Coping With Your Teenager
As your once “easy to manage” child enters adolescence many changes begin to transpire. A once connected relationship with dynamic communication now becomes turbulent, rocky and/or distant. We wonder as parents, “What are we doing wrong?” or “what’s happening?” and we begin to change our strategies for connection. On the surface we notice only what we can see, disrespect, rebellion, resignation, dishonesty, inconsistency, laziness etc… What we fail to realize is that these actions are reactions to hormonal changes, peer pressure, the search for identity, alienation, rejection, sexual curiosity among other things. The good news is these behaviors are common in nature and it is a necessary phase in life. This phase can potentially be the stepping stone for self discovery and your teenager unlocking his greatest potential.
No Judging Zone
The goal is to create a common vision between you and your teenager. It’s about getting to the root of what inspires both of you irrespective of your differences and where you are in life. One of the traps that parents fall into is their own need to impose their agenda. Parents have the best intentions in mind; however, that in itself will not create the results you want with your teenager. The Accelerate Challenge refers to it as “Congruent Parenting,” the ability to create the necessary open space to allow your teenager to experience feeling heard. Your teenager has something to say, and they will say it if they feel safe and free of judgment.
Understand that this phase is a journey. So hang in there. Here are some tips on managing your relationship with your growing teen:
Have a conversation with your teen about the physical, emotional and spiritual changes they are experiencing. Allow them to share. Just listen. Conversation creates partnership. Our ability to communicate and most importantly listen is the key to creating a lasting and meaningful connection. An authentic connection begins with listening to what is and what is not being said. Sharing a heartfelt conversation about these inner changes will allow your teen to understand him or herself better. And it will also allow you, the parent, to understand your teen’s world.
Every day ask your teen if they have noticed anything different about themselves. Allow them to share freely. Studies show that when you focus on what’s different rather than the old and the same, you create space for the new to evolve. By training our teens to look within and see what’s different will enable them to continuously move forward and not get stuck in a mental rut.
Give your child space when they ask for it. This can be challenging because as parents and even as natural human beings, the last thing we want to do is stand still while we watch our loved ones, let alone our child, suffer about anything. But when your teen asks for space or time to process whatever they are going through, its important to give them that space. By honoring their requests we start to solidify their quest for who they are with respect and dignity. Its easier said than done, I know. So let’s compromise and meet in the middle. A great question who be, “I’m concerned about you and whatever you are going through. Im here for you and would love to talk at some point. How much time do you need so we can have a conversation?” As parents give them a time limit to sit and soak, or sit and process as we say. Honor that time limit and then after that time expires create the space for a heart to heart convo.
Create an inspirational vision together. A vision gives us a common ground, a common destination. When we connect to a vision that inspires us daily, we can then always use and refer to the vision as an anchor tool, as a way to guide our thoughts, words and actions. Even our behavior, feelings and emotions can be guided and directed with a powerful vision. A great place to start would be to ask your teen what his or her perfect life would look like and feel like. What are the goals, the accomplishments, the relationships and more importantly, the experience he or she would like to have? Share your ideal vision and have your teen connect to who you really are. As parents we tend to play the martyr role in curbing our own desires and wants when it comes to our families, especially our children’s needs and wants. We tend to leave ourselves last and we understand wholeheartedly why. But here’s the secret, the more your share yourself openly and freely with your teen, the more you connect authentically. And it really supports your teen in finding who they really are. Create a vision together by either creating a family vision board or create your own individual vision boards and share them. Or you can get really outrageous and do both, create your own personal and family vision boards.
Take one committed action everyday towards that vision. Nothing really matters if you don’t take action. And the key lies in taking new action everyday. If we get stagnant with routine, we run the risk of our vision fading into the background of boredom, hopelessness and resignation. Each day commit to taking new action –something you’ve never done before, and just do it. Through action, we teach our teens the responsibility of doing the work, of being their word, and being tenacious when it comes to obtaining their own desires, goals and vision. Going after your passions and making it a reality requires taking committed action EVERY DAY! This is where the magic happens.
For more information about how you can support your teen, visit the link below: