Don’t you just love it when someone tells you how to raise your children?
Well then, this should really rattle you then 🙂
oh oh, did you cringe?
It is a great time of life, you know everything that there is to know by then, your body is doing interesting things… Experimenting and testing seems to be the thing to try, push some limits even. Hormones need to be explored…
Parents too, by then you know how difficult they are to raise.
You love them, but they keep talking to you… I mean why?
Teen angst – everything sucks, everyone hates them and their life is so unfair. Depression, anger, a time when hormones run rampant.
When a young adult becomes overwhelmed
When depression becomes dangerous.
I will come back to that.
This is the time of exploring, suddenly you have a new body, seems others do as well.
How do you stay connected to your teenager?
This is the time when they need to be able to make their own decisions, and they will make some bad ones, I am sure you did. Oh yes you can tell them, don’t do this, I did it and look what happened….
Learning from the experience of others, comes later in life. In your teens, you have to try it yourself. To see if the candle really will burn your fingers. Teens need freedom to sort out who they are, to establish their identity, to make their own mistakes and learn from them, this strengthens them. But you need to be there when they fail. Such a hard line to set, when do you step in, when don’t you.
If you show trust, it goes a long way. Empathy. listen. You can tell them anything, but they are not truly absorbing what you are saying. They need to problem solve on their own. Advise, but let them make the decisions. Even when you know they are wrong.
because then they will come back with the big questions, the big problems, because they trust you.
Now, here is the hard part, when your teen wants to talk.. listen. Turn off your favorite show. yes you were about to go to bed… don’t.. don’t say can we talk about this in the morning. When something pops in their head, that is the time to talk about it. to listen. But listen, don’t pry, it will come out. When you demand to know… the lips suddenly are glued shut.
When they know you will listen to them, no matter what you are doing, they will come to you with the bigger things. When your golf game is more important… they will really feel that the tiny white ball is more valued than they are. You may not get a second chance. You need to learn not to fly off the handle, not to be judgmental.
Here are the easy things,
To have more time with them, encourage their friends to spend time at your house, make them welcome, snacks, privacy. Treat their friends more as equals. Friends even.
You want to spend more time with them, but it becomes harder. Devising clever methods to do so will be a task. That door slam, as they run to their room with the … I hate you… shouted out. It hurts, but it is not meant. Shouting back is so wrong, as much as you feel the urge to do so. Take a breath, let it go for now.
Oh but, I am not saying to allow them to run over you. When they calm down, quiet talks, mutual respect. If you don’t talk to them that way, they may not talk that way to you. Think on that.
When calm, establish rules, no shouting (it will be broken) but by either of you. Never ever ever go to bed angry with each other. Sort things out.
So, from what I have pointed out, treating them more like equals, allowing more freedom. but, setting boundaries too. Times to either be home, or to call to say what is going on, mutual respect, you would do the same. Not yelling at each other, neither likes it. Agree to disagree sometimes. Meet in the middle often. Close your eyes and put yourself in their shoes, listen to what you just said, and what they want. Ask them to do the same.
Life becomes busy, relationships become taken for granted. We miss things. Tis good to set aside a regular time for interaction. Something you both enjoy, a walk, bike ride, trip to a donut shop… or a combo of any of those things, but at a regular time, this is a family time. Often this is a time your teen may talk to you. Now, not every time you have this outing, but it sets up the opportunity for talks, when they feel the need.
so why all of this?
Why tell you how to raise your child.. how could I know?
hmmm I am not really telling you how, the above is good advice, I am sure you practice most of it.
Keeping communication open is so important. So they can talk to you when things don’t feel right.
When there are thoughts in their head, that scare them.
When worry is … more than worry.
See, I have seen, often, “oh that is just teen angst.. .hormones, you will grow out of it. buck up, smile more. try harder, do more….”
but often it is not just teen angst.
often it is a teen struggling with some dark thoughts, or uncontrollable worry. Anxiety or depression. Or a mind that is tormented.
Those dark thoughts can lead to dark actions. Actions with no take backs. No do overs.
In a house full of people, often the signs are not seen, they don’t want to burden you with their torments, they hide it very well. But, maybe there are signs you are missing.
A list. 🙂
- very quiet
- spends a lot of time alone in their room
- when was the last time you saw their arms or legs?
- socially withdrawn
- grades dropping
- memory problems
- moods swing
- sleeping too much
- self esteem is low
- discontinuation of favorite things
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- body image concerns
- cries often or over reacts
- obsessions, washing more, doing things in order, or very often
Now.. some of these things too, are often somewhat normal behaviour, I mean anger is not a strange thing, but not always, they can be signs.
If you decide to ask, to talk to your teenager. That needs to be done with care. If they are hiding something, asking is not likely to get an answer, more like a I am fine response. Leave the door open if the response is I am fine.. let them know you are there for them if something is tormenting them.
Sometimes “teen angst” is something else, something much deeper. Don’t dismiss it.