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!
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 time to give your intentions even greater value by aligning your actions with it. The anticipation of the new year is a perfect time to focus inward and offer yourself some extra self-care.
Are we expecting our day to go exactly as we planned it in our daydream? Are we holding so tight that we are missing out on opportunities to build relationship with our loved ones?
As young people navigate this impressionable time, it’s important that parents provide both support and boundaries. This is not to suggest micro-management, rather, it’s an invitation to help your teen understand where their own limits are.