While I was wondering about what the Instagram photo of a single brown egg is, that is trying to get more likes than Kylie Jenner’s baby, I encountered an article online from Chicago Tribune related to that topic. I recommend this article for parents who are raising teenagers, a person aged between 13 and 19 years old, to think about this topic.
The article is written by Heidi Stevens with a title of ‘That Instagram egg reveals its identity, and it’s a beautiful metaphor for parenting teens’. In her article, she talks about her conversations with her 13-year-old daughter, and brings the discussions that the teenagers are having nowadays. Her daughter is 13, entering the teenager stage, and she says that so far it is her favorite parenting phase. Heidi learns about the world, celebrities, and her daughter’s friendship by listening to her daughter, and she is very grateful about it.
Let’s go back to the world record brown egg, with 10 million followers, that was featured in a post-Super Bowl ad on Hulu. I also started following the brown egg a few weeks ago with curiosity and waiting for it to crack. On Super Bowl Sunday, it revealed its’ message while cracking and said “Recently I’ve started to crack. The pressure of social media is getting to me. If you’re struggling too, talk to someone.” It is supposedly to direct the followers to the site of Mental Health America. Heidi states that the brown egg is kind of a fitting metaphor for raising a teenager. In her words, things that feel trivial aren’t, and things that seem light and airy are full of weight.
I agree on her that it is important to listen to your child to every last bit of it. And listening brings great source of ideas and engagement for various generation gaps. But at the same time, I still think it is critical for the parent to acknowledge and share what they believe in. They don’t have to inculcate their beliefs and ideas to their teenage child, but it is still important to know how to speak their voice and build a discussion with the teenager.
Heidi and her daughter talks about ‘theybies’. It is a new term that is used for parents who raise babies without a gender assignment. Parents of ‘theybies’ believe sex is biological and gender is a societal construction. So they keep the child’s sex from public to prevent people from inflicting gender-based stereotypes onto their child. Children who grew up as theybies call themselves ‘they’ until they figure out their gender identity, and refuse to be called ‘him’ or ‘her’. And some celebrities are doing it.
Heidi’s daughter tells Heidi that she and her friends were discussing about this topic in a group chat. Heidi seems to listen very well to her daughter but doesn’t talk about her own thoughts. I think giving feedback is also as important as listening. Sometimes it could cause arguments and disagreements. But those discussions are crucial in developing self-identity and moral reasoning. Teenagers are in the developmental stage of constant transformation—whether it be physical (growth, sexual development), cognitive (formal operations), moral (values and spirituality), or identity (self-image and selfesteem) development (Eyrich-Garg, 2008).
American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg emphasized on the development of moral reasoning. Post conventional moral reasoning is especially important for teenagers because that is when they start to acknowledge individual rights and equity. I believe that we should foster our teenager child by discussing the moral issues and dilemmas that we face in our society. And that way, we can engage with them through higher-level ethical issues such as social justice. Despite the arguments and disagreements, the parent and teenager will learn resilience, take challenges, and adapt change. It is a matter of how thoughtfully and gently we can present our thoughts and share with our teenage child.