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.
As a parent, you are doing difficult work all day, every day. Self-compassion can be a pathway to deeper connections with ourselves and one another.
When you and your child or teen reach agreements TOGETHER, the buy-in is stronger. They are more likely to follow through with genuine interest and commitment.
There are self-care practices we engage in regularly to help keep our cups full, AND there will be times of intense stress, in which we need specific and sometimes more substantial self-care.
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!
When I removed alcohol I was able to see what I needed to heal internally and externally, within myself, and my family. I realized I wasn’t the problem, alcohol was.
Now’s the time to help teens navigate questions of value and support them in understanding the importance of organization.
Parents reach out and ask, “How can we experience fewer nights of overwhelm and freak out over homework?!” And “How much should I be helping them?!”
When (not if) you make a “mistake,” you have an “opportunity to repair” the connection with your teenager.