Barriers and Bumpers:
Parental anxiety stops us from listening to what our child is saying. That he or she has a plan to sort things out, that things will be OK and they’re going to work through stuff. But, as parents we are overpowered by this urge to intervene and solve their hiccups for them before they snowball into something we worry will become untamable.
So, as parents, is there anything we can do to help them? Yes, trusting them to take risks within the bumpers of your boundaries, giving them space by listening, and giving them the self-confidence to move forward is what we can do.
And, it’s really our anxiety that we’ve to put a stop to. It’s on us to find a support group to share our fears and anxieties and leave our children alone. When else, but in their teen years when the stakes are not too high, will they get a chance to exercise their courage muscles over and over again?
Meet Them Midway:
Teens are being rude and having meltdowns and parents are getting overwhelmed. Parents, that just sums up our daily lives now, doesn’t it? But, what if we tried to make it different?
Believe it or not, teens were hit the hardest due to the pandemic. For teens, it’s very important to stay in touch with their peer group. Because only their peers can show them that they are just like everyone else and “normal”.
When crisis happens, teens don’t know how to show their emotions and “rebel”. But, let’s face it. Aren’t we happy that they’re dealing with this uncertainty in the comfort of our homes when the stakes are so much lower?
Love them and meet them midway. Please.
A Little Compassion Goes A Long Way:
The teenage years! Ahh, the age of reckless abandon – right? Not quite, actually. Teenagers are fighting daily on two fronts – trying to discard their childhood baggage and bring about the act of being like an adult by striving for autonomy. They are little adults who want to be heard, would still like to connect and share what they’re feeling.
So, a little compassion can go a long way in helping out our teens. If the caregivers, educators and adults in their lives are keenly aware of themselves and present themselves in the most authentic way, teens will learn that being their natural self is actually pretty cool.
If we as adults, can just pause long enough to see life through their lens, and not take things personally for their actions, we can bring about a shift in their perspectives too. Giving teens the tools of keen attunement (self-awareness), authenticity (being themselves at all times) and autonomy (independent thought followed by action) empowers them to feel in control of their future.
Our Words Matter:
We use a lot of words to describe shy and withdrawn behavior in children. We label them as socially awkward or introverts. But, what we don’t often realize is that at the heart of such behavior is the fear of rejection.
Teens who’re withdrawn and don’t actively engage with others in the community have never been told:
That they have something of great value to contribute because of how unique they and their abilities are. That they matter, and they are good the way they are. They are just enough and whole by being themselves.
First, Listen To Be Heard:
Want your teens to talk? Want to connect with them in meaningful ways?
Our children are constantly giving us feedback with their behavior. They pull back when they don’t like some of our rules. They throw tantrums when their demands are not met. They tug at us incessantly because they’ve a desire to be heard.
As parents, we’ve tears of joy, sorrow and shame. And the most frightening for a child is the tears of shame rolling down a mother’s cheek. Don’t scream the discontent about things in your life on your child. Children who’re constantly exposed to rejection and ignore, exhibit behavioral problems. To make up, they become bullies at school.
Learn first-hand from your child what lights them up with excitement. Seek out those activities and do them over and over again with them. Ask your children to set high expectations and goals for themselves. Boredom is a mainstay of anyone’s life. Teach that and the value of personal growth and community service.
Teens set trends as much as they follow trending news. Ask them about what’s trending at school, in the world of sports and the latest mobile or video games they and their friends are playing. You don’t necessarily have to understand or enjoy everything, but it’s a sure way to get your teens to open about what excites them. Toss in pizza and soda and you’ve a conversation winner!
Shifting The Language:
As infants we notice their every move, every fall and every misstep with wonder. But as teens, we start judging their every action.
Talking to your teens, who’re terrified of being judged, in a tone that assumes their intentions hurts their self-confidence. As a consequence, they withdraw from you because you seem to assume their intentions.
Words matter. Shift your language from judging to noticing. Instead of, “I saw you were trying your best at your math problem, was that difficult?” say something simple like this. “You’re doing great work, good job.”
Instilling Self Believe And Agency:
The first thing we do when interacting with Teens is start with asking about their strengths. There’s something they do with enthusiasm without having to be coaxed or prodded by parents or teachers.
What is that one thing they love to do the most?
Then we show them how much we respect them and their ideas. Teens who’re made to believe that they have something to contribute and they too can make a positive difference in the world strive harder to achieve those expectations.
This is just one of the few tricks up our sleeve at FutureSTRONG Academy in our Teen Mastermind Toolkit.
Our TEEN Mastermind Workshops:
At FutureSTRONG Academy, our Good Citizen Initiative is designed for MIDDLE and HIGH Schoolers. They are 2-hour crash courses over the weekend where we teach them the secrets of top performers and make them college, career and real life ready.
We help Teens explore their interests and get ready for the real world with a compelling story to tell. Let’s not forget, resumes don’t build themselves overnight!
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