How do we release our Teenagers into their True Identity without putting 'failure' all over them?
Firstly what does IDENTITY MEAN?
Psychologists most commonly use the term "identity" to describe personal identity, or the idiosyncratic things that make a person unique. Sociologists often use the term to describe social identity, or the collection of group memberships that define the individual.
Therefore each Teenager is UNIQUE. Our role as parents is to identify the unique qualities in our Teenagers, nurture them and bring them to the fore of who they are.
When our Teenagers walk in TRUTH to their identity (rather than who we want them to be) then their AUTHORITY (again unique to them) will become evident and clear.
As an example a client of mine (call him Tom for reference)- a 14 year old boy, came to see me. His parents described him as: "Struggling with severe DYSLEXIA. His writing is poor, his concentration weak and not only is he is failing miserably but he's desperately unhappy too".
In the first introduction this is how 'Tom' had been identified and therefore THIS IS WHO TOM HAD BECOME!!
After 2 sessions only I re identified 'Tom':
"A child who loves Lego and sport. Extraordinarily gifted in spatial awareness. Can see the 'bigger picture' without getting distracted by the irrelevant, mundane nuances in life. Has incredible authority in mastering problem solving and therefore has a mathematical mind and will do well in physics, as well as in subjects where teachers can visually instruct. Being an 'eagle' flying high above situations Tom will also succeed in team sports as his thinking of 'ball positioning' is advanced from that of his teammates. Finally, Tom shines with passion, energy and vitality for life when he is given RESPONSIBILITY. As a MASTER PLAYER and LEADER he comes into his own when solving problems for others."
Tom had the chance of walking around in life wearing one of two labels:
The first read as FAILURE.
The second read as SUCESS.
Now he had the choice, he could choose how he wanted to view himself REGARDLESS of how others wished to label him.
So why had his parents brought him to see me with such a negative understanding of who their child was?
Why had they not seen his true identity?
Why would they wish to label him?
All parents have the best interests of their child at heart so this would seem absurd!
I believe as a small child Tom's parents would have indeed seen those qualities in Tom. As a 2 year old and 4 year old Tom would have naturally revealed those three dimensional thinking skills. He would have displayed the qualities of 'side tracking' the irrelevant in life to focus on what he felt important. However because we as parents focus on what we think is important 'tidy your room before tea', we miss what is going on in our children's lives- 'my Lego tower is going to grow taller'.
The unspoken world of Tom was unravelling but being missed: "Tom what are you trying to achieve before tea?"
As Tom developed in age the requirements of school were then imposed on him. Society added a set of expectations which limited Tom to probably about 5% of his gifting and then as he became BORED and started to focus his attentions elsewhere he started to be labelled as DISTRACTED!
But Tom wasn't distracted at all, he was just simply ATTRACTED to something far more interesting!!!!
Society is very good at labelling most of life. What we eat is grouped into 'Food types' as opposed to what is healthy. The schools our children attend are rated into 'Deciles' ignoring the care and attention of the staff that work there. What we study is limited to 'subjects' as opposed to 'knowledge'. What we wear we do to make a statement about ourselves rather than allowing our inner person to shine.
At the same time we 'grade' our children from a young age by their ability to regurgitate irrelevant facts, rather than measuring skill. We see the ability to 'conform' as being more relevant than being unique.
As parents we worry when our children don't 'fit in' .... But we're not asking, 'What do they have to fit into?'
Tom is just a bright, intelligent, witty DELIGHTFUL Teenager. He is like any other Teenager in that he RADIATES LIFE when understood and given the chance to succeed.
Let's start to separate ourselves from the false expectations placed on our Teenagers at school. Let's turn societies 'failures' into our Teenagers 'successes' and strive always to allow this precious generation to indeed be UNIQUE.
TOOL FOR THE DAY:
Sit and write a list of all the negative comments you have made or said about your Teenager. Cross them out and replace each one with a POSITIVE.
Go and tell them what their strengths are.
Honour their weaknesses because it's in those places they learn all they need in order to be fully UNIQUE IN THEIR IDENTITY.
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