During sessions with teenage clients, I often notice myself breathing space.
What does that even mean?! (Yes, I know it sounds sorta “woo-woo.”)
A Different Kind of Breath Practice
As I interact with my clients, I offer a lot of wait time after asking questions. I sometimes focus on smiling softly and relaxing, allowing 10 seconds or more for my teenage client to reflect. During this time, I tune into my breath. Then, I consciously focus on sending my slow, steady, calm breath into the room, as I sit next to or face to face (this includes video chat) with my clients.
When I am calm and regulated like this, I give my clients generous, unrushed, nonjudgemental space to think and tap into their inner voice. Additionally, I offer a gentle invitation for my client to breathe with awareness and ease! This patient, agenda-free practice helps children and teens know that they can take the time they need, AND that I am there, witnessing, throughout the entire process.
Simultaneously, this simple practice allows me to stay focused on really hearing and seeing my clients. Because coaching is like a mirror, I reflect back to my client what they are expressing and help them check in with how this aligns with their deepest desires. Furthermore, I invite them to consider new possibilities for themselves. This type of presence requires intentionality, and conscious breath is the pathway in.
Explore the Power of Breath
Parents, caregivers, and supporters, I invite you to give this practice a try. Become aware of how it changes your own mood and energy as you face challenges in your own life. Then, notice how your breath can change, impact, and support the environment you facilitate with and for the children and teens in your life. Breath can be a powerful tool for talking to teenagers about the tough stuff!
Get started with these Quick Connection Tips:
- Spend a few minutes each day just observing your breath. You may try counting the length of your inhales and exhales or focusing on the sensation of your nostrils. Feel free to explore additional practices online! The goal is simply to get acquainted with your breath.
- Give yourself permission to just listen. You don’t have to have a response or answer because your teen may just need to be heard.
- Only open a “serious” conversation when you and your teen have plenty of time. Avoid rushing important connections; it’s difficult to breathe with intention when we’re rushed.
- If your teen brings up a topic that catches you off guard, remember that you don’t need to have a response or answer right away. Stay patient with yourself and your teen, and know that it’s okay to express, “I’m not sure how to respond to this,” or “I have never thought of this before,” and/or, “I’d like to get back to you after I have some time to think.”
- While offering space, give your mind a job. Try to focus on a soft, welcoming smile or count the moments of silence without judgment. If your teen’s love language is physical touch, you might put a hand on their shoulder and send them love. Our minds like to be busy and they may default to problem-solving. Thus, it’s important to give yourself a job that helps you slow down and stay present with your teen.
- Invite your teen to breathe with you. If you notice stress or tension in your teen’s body, you might offer, “Let’s take three deep breaths together.” Your teen might, however, want to do this in their own way. With this invitation, you help your teen become more aware of their body-mind connection, which is a massive skill for life.
- When it becomes tough to breathe or stay calm, take breaks. If either you or your teen is overstressed or exhausted and offering your breath has not yet worked, push pause for now.
Stay in Touch
If you and your tween, teen, or young adult are looking for support as you build connection, let’s chat! If you’d like to go deeper into positive parenting practices, I’m here for you.