accountable by calling them out? Is blaming and shaming the best response to what we perceive as bad behavior? Where do we draw the line between minding our own business and calling out others? Is it our responsibility to tell others about themselves? Should they even care what we think? What kind of pressure is this adding to the lives of our youth?
We excuse calling others out because we wonder what will happen if people are not held accountable for their behavior. We forget that life isn’t fair. If life were fair it would be called heaven, not life. We place our expectations of how people should behave on others. Who made us the judge? Why do we think it is our business to prevent other people from learning the lessons they are here to learn?
The pressure of being called out has always existed, but not the same way it does today. In the 90’s, I investigated child abuse and neglect. My job was to investigate, and to judge if allegations about a parent were true or not.
My job was basically to call parents out. I didn’t use social media to do it, but in many ways the stakes were just as high. Calling out parents created fear and defensiveness.
I am not advocating abusing or neglecting your children, I am simply acknowledging that most of us react the same way to being called out. Making mistakes is part of life. It is how we learn. Call out culture is creating an environment of blame and shame along with fear and defensiveness. It is perpetuating anxiety and fear in our teenagers. Is there a better way of responding to others than calling them out because they don’t meet our societal expectations?
Even parents call their teens out under the guise of knowing what is best for them. They let them know “You are not doing that correctly.” Or “That is not the way you do it.” It can create an environment where teens aren’t motivated to try at all. It also creates the opportunity for parents to see how their words can impact the behavior of their children.
My daughter taught me that you can effectively tell others about themselves without being hurtful. She told me about myself with such grace and respect that I had no choice but to hear what she had to say. There was no blame or shame intended. She didn’t create a situation where I felt defensive. Her perspective opened my eyes in many ways. Opportunity exists every day for parents to see things from their teen’s perspective, offer their own perspective, change the circumstances, communicate effectively with their teens, and teach them about compromise, empathy, grace and love. Sometimes our children are our greatest teachers. My daughter’s
ability to speak her truth was something I never had at her age. This is one of the benefits of being raised during this time.
21st Century culture is creating a rippling effect of opportunity as call out culture encourages individuals to speak up and speak out. This is a beautiful thing when it is used to empower others. Telling people about how you feel and think doesn’t have to mean blaming or shaming them. Everyone of us knows how it feels to be called out.
Call Out Culture is the opposite of self awareness. Self awareness implies emotional regulation. It uses empathy to respond instead of react. Self awareness epitomizes grace and ease that is rarely seen or felt in our culture of calling people out. If self awareness correlates with higher emotional intelligence, where does that leave call out culture?
When used to hold corporations, governments, politicians and other groups of people accountable, call out culture may be very useful. It may be appropriate for calling attention to errors of judgment impacting groups of individuals, or for identifying safety risks. It is not as effective for publicly resolving interpersonal conflict or for correcting the behavior of our teens. Yet, calling others out is infecting social media. As parents we are the role models for our children, yet we are also on social media calling others out, and we are calling our children out at home. If our teens feel blamed or shamed, then they may grow up feeling at fault and worthless.
A culture perpetuating judgment is counterproductive to our society. It is counterproductive to our fight for acceptance of everyone. We can’t rally for acceptance while calling out others for thinking differently than we do. It defies reason, yet it is what we are parroting for our children.
So, what can you do to minimize the impact of call out culture for your teens? We can start by being aware of the impact calling others out has. We can learn to communicate with our teens about current culture. We can talk with our teens about how they feel about the current culture of calling others out. Then you can ask them for suggestions for ways to respond other than calling others out. I think their answers may surprise you while bringing you a new perspective.
Be aware and speak with your children about core beliefs and values. These are at the root of calling others out. Bring awareness to your own beliefs and values, as well as those of your teen. Recognizing that everyone has different beliefs and values can promote acceptance, as well as the tolerance we crave.
We can teach our children how to respond instead of react. Reacting creates toxicity. Responding creates acceptance. Let them know that it is ok for them to speak up and out about their feelings to us.
If your teen calls you out: receive the information and process it in a way that expands you. Don’t take it personally, and recognize where there may be an opportunity for you to grow as a parent. Have empathy for your teen. Take the time to consider their point of view. Is there a limiting belief you have that they are calling attention to? Is there a behavior you may be able to change? Process whether or not they are reacting or responding and communicate with them accordingly. We don’t want to reinforce calling others out by blaming and shaming, but we do want to encourage our teens to speak their truth in a caring and productive way.
If you feel the need to call your teen out for behavior that does not resonate with you: See. Don’t Say. Use discernment. Ask yourself what makes you think your truth is the only truth? Is there a more empowering way you can support your teen that does not involve blame or shame, finger pointing or black and white thinking? Can you speak up for instead of call out against?
Role model for your child that in any given moment, there are multiple perspectives on a given situation. Accept that your teen is learning in a time of great social pressure. Keep in mind that home should be a safe place for our teens to sort through their own core beliefs and values, even if they are different than our own.
Our culture has a false and limiting belief that the behavior of others can be changed with blame, fear, guilt or shame. When we refuse to use these tactics as parents, we inevitably change and empower the behavior of others.
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of “21st Century Culture” brought to you by Keara Kisses.
Be conscious of how you are communicating with your teen. Be mindful of the social pressure they are already experiencing. Remember that calling them out may not be the most productive way to change their behavior.
In our next episode of “21st Century Living” we will explore the difference between information and wisdom.
For more information on my individual and parenting support groups, retreats and services visit kearakisses.com.
Thank you for listening. Until we meet again, keep wondering.
These blogs are written from my personal perspective. I have over thirty years of experience investigating, counseling, assessing and understanding the nature of humans. I look forward to creating a connection with you and sharing reciprocal positive experiences, comments and feedback about your life experiences and opportunities for growth. Please feel free to comment below. Positive comments only please.