There is no doubt that parenting Teenagers is tough!
Outside of the usual life adversity and conflict, THREE aspects of the Teenage years are responsible for making this season particularly challenging and tough:
The change in a Teenager's hormone levels.
Their search for separation, identity, and independence - required to become healthy, autonomous adults.
Unresolved pain, suffering and trauma from adverse childhood experiences (ACE's) or a threatening life event.
These are responsible for your teenager developing THOUGHTS and FEELINGS of overwhelm, helplessness, disempowerment, anger, defeat, struggle, rejection, low self-esteem, fear, hurt and loss. These translate into BEHAVIOUR and COPING MECHANISMS
COPING MECHANISMS help us survive!
However, without adequate support, the coping mechanisms that teenagers adopt during the adolescent years are often maladaptive, rather than adaptive. That means in the absence of healthy coping mechanisms (such as honest communication), teenagers often opt for coping strategies which increase stress and anxiety.
Examples might include avoidance, blame, self-harm, addiction, eating disorders, substance abuse etc.
This results in struggle for your teenager /twenties child - and also a challenging and confronting time for YOU!
The good news is that in the same way as a building only survives on solid foundations, parents and carers can provide a secure and safe operating platform from which a teenager can navigate through this chapter of their lives to ensure they not only survive but also learn resilience and lead happy, fulfilled lives.
That platform requires THREE things:
1. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE is about separating the behaviour from the teenager: LOVE the teenager and address the behaviour separately. NEVER STOP THE LOVE!
2. SAFETY is about making sure a teenager is protected and secure emotionally, physically, relationally, psychologically and spiritually. It is about implementing healthy boundaries, developing self-love, understanding coping mechanisms, learning resilience, discovering healing, accepting responsibility, accountability and ownership, having healthy relationships and becoming an autonomous human being.
3. COMMUNICATION is about understanding and expressing needs, values and desires. Discussing feelings and emotions, role modelling change, finding solutions and resolutions, and having consistent, honest and healthy conversations about the tough stuff in life including healthy boundaries.
Connect with me and I will empower you with strategies I have used with hundreds of teenagers in boarding schools, prisons, and one-on-one sessions, to transform not only your teenager's life - but YOURS TOO!
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