PARENTING IS TOUGH!
How often do you get to the stage with your teen that you want to give up?
What do you do when life throws at you obstacles that trigger your parenting inadequacy, fear or overwhelm?
In the past few weeks, I have met with parents who have wanted to give up. Parents who have been trying to raise teens who have challenged them stretched them and pushed every conceivable button that could break them.
Whether it be drugs, anger issues, rebellion, defiance, or suicidal ideation I have had parents sit in front of me and break. Mums, dads, single parents - you name it - I have heard it all. But in fact, I had already heard it all. I had raised teenagers in boarding schools around the world for many years and there was nothing that I hadn't seen.
I've even raised four teens of my own (yes 4 teens ALL AT THE SAME TIME!) and single parented for 18 years.
I GET PARENTING IS TOUGH!
I get that children and teens can take you out of your own comfort zone and even take you to places you never thought you could go. Places where you saw behaviour in you that you've never yet seen. Places where you are left on the outside looking in at a 'you' that you're appalled to see. Places that leave you realising 'yes it's all my fault - I've f***ed up'. Places where you feel like walking away saying 'I've lost!'
I believe in three sessions with parents I can change lives around.
I mean what I say!
I see parents who come to me as a last resort. Invariably they have seen psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and mental health services and they say nothing has worked. And it hasn't - or they wouldn't be knocking on my door!
So what works?
What empowers parents to make a few changes only - and witness their teen turn their life around?
I challenge the parents I see with two strategies only.
In session 1 I give them the strategies.
They are simple and yet they create rapid change.
They disempower the games their teenagers play, they remove the buttons that they are able to push, they leave their teenager so confused as to why home life has changed that suddenly they want to talk. They want to rationalise what is going on. They ask for help. They want to get help!
In 2008 I started work in UK prisons. They were maximum-security prisons. They were tough environments to be in. If you weren't tough you didn't survive. To survive you had to think so quickly on your feet that you had to be one step ahead ALWAYS than the quickest thinker in the room. You needed an answer to everything. You needed quick strategies that worked. You needed resolutions that would throw your client off the scent and disempower the games they played to manipulate you, control you or catch you out! You needed to win. In prison, you couldn't afford to lose!
Working with teenagers is often no different. You need to be ahead in the game not behind. Once you are behind you've lost every battle. When you've lost - you are left wounded (yes hurt!). You're left disempowered, helpless, powerless and then at a complete loss as to know what to do.
At that stage, your teenagers rule the house and you are no longer parenting.
Our new ebook '10 Top Tips for Winning when Parenting Teens' is about to come out. To receive it immediately upon release, make sure you have subscribed to our newsletter on www.impact-mentalhealth.com and receive email updates as to how to get hold of a copy.
If you would like to book a parenting session pm us and we will get back to you. We hold one hour sessions one-on-one in Auckland, or around the world via a zoom call.
Meanwhile, have a great weekend and remember nothing is ever too late and no situation is ever beyond hope!