I wrote this article almost ten years ago when we were in the midst of raising our two teenaged sons. The information here really helped me manage better. My own experience of being a teenager was one of the hardest parts of my life. I was bullied and didn't fit in anywhere. I hope this helps you understand, empathize and coach your children through these turbulent years.
“As a society, we both fear adolescents and fear for them. We fear their rashness, their rudeness, and their rawness; and we fear for their safety, their future, and their lives.
Rae Simpson, Ph.D.
Harvard Project on the Parenting of Adolescents
~ ~ ~
For all those who’ve experienced it, there is no doubt parenting can be
one of the most challenging life roles ever tackled. Relationships with
partners, extended family, friends, employees and co-workers can sometimes pale
in comparison to the task of raising our teens; a task that easily brings up
some of the strongest emotional responses ever. Adding to this complexity is
the sense of losing control of our influence over our kids while
dealing with the increasing pressure from peers, media, the educational system,
Adolescence has traditionally been described as the separating of
children from parents and other caregivers yet it is now more widely seen as a
renegotiation of the adult/teen relationship to achieve a new balance and
understanding. Truly, we have done this with our children throughout their
growing years as they have gained independence on many levels. Teens
themselves report that they neither need nor want their relationship with their
parents to become more distant, but rather to become different, honouring and
accommodating their new capabilities and responsibilities.
Harvard’s Project on Parenting of Adolescents* highlights ten tasks of
adolescents and the five basics for parenting them.
Adolescents’ tasks include:
· conflict resolution;
· understanding and expressing more complex emotional experiences;
· shifting friendships from interest-based to value-based;
· establishing key aspects of their identity, and;
· renegotiating relationships with adults.
According to the research, to successfully negotiate this changing reality, parents are required to:
· monitor activities;
· show respect and appreciation;
· acknowledge good times;
· expect an increase in criticism and debate;
· provide meaningful roles;
· spend time together, and;
· continue to model the behaviors they want to instill.
If this weren’t challenging enough, we must also strive to avoid our default mechanisms; that burning desire to tell our teens what’s right, best, easiest or safest and instead, to let them find their own way. We must find the strength to listen, talk and allow our kids to make the mistakes they will learn from. Often their mistakes are ones we made, learned from and want to help our child avoid.
While some of these changes can be exciting and rewarding, raising teens
can also be a time of significant stress for parents. We need to strengthen our
skills, such as handling criticism and anger, negotiating, problem solving,
listening, conflict resolution, adapting to change and delegating
If we are able to know our roles and navigate the terrain successfully,
we will provide conditions for our teens to grow.
Because it brings profound change, adolescence is a time not only of
risk, but also of opportunity. Its very plasticity offers us ways to mend the
past as individuals, as families and as a society.
* Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research on a
Foundation for Action
Lately, when people ask me what I do I have been catching myself saying I am kind of, sort of…semi-retired?
How did THAT happen? A few months ago, I would have said “I am a part-time entrepreneur” yet now, it seems more fitting to say “semi-retired”. Is it an age thing? Can it be because being a grandmother is a big priority (we have grandbaby number two on the way next year) ?
Although, it could be a myriad of things like my new penchant for bird watching & napping. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone seems like such a ‘nice young person’ to me, or that my hubby just hit the big SIX-OH !
I guess it doesn't really matter. As much as I feel that I am softening in some ways, I am still never going to be your typical granny!
This grandma has tons of energy to run, jump and pump out some silly Zumba moves for our two-year-old granddaughter. She is an extrovert that loves the stage, a crowd and beautiful people. She models positive energy, self-love and healthy living (she tries) . She is FAR from perfet. She even may over indulge in wine (NOTE: not while caring for said grandchild), the odd curse word may surface and well… gas can be an issue (although provides giggles).
Life isn’t what we expect but it is brilliant and grand if we allow ourselves to colour outside of the lines!
My hope is that you are out there being the best imperfect version of you!
I'm being as still as I am comfortable with...
I don't meditate. I wake up every morning and go straight to "doing". Working on my multiple business projects, doing chores, spending time with my family, exercising, socializing with friends and whatever else comes up.
This last few months I have learned that when life throws a big change at me, I tend to feel like I need to continue to push through as if nothing has changed. That really doesn't work.
It was difficult to make the decision to step back from Positive Coach. This has been something I have worked very hard at for a long time; this is my "baby" per-say. However I could feel my energy around this change. I felt like I was wearing lead shoes trying to tread through my task lists. I know well enough that I will not get anywhere in that state. I also know that I won't serve you, my clients and followers in the best way I can.
So I have stepped back, at bit. (for now)
I am still posting daily in #GratefulMoments as gratitude is something I need to practice and share, one way or another!
