Yesterday the news struck. Another school shooting. I can’t handle it. I don’t know how to help my daughter when we hear about one. She is starting high school in the fall, and I don’t know if I can handle four more years of this fear. Help!
There are few events that strike fear in our hearts, our homes, and our communities like the senseless act of a school shooting. With images and snippets flashed on television and streamed over social media, it is natural to feel fearful about the safety of your child and their school. Beyond limiting exposure to media, it’s critical to know exactly what to do when tragedy strikes so you can support your teen and yourself.
[Continued from Part I. This is Part 2 in a 3-part series)
In part one of this series, we discussed that it is imperative for adults to do three things when speaking with teens:
(1) Know that listening is an investment.
(2) Be willing + open to listen
(3) Pay attention to what they are saying AND doing.
I want to pause on that last point.
You must LISTEN to what they are doing.
Say wha? You must listen to what they aren’t saying, and you do that by paying attention to what they are doing, aka tuning into the non-verbal cues. Often an invitation to connect with your child doesn’t come with words, it comes through their actions and behavior, their body language and their facial expressions. Let’s break this down.
Actions and Behaviors: It isn’t what your teen says that always makes the impression; it’s what he does. Withdrawing, slamming doors, rolling eyes are all specific ways to send you a...
Today’s question is definitely one that hits close to home.
The question comes from Tracey, a mom of two: a 20-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son. And she said:
“I feel like all my son does is sit around and do nothing after-school and on the weekends. I keep telling him that he needs to find an activity or a cause. If he doesn’t, I’m going to choose one for him. Is that okay, or should I just wait until he chooses his own interests?”
I’ve had many parents ask me this, and it’s a great question.
The short answer is yes and yes. Yes, you need to give him some space. And, yes, after you give him some space, you can give him some ideas.
For both parents and kids, there’s so much pressure. As parents, we want to create this perfect childhood experience for our little ones. And as kids, they want to please, especially us. It doesn’t matter if you’re 80, 45, or 14 — that pressure’s...
Do you remember when you were younger and thought anything was possible? Perhaps Superman was your hero, and you were convinced that draping a towel over your shoulders and jumping off the sofa made you just like him. Or maybe you loved Dorothy Hamill (yes, I’m dating myself now) and promptly got a cute haircut and skated around your house with your shoebox-inspired carpet skates. Do you remember when the possibilities in life were limitless?
Do you also remember when you convinced yourself that nothing was possible? Perhaps your parents said there was no way you could ever fly (breaking your wrist didn't help the case, did it?), or your best friend laughed at your now-not-so-trendy haircut. Whatever the case, mountains may have seemed too high to scale, and confidence no longer fueled your youthful naïveté. Those feelings impacted your choices, and they are impacting your child's, too.
You see, today's youth have those same feelings of power and powerlessness....
Starting today with a big ol' parenting teens truth bomb.
(this will be a bit rambling but here goes...)
Parenting teens is hard, and, then it’s easy. Then, it will be hard again. Then, it will be confusing. Really confusing before it becomes scary, exciting, frustrating, funny, weird, and wild. It will be sticky and shiny and dirty and colorful and lonely and social. Parenting teens is life. Your life and your teens.
Stop looking for the “right” way and choose the way that works for you and your family. Parenting is not about being the best parent or having the best child. It’s about being the best parent for your kids. It’s about being the best you for you. Being what is best for your teen means letting go … of control, of guilt, of excuses, of perfection to parent the teen you have right now - not the perfect one seen on TV or online. You can aim for perfection every time but you will always end up human. Be human.