Parenting is one of the most fulfilling roles we’ll assume in our lifetime. When it comes to parenting adolescences though, the very sense of satisfaction we experienced with younger children can sometimes become tattered. The way we approach these turbulent times can often set the course for the type of relationship we’ll develop with our teen from then on.
Without the daily ability to manage stress during this developmental phase events at home can go haywire. It is easy, as parents, to lose all perspective as well as hope.
Thus, I have come up with ten Mindful things parents of teenagers can do to reduce stress and restore balance during their interactions. They are based on the concepts of being in the moment, openness, focus, being non judgmental and finding balance:
- Be at your best… Your teen may be all over the map emotionally or not want to budge, but lead by example and not just words. Take a moment to relax, reflect and rejuvenate
- Be open … Your teen may carry on about something they want right now, but before you flat out say no try to put yourself in their shoes. Once you see the world from their eyes, you’ll know where to pick your battles.
- Be realistic … Your teen just isn’t following up on 10th request, but before saying it for an eleventh time, check to see if what you are expecting is, in fact, realistic given today’s circumstances.
- Be accepting … Your teen will show you over and over again that they are nothing like you, but try to accept rather than squelch their uniqueness. By doing so, you’ll be saying to your teen that “you are your own person and I can live with that”.
- Be quiet … Your teen may use the foulest of language, but you’ll get more respect when you reply from a higher place of quiet than of out-of-control yelling
- Be attentive … Your teen may be impulsive, but they still want you to be their rock. Sometimes just paying close attention to their habits can help you decide your very next interaction with them.
- Be kind … Your teen may need you even though you want them to grow up now, but sometimes putting your needs on hold in service of them can bridge a communication gap.
- Be forgiving and apologetic … Your teen deserves an apology when you mess up, or forgiveness when they do. If you do this for them, they’ll be more likely to do it for others as well as themselves.
- Be clear … Your teen may push your buttons, but avoid being docile or over controlling. They need to witness and trust your personal strength not power.
- Be resilient … Your teen brings daily drama expect it and learn to manage it by trusting your intuition and finding the gratitude as well as the balance in living.
Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
Mindful Parenting by Shelly Birger Phillips. “Awake Parent,” Helping You Relax So Your Kids Shine (Newsletter)