In this midst of all of the worthwhile work you are doing together, it is crucial that you and your teen are also making space for the lighter things in life. In my work with parents, I use a three-pronged focus on self-care, communication, and child-centered action. Each of these elements deserves, in fact, depends on, joy… YOU and your teenager deserve to have fun and to play.
I hear from so many teens that they not sure how to ask for help, uncertain how their parents or loved ones will respond, and that big or heavy feelings aren't welcome in many spaces they occupy.
Teenagers, especially, need structure to thrive. From developing a healthy relationship with their technology and social media, to getting enough sleep (they need 9 hours on average!), to developing strong study skills or applying to college, to practicing self-care and playing, to building a social life, they have a lot to manage!
In any decision-making opportunity, your teen has much to consider. They are simultaneously considering their own ideas, beliefs about what peers expect from them, thoughts about family norms, and images from media.
It’s critical for teen and young adult patients to grow in their capacity to advocate for themselves and work towards handling their healthcare independently.
I've learned that when I take the time to identify what I need and share it with my spouse, for example, our presence and connection are enhanced.
Emotions and feelings that you’ve never experienced before can overwhelm you. That’s okay. Let them run their course. Feel your feels. But on the other side, there is always going to be a way to get the help you need.
The fourth agreement is an invitation to keep going and keep growing. Each of the previous agreements requires significant awareness, effort, and unlearning of old patterns, and the fourth agreement, the commitment to doing our best, is the glue that helps us stick to these new beliefs.
The first agreement invites us to speak with love and kindness to and about ourselves and others; in other words, we are called to align our words with the ultimate truth-- love.
If you want to share your story and don’t know where to begin, all you have to do is start writing.