I have kept my commitment to the Positive Panel Rogers TV Show team and have enjoyed continuing down that path (stay tuned for more news there).
I have enjoyed my new venture with being the moHost of momondays Barrie ! It serves my need to support others in their goals (speakers) and bring together our community in the most positive way.
In between this I have enjoyed just "being" and choosing to sit over a long coffee with my husband, accept invitations to new social activities, be more available to our family and most importantly, begin to take care of me. This week I have finally felt motivated to begin eating healthier and moving more, something that has caused me to gain weight and feel lethargic. I already feel more energetic!
I truly appreciate you hanging in here as I sort through this and try to continue to bring you some value along the way!
Is there an area in your life that you feel you are wearing "lead shoes" around? Can it be that you need to step back and be still for a bit?
I thought I made it through Mother's Day this time!
Until I saw a beautiful video that a dear friend of mine posted. It is a beautiful tribute to her as a mother and as a daughter. As I watched her elderly mother talk about how proud she was of her daughter for becoming a wonderful adult and mother herself, well, I lost it.
Grief is such a thief!
I was having an absolutely beautiful Mother's Day/Birthday weekend where I got to spend time with my own children, their beautiful wives, my dear husband and our precious granddaughter. Nothing means more to me than to spend time with them. It just doesn't get any better than this and nobody is more grateful than I am to have created what feels like a very privileged, charmed life.
My own post for the day was focused on my own mother (see above photo) with the following words:
"Because of you I live with joy, I embrace all opportunities, I love fiercely, I demand respect and I treasure my health. In only 22 years you gave me lessons I have carried with me my whole life. Happy Mother's Day Mommy. #GratefulMoments "
My post was created to be mindful of those of you out there that struggle with this holiday, maybe you are also motherless, have a difficult/toxic relationship with your mother, lost a child or never had children yourself. I intended to show that we can find peace in gratitude, even around our pain.
But, I was reminded once again that she died too early and I never got to be an "adult" with her.
He would be turning 16 today...
it! I am so angry. He was healthy, spunky and our very, very best friend. Just
because we didn't see those coyotes lurking in the bush, he is gone. We should
have been more diligent. How could we? He never asked for much from us and
deserved everything. Especially our protection and care. We will never forgive
This last three months has been a much bigger evolution for me personally than I ever would have thought. All due to losing our sweet Max. You see, for the first time in over 30 years, I don't have anyone I am directly responsible for.
And here comes the guilt barreling in again. You see, I am learning to enjoy this new-found freedom. I can go out for more than 3-4 hours at a time without rushing home to let him out. I can finally hop on a plane with my hubby and go to work with him without worry. How could I be enjoying this in any way?
Over the past three months the grief is ebbing, replacing itself with loneliness. The guilt will take longer; I’m working at watering it down with as much grace and self-love as I can muster.
Our very first “Valentine’s Day” as a dating couple was in 1982. I was very young and madly in love. I can’t remember the card but I assume it was sweet, all I remember is the gift. A car part, he bought me a new horn for the used car I had just purchased.
Now, can you imagine my face? I honestly can’t remember what I said but I do remember feeling disappointed. A car part? Really? Somehow I managed to see a bit of humour in this as a cute, endearing fumble on his part.
I didn't get the lesson here for a long while, however, this ended up to be a great learning opportunity within our budding relationship.
This is where I learned that he was not only practical and handy, but that he wanted to take care of me.
If I had immediately seen the intention behind this in that moment and that this was a peek into the most amazing, caring future husband I could ask for, I would have jumped for joy at this seemingly un-romantic gift.
I am tearing up writing this.
Can you see how easily this could have gone bad and created a disconnect, resentment and even ended the new relationship before it started?
There are three, learnable skills that came into play here that I didn’t even know I had:
These three factors are key pieces to managing, maintaining and growing any relationship, romantic, family or even work related.
We all have the same basic needs within our relationships. We want to feel heard and appreciated. Sadly, we are not always speaking the same language which leads to misunderstanding and disconnection.
Would you like to remove misunderstanding and deepen your connection within your most important relationships?
Join me LIVE on Sunday, Febraury 26th for a powerful, insightful workshop. REGISTRATION INFORMATION HERE
Are the events around the
world causing you to feel anxious, fearful or distressed?
It is virtually impossible to
avoid the onslaught of negative news and opinions these days. At every turn, we
are being bombarded with people waving it in our faces, you know, just in case
we managed to miss it!
We are entering into a vicious
cycle of news, opinion, blame and reaction. One event can now become a cascade
of hatred and violence. There are moments that I feel scared for us all.
So, what can you do? What is
possible in the moments when you begin to feel more and more helpless? I
certainly have the urge on some mornings to just crawl back under the covers and
hope it all goes away.
You really have only one card to play when you are dealing with any sort of adversity within your life and that is the reaction you choose.
I have wrapped three coping skills into a nice little morning routine that works really well in preparing for the day and then managing through it.
I love helping my clients achieve their desires and dreams. Most of them come to me looking to create some form of change within their lives. Their wants are varied from better health and relationships, more success in business, reducing anxiety and stress right down to managing grief and loneliness.
There is a structure that I encourage my clients to follow as they move towards their goals and dreams. I have spent the month of January sharing some of my strategies for creating and sustaining momentum towards your individual goals.
STEP 1: EXCHANGE “SHOULD” FOR “WANT”
In my first post this year, “ Loading 2017… ” I discussed the difference between “want” and “should”. Much of what I train and coach is around the energy we create within our lives and how that impacts both our current wellbeing and what we ultimately attract into our future. This is something we work through as a client/coach team by really digging down and finding the heart of what we truly are looking for. Sometimes what you think you want and what you really do want are not quite the same.
STEP 2: TAKE THE EASY ROAD
Keeping in mind that life is busy for most of you, I want to make this journey one that is easy, fun, joyful and successful. I do this by helping you find “ The Path of Least Resistance ” in breaking down the process into chunks that work for you and you alone. I know that what works for one client can stop another in their tracks.
STEP 3: FAILURE IS YOUR FRIEND
When we get digging around your past, we cannot avoid coming upon the boulders of failure and regret that are blocking your path. I think what inspires me most is when you begin to pivot your perspective around these failures to look at them as stepping stones rather than boulders. Stepping stones towards wisdom. Read more about this in last weeks post: Scrap Your Resolutions .
of January is considered “ Ditch Your
” as statistically this is when most of us give up the
struggle and go back to old habits. There are many reasons why this happens as
I have mentioned in my last two blog posts ( Loading 2017
& The Path of Least Resistance
No matter how well we plan our goals, the reality is that we will have a lot of opportunity to fail along the way. Therefore, if failing is part of the truth around striving to create change and bring our desires into our lives would it make sense that we need to learn how to do it?
“The path of least resistance is the physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion by a given object or entity, among a set of alternative paths. The concept is often used to describe why an object or entity takes a given path. The way water flows is often given as an example of the idea.” (Wikipedia)
I never make resolutions; at least I don’t make them out loud. I believe most of us secretly have hopes, dreams and goals that we want to bring into our lives each New Year. For many years I felt if I didn’t write them down or speak them then it wouldn’t feel like failure on December 31st. Yet, in my heart I always hoped on Jan. 1 that something would be magically different just because the calendar changed.
I believe one the main reasons we don't state our resolutions on January 1st is that we, along with the
majority, generally give up on our resolutions before the end of January. The fact is, only 6% of us succeed!
What? Is that
the positive coach being a “Debbie Downer”? In a way, yes! I am not here to
build you up towards something that won’t work for you. In order to create a
positive perspective in life we need to be realistic as well. When we
choose to look at reality, we can make goals that are more believable and viable to
So what are
you hoping for? What do you feel you SHOULD change this year? Hmmm…or is it,
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE THIS YEAR? The vibe between WANT and SHOULD is very
different isn’t it?
resolutions come from what we feel we “should” do such as lose weight, get
organized, spend less or wake up earlier.
defined as: “to indicate obligation or duty, typically when criticizing
defined as: “a desire for something.” This comes from within you. It’s a desire
to have something that will make you feel better, happier or more accomplished.
Want is about
choice, should is more about shame. Feel the difference?
So, WHAT DO
YOU REALLY WANT for yourself? How do you want to feel?
you choose to lose weight, how would that feel for you? Would you feel more
energetic, more confident, sexier or just healthier?
is the goal to lose weight or is it to feel ________? Close your eyes and
imagine how it would feel to be more energetic in your daily routine. What
would be different?
you have a goal to get more organized how would that feel? Less stress, more
time or higher efficiency and few mistakes? Again, imagine how it would feel to
be “on top” of things. What would that look like?
to spend less money? How would it feel to stay within a budget each month or
have savings at the end of the year? Oh that would be so exciting! What would
you save up for that would feel great once you have it? A comfortable
retirement? A vacation?
about getting up earlier? Will that feel good or do you feel you should just
because other people do it? What will you gain by making that change? Less
chaos in the morning routine, or more time to have a second cup of coffee? Hmmm…that
might feel pretty good!
Tap into how you want to feel and then make your goals based on that. I will be touching on more specifics around goal setting next week. For now, play with the idea of how it would feel on December 31st to have achieve one of your goals.