Being in the Otherís Shoes: Very Difficult to Teach
One of the most difficult tasks that parents have is to teach their teen to see life from another personís perspective, in other words, being in the other personís shoes. This is actually taught rather than merely born with. One may think that a teenager needs to see life from other peopleís perspectives in order not to be selfish. This is true and yet, there is more to it.
A teenager needs to see life from othersí perspective in order to establish supportive, lasting, and meaningful relationships and friendships. A teen needs to see the otherís perspective in order to discern the meaning and direction of a relationship. Without this ability to discern between supportive and destructive relationships, teens can fall prey to abusive and destructive relationships.
A teenager needs to see life from otherís perspective for at least one other extremely important reason - to appreciate oneself. It is only in hopeful, trusting, and supportive relationships that a teen can actually see and appreciate oneís worth and potential. It is only in such positive relationships that a teen gains the critique necessary to grow and progress, while receiving the hope and encouragement to do so. Unless the teen can grow creatively in such relationships, he or she will remain stagnant and bored with life.
It is up to the parents to teach their teen the balanced way of being in the otherís shoes. On the one hand, being understanding, helpful, and respectful of others, while not being abused and taken advantage of by offensive people. The parents have the difficult task to teach this balance to their teen, and they can do so by example - by placing themselves in the shoes of their very own teen. By sharing of their experiences, challenges and joys as teens, the parents can instill the true appreciation of supportive relationships in their teen.