5 Strategies To Use With Your Tween/Teen by Power4Teens
Article By: Charlie Page | Power4Teen
Working as a psychotherapist for youth and being a mother of two teenage girls has shown me some startling differences in how I approach and communicate with my own children compared to other peoples children (my clients). The results from my clients and the ease and connection they feel in sharing their stories with me has led me to strengthen and use the same skills on my own kids. These strategies have improved my relationship with my children and, I believe have made me a better parent (although I’m often still reminded of my flaws).
It has become very clear to me that making an impact on children and ‘being heard’ as a psychotherapist is much easier than achieving these results as a parent, so give yourself time and be easy on yourself:
1. Listen and shut up…
You may think you are listening, you might even rejoice in your conversations with your children and how wise and impactful you are being, but are you really or do you have an agenda? My main goal as a psychotherapist is to really listen and ask the right questions to direct their thought process, to understand them and make them feel understood. The questioning helps them feel empowered and directed to make quality decisions based on who they are and the goals they set for themselves. As a parent, when our kids communicate with us we have a tendency to think about the person we want and hope they will be and advise them based on that. We try to advise and impart our wisdom by giving advice when most of the time kids want to voice their concerns and feel challenged to formulate their own decisions. They have wisdom, help them find it. Remind yourself that they aren’t you… and they most likely don’t want to be! There is absolute power and use in parental wisdom, just spread it out a little.
Try to trust in their decision making skills as much as possible to improve their belief in themselves and their capabilities. Believing that your children have the ability to make great decisions even when they have failed (sometimes often) in the past is an incredibly powerful performance enhancer for children. I often see children who have lost all hope of trying to make their parents proud and they have given up trying. These kids always have a deep need and hope for their parents to be proud and connected with them, no matter what they are telling you.
Wait ….more will come.
Our children have become conditioned to expect our analysis and opinions about the direction of their life and their problems. They will talk about an issue with a friend, school or their mental health and we are ready to impart our wisdom of what they should do, sometimes even expressing ‘if I was you I would do….’…. well guess what, we aren’t them! We give our parental advice and the conversation ends shortly afterwards. Our child continues to feel confused and frustrated because there is so much more there that we didn’t ask and they feel misunderstood. So when they talk about their issue don’t immediately try to problem solve it, just look and wait, more always comes out. You can actually become an expert on their problem with them and they will master it knowing you understood and were really there for them.
Hmmmmm….Interesting. Hmmmm…. that’s very observant. Hmmm…..keep going with the story.
Never underestimate the power of a hmmmm…….. This is way more impactful on creating successful kids with a sense of self acceptance than telling them our stories.
Wow…that’s a lot of passion!
When things between you have escalated and your kid has totally lost it, your job is to attempt to not totally lose it too. With a strong belief in the need to teach, amend and improve a child’s behaviour we need also to be mindful of how we are responding to them and how we can amend our own behaviour to get the optimum results. As adults, we still have a tendency to sometimes respond to our kids from the child we once were (sometimes I notice responding to my teen daughter with an eye-roll back!!). We respond from our past hurts, feelings of rejection or feelings of being disrespected and it rolls into a big ball of reaction. This powerful reaction can be bigger than what may be required. A mindfulness strategy I use to slow things down when they get heated is to admire the passion my child is showing. (This is not the same as accepting their behaviour when it is inappropriate, it is a flow through to creating an environment where learning and change can happen). Once you recognize the passion and express the power of its beauty when used in other directions the whole energy of the discussion changes. This passion they show is a great tool in life and although it may be coming out wrong in this situation can we comment on the usefulness and power of anger and then address the issue at hand more calmly. We do not want to discipline or quell passion as it is the driving force behind success.
Psychotherapy (Youth, Parents, Relationships)
Contact Charlie at 416 697-8748 to discuss whether psychotherapy is right for you or your child. Referrals available to psychologists or psychiatrists as required.
Stress/Anxiety, Friendships/School, Depression, Loss of Hope ,Eating Disorders, Self Harm,Parent/Child Relationship
Our Girls Teen and Tween Conditioning and Self-Defence Program is brought to you by our fitness guru Charlie Page, founder and owner of Power4Teens. This program focuses on improving the function of both the mind and body to create improved physical fitness and mental positivity. This is a workout with a difference – as you sweat, condition and build confidence, Charlie brings her experience with teen psychology to inspire, motivate, reduce stress and anxiety, help with body image issues and create personal positive affirmations to live life more fully.
Charlie Offers Programs At Kingsway Boxing Club and has become a staple for teens in Bloor West Village! Learn more about her day and overnight camps for girls, boys and even parents! Visit Power4Teens Online