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Three Tools to Heal your Teen!

Does your Teen struggle with weight issues?

Are you concerned that your Teen is being overly rebellious?

Are you suffering from emotional outbursts or anger from a teen in the house?

Weight issues, rebellion and emotional outbursts/anger are never the problem. Like all other negative manifesting behaviour they are merely the visible sign that something is wrong. There is a problem that is affecting your Teenager and it is time to take note that it needs addressing and resolving.

Weight issues, when there are no underlying medical problems, are usually linked with emotions and feelings. Those emotions and feelings speak of unworthiness, rejection, loneliness, fear, isolation, boredom etc.

Rebellion is usually linked to a teen being over controlled, dominated, or having an overly anxious or controlling parent, teacher, leader, or older sibling.

Emotional and anger outbursts usually relate to 'not being heard', or being misunderstood. The reaction of frustration leads to either the teen shutting down, being silenced, or revealing what they feel.

These three manifestations of an underlying issue are similar to anxiety (based on fear), suicidal ideation (hopelessness/terror/fear etc), self-harm (not having a voice, seal-hatred etc), and so on.

The problem with parenting is addressing the behaviour rather than the root. Addressing the behaviour only serves to leave the root still in place, which means later on another symptom will appear. Dealing with the underlying operating platform properly eradicates all symptoms. In essence, the anxiety, eating disorder, self-harm, anger, rage etc will go once the root is healed.

So how can we as parents address the underlying issue?

1. The first critical tool is to Identify the root cause of the manifesting behaviour. Stop and ask yourself 'What is the underlying issue here? It might be arguing parents in the house, or parents spending too little quality time with teens, or over controlling what they do and when they do it. Take some time to find the pattern ie when does the behaviour occur (when dad goes away on business, when there is a row in the house, when the teen is prevented from going out). When did it start - ie when a sibling was born (and rejection or abandonment settled in), or when the bullying at school escalated.

2. Treat the underlying root. Hold open conversations with your teen. Listen to their needs. HEAR what they have to say. Address the bigger issues and leave the smaller ones so that they feel a sense of control. Re affirm who they are. Seek professional support/therapy/healing for your teen to address the root if you feel it is too big for you to deal with yourself.

3. Finally put into place strategies that heal the wound. If the root is rejection, show your teen that they mean as much as your new boyfriend/girlfriend. Make quality time and take them out on their own without siblings. Discuss new freedom that they will have if they reveal responsibility and reliability. Apologise for being over-controlling or confrontational. Address the bullying, remove the pressure, work together on strategies, understand the fear etc.

Lastly, LOVE is the critical tool that needs to be consistent, unconditional and verbalised. Hold open conversations, honour who they are, praise them and soon you will begin to see small changes to their self-esteem and confidence and your teen will be happier in their own skin. Remember you are the parent not your child's 'best friend' and so take back your parenting so that your teen feels safe, stable and secure at home when the world outside feels less safe!

Sue O'Callaghan

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