Guest Blogger: Lynne Oliver, LCSW Crossroads Programs for Women
I read somewhere that there is a delicate dance between parents and their emerging teens. Goody, goody gumdrops for that writer! My husband and I raised eight of them and our “delicate dance: was more like dancing in a minefield. We certainly were not “Dancing with the Stars” in our home. We were in a minefield and there were bombs exploding all around us. Sometimes we were throwing grenades as well. Although we were dancing as fast as we could, we were often running on empty.
For me, the first order of business was to clean up my own habits. Many of us have suitcases of guilt, bulging with unfinished business and rotten behaviors. For some reason we carry them around and even unpack them at times. How goofy is that? We sure can’t navigate through a minefield hauling that big bag of clunky junk around.
So what can we do?
Well, I live in Realville, so I chose to put my super hero cape away and join the race- the human race- and develop some survival skills. I also had to accept that I will never do the right thing all the time, but I will show up and love my child wherever they are at that moment. There is no magic formula and there is only one way out – through the minefield. . Parents need to redeem the time with their teens because life has no pause button. “Despite some adults’ negative perceptions about teens, they are often energetic, thoughtful, and idealistic, with a deep interest in what’s fair and right. So although it can be a period of conflict between parent and child, the teen years are also a time to help them grow into the distinct individuals they will become.” (unknown)
Anger is normal and universal. It is at epic proportions in our country. Parents must confront it wisely and carefully. We don’t want our child’s anger to detonate, wounding her and others. We don’t want it delayed so that it strikes in the form of many explosions later and perhaps damages the child permanently. Instead we want to defuse the anger as it comes along carefully and gently. Growth is a process. Immature people express anger unpleasantly. (We need to make sure we aren’t the immature ones.)
Because we love our child, we want him to become a young adult of maturity, confidence and integrity. We are willing to pay whatever price is necessary to attain that goal. We may not be able to control the outside world, but we can change the inside world of your home. We must be intentional in creating an oasis at home where anyone is welcome anytime.
We all have a heritage and we all pass down a legacy to our children. We want to pass down a positive spiritual, emotional and social legacy. Separately, each strand of this cord cannot hold much weight, but when wrapped together they are strong. Parents need to evaluate what we are doing now that either contributes to or detracts from building that legacy. If I want my children to remember me as a constant safe place in their lives, I must make the conscious choice to be a safe place for them on a daily basis. If I’m too busy to calm their Big Feelings or listen to their hopes and dreams, then I am too busy.
At the root of much teenage misbehavior is an empty love tank. Parents need to keep their teens’ emotional tanks filled. Love is our greatest ally. If parents are running on empty, they need to fill their tanks first. For me that means doing some things that bring me joy and contentment .Everyone has her own pockets of joy. Often, the best place to start is with breathing. Breathe in, breathe out, and breathe often. If you have a teen, you appreciate what I am saying. If not, let me try to help you understand. 1) Your beautiful talented daughter nervously stands in the kitchen with tears in her eyes. When you ask her what is wrong, she announces she is pregnant. Breathe. 2) The high school principal phones and tells you that your son has been arrested for illegal drugs. Breathe.
Laugh. Try to find something to laugh about. Laughter is free and, like breathing, anyone can do it. You don’t need any special equipment and you can even do it sitting down. I don’t suggest laughing hysterically in the Walmart parking lot to fill your tank. This could make people parked near you a bit nervous. (Don’t ask how I know, but I know) Pick your time and place.
Our family values are the compass that guides our teens. They are yearning for boundaries and good directions. Unconditional love gives the teen a soft place to land when she falls. When we love one another, we find hope. I don’t have a magic wand, but I have learned that communicating unconditional love to our teens is a fine place to start. An acronym for Love is “Living our values everyday”.
My journey has taught me that some things just don’t matter. Blue hair, messy room, loud music- a few of the “don’t matters”. Pick your battles wisely. Finally, remember the Parent of Teen motto, “We’re going through this together, and we’ll come out of it- together.”
Lynne Oliver, MSW, LCSW, describes herself as a not so perfect (NSP) Mother to 8 NSP kids. She is a NSP Grandma to 17 NSP grands and wife to one very patient NSP man. She says, “My children have taken me on journeys where I did not want to go and down roads I did not want to travel. Along the way I have learned a few things and I am living proof that perfection is overrated.” She currently works as a medical social worker for Methodist Hospital and is a workshop facilitator at Crossroads Programs for Women.
April 2016 Programs for Moms and Daughters:
Putting the Sparkle Back in Your Daughter’s Crown:
ANGER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR TEEN GIRLS
Do any of these behaviors sound like your daughter?
- Angry, irritable
- Quick Temper
- Easily annoyed, resentful
- Defiant, Argumentative
- Blames others for their mistakes
Outpatient Anger Management Groups Starts April 6th:
- Six week program
- Wednesday evenings beginning April 6, 2016
- 7-8:30 pm
- Girls ages 13 – 18 years old
- Insurance accepted
- Call today! Group size is limited.
- All calls are confidential
What is life coaching? Watch this video: