Pumpkins, vampires, even President Obama. Teens and adults across the country will be dressed in Halloween costumes today. We have been bombarded with commercials by retailers who hope to cash in on the phenomenon. Many people plan their costumes weeks and even months ahead of the big dress-up day. Halloween costumes allow teens to pretend to be someone they are not. On Halloween teens can change their gender, change shape, and even change their color without explanation. A Halloween costume can allow a teen to become a superhero or a villain for the day. It’s all fun and games right? Let me pose a serious question…and please take a moment before you answer. Is your teen wearing a mask the other 364 days of the year? Is your teen waiting until Halloween to be the person they want to be? I encourage you to encourage your teens take off the masks and be themselves everyday.
No parent, guardian, youth worker, teacher, or mentor is perfect. We all make mistakes right? Of course we do because children don’t come with individualized instruction booklets. Just as there are no perfect adults, no perfect teens exist. Over-stressed, confused, and highly pressured teens have become common place in our fast-paced, competitive culture. Take a moment and give that some thought. We see teens masking their true feelings on the quest for perfection and acceptance manifest itself in athletes who take performance enhancing drugs, students who cheat on placement exams, teens who go to great lengths to dress like the masses, teen’s who look for love in all the wrong places, and teens who attend their parent’s alma mater or follow the career path laid out by their caregivers. I encourage you to encourage your teens to take off the masks and be true to themselves on Halloween and everyday.
Here at The Teen Toolbox, we encourage teens to live up to their potential. We want to see teens that are free to create their own paths and develop their own definitions of success. When we give teens permission to dream big, take part in new experiences, and think outside the box, the masks come off! with support and encouragement they can keep them off.