Help! My Child Turned Into A Teen…..5 Strategies For Managing Adolescent Change
Parenting teengers doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can truly be rewarding and fun! Parents and society will continue to be lost until they achieve the following:
- Gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the teen mind and the transformational changes imposed upon them by mother nature and
- Learn strategies to accommodate for those changes.
During this stage in the life cycle the teen brain is changing drastically causing all sorts of modifications within the body. These changes are “hard-wiring” them to survive the unthinkable…. to leave everything that is safe, secure, stable, dependable and reliable. Biologically speaking, their brain is wiring them to wean themselves of you! In a very short period of time, they will be out of the house, on they’re own and dealing with all the realities of life. However the difference is – you won’t be by their side. And their internal compass knows it! Therefore, everything must change physiologically, biologically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to make this transition successfully happen.
Imagine something for a moment. Could you could leave the love and security of your entire family, move away, leave all your friendships behind, leave the familiarity and comfort of your room your home and everything else in between, have no income, savings or retirement plan in place, start all over again with establishing a brand new life, meet new friends – and all the while find a way to maintain happiness, motivation and equilibrium during the whole ordeal? Most adults would dread such an endeavor and be looking for the first drink or pill bottle to numb the pain and reality.
But what does the teen do? The complete opposite of adults. They forge forward with motivation, courage, excitement and defiance against the odds. If you thought that your teen was poorly equipped and without assets – guess again. Most are loaded with courage and are being hardwired not to let the undertaking of the unthinkable bother them. Who, other than teens, can move away from everything safe and secure…and feel motivated by the prospect?
Why does this happen? Because your teen is undergoing one of the most profound transformational processes that can occur within the human brain and body, which is designed to become completely independent and self sufficient in just a few short years. The Amazing Itty Bitty Parenting Teens – 15 Powerful Strategies For Understanding How Your Teen Thinks can provide you with a wealth of helpful information and tools to better navigate this important period of the lifecycle.
So rather than getting mad at your teen’s willfulness, feelings of infallibility, absent-mindedness and their desire to not be around you, try to see these as assets. Nature is forcing them into this. Rather than resisting the flow, why not work with it? Here are a few tips and strategies.
- Upgrade your language and thinking regarding your teen and all teens. Society has done a huge disservice to teens and it’s time to change course. We need to revere this awe-inspiring time instead of generating myths and fear about this important stage of transformation. Use encouraging and understanding language that supports their big undertaking and transformation. There is nothing more harmful to this age group than to perpetuate incorrect and harmful myths and messaging about how problematic teens can be. They are brilliantly being engineered to feel, think and be completely different people.
- Encourage and believe in your teen. They have enough confusion going on within their bodies and life that would make any other age group go insane. Yet they hold it together. The last thing they need is for you to think that they’re bad, wrong, incompetent, inept or a mess. If anything, they need you more than ever to believe in them and their ability to make it! They may not say or express it, but what they really want is your approval and encouragement.
- Guide your child with love and understanding. Remember that their brain is changing from one day to the next. That means that in some areas the “brain matter” is paring away and other areas it’s growing rapidly. They literally can have a different brain from one day to the next! Which means they will be, feel, think and act differently. Be understanding and helpful when they are forgetful or are having trouble focusing. It’s a natural behavior during this time period. If you were experiencing what they are, you wouldn’t do much better. You’d have trouble emotionally tuning into your loved ones around you, etc. Rather than criticizing them, guide them benevolently.
- Make home a safe place to make mistakes and learn. Your child is going to make mistakes. Everyone does, including you. Teaching your child mindful techniques will go a long way in establishing good habits for helping them regulate their brain and behaviors for a lifetime. It can also ease stress and improve sleep cycles. Always use appropriate consequences instead of punishment, which (the latter) only makes them feel worse about themselves and/or you.
- Honor their independence. Make it safe and ok for your teen to pull away from you, while maintaining proper balance. They can have a life with their peers, but they must also understand there is a healthy balance to have with family as well. Find peaceful, cohesive or fun ways to keep them connected, like family dinners, a family outing or family movie night.
The purpose of this transition is to set our young people free into the world and to become loving, connected adults that contribute to making their family, community and world a better place. What you teach they pollinate into the world. We want them to pollinate acceptance, cooperation, unity, kindness, compassion, joy and love. Letting them feel and experience all of these at the highest levels within the home is critical to their success and how they will operate and share the same within the world and work that they do.