Ok so this blog is gonna relate to all the adults reading, but I’m actually writing it for the teenagers, too…so please, share it with them! Even read it with them.. If they can stand the way you’re talking or breathing for 5 straight minutes. LOL! But really…it’s true.
I have been thinking a LOT lately about what it really felt like at that stage of life. How confusing, challenging and frustrating it could feel. When really, that time should be filled with FREEDOM, self expression and self awareness! Balanced with good choices, of course. I mean, I live with a teenager right now and feel grateful on the daily that she isn’t a wild child. Though sometimes I wonder if that’s because she just wants to “do what’s right” or if that’s who she just is. That’s a question I may never get answered, but this one can… If you could, would you go back to high school again?
Listen, I know time travel isn’t a thing, but have you ever been asked that question? Or even thought about it? My first reaction would be HELL YES because I would do things 100% DIFFERENT and it would be interesting to see how it all panned out. But the grounded and mindful being inside of me knows that my school age experiences are what shaped me to be the person that I am today. I don’t ever look back at my life with regret because every choice led me to exactly where I am, and I’m completely grateful. But I also struggled internally with a great deal of things, which is why I wanted to write this for the teens. The kids who aren’t yet adults, but expected to make decisions like adults do. The people who are trying to figure out WHO they are and WHY they’re here, but are thrust with opinions from parents, teachers, friends and society about who they’re supposed to be.
Teens have it harder than most other age groups. Even us grown ups who pay bills and raise humans. Because we have FREE WILL. They only do to an extent. They can only make choices that fit a mold of who’s raising them. If they go against that grain, they are defiant or disrespectful. Again, I live with a teenager and it sometimes feels like a crapshoot letting her make choices while still giving her a foundation of LIFE to grow and build upon. We don’t always see eye to eye or agree on things. And that’s not a bad thing. But we see it as bad because it makes us feel terrible inside when our kids don’t understand WHY we want certain things for them. So lets take a second and remember what it feels like to be the teenager, just fighting for every ounce of understanding. WOOF. This shit ain’t easy. But we will keep showing up and doing the best we can. Praying that we aren’t doing damage on these kids that they will have to uncover and dig through as adults.
But…Let’s be real. They totally will. Just like we had to. I had amazing parents and I still had to work through some serious shit as an adult to combat my needs to be perfect, fix everything and put everything else before myself. So here’s what I truly hope you parents reading and you teens reading can gain from this…CLARITY! Parents, we think we know better because we have experienced more life, which is a big part of the reason why it wouldn’t be as awful to go BACK now, knowing what we know. Understanding life in a deeper way. Teens, you think you know better because it’s YOUR life and you aren’t exactly like your parents, so how could they know better. Big part of the reason why it would SUCK to go back, because someone would be telling us how to LIVE. Agreed there? Get what I’m saying?
Ok.. so then I hope you achieve more RESPECT, respect for each others feelings and words and ACCEPTANCE for why we all feel the way we feel! Here’s how we can do that:
Step 1: STOP QUESTIONING. START LISTENING. Whoa. Stop asking my kid questions? Or stop asking my parents WHYYYYY I cant do this or that, or buy this or that? Hang with me here. Your kid gets home from school. “How was your day? Do you have homework? How was the test? You ready for dance? Did you finish your homework? Did you eat anything healthy? What are you doing on your phone? Did you take out the dog?” SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. Where in the rapid fire questioning are we learning about WHO our kids really are? Are we actually listening, or just waiting to hear the response we are looking for? And when we don’t get the response we are looking for, we get pissed and ask them MORE questions. “WHY do you always do this? Who do you think you’re talking to? What do you mean you don’t know? Why are you always in such a bad mood? What’s your attitude for?” OMGGGG I am literally having a come to Jesus moment realizing how much I am guilty of this, too, my peeps.
Let’s shift to the teens now. Mom walks in from a helluva day. “What’s for dinner? Is my uniform clean? Can you take me to the store, I need stuff for a project due tomorrow? Can you drive us to the mall later? Can I hang out with friends after school? Can I order something on amazon?” All before mom has been able to kick her shoes off and take stock on what explosion to tackle first. Mom replies with impatience and frustration for not being able to do 103 things at once and you then feel like she hates you and is the worst mom ever. Can we agree that theres a better way, here?
Before you ask more questions, ASK YOURSELF if you have actually LISTENED! Deal? Use this as an experiment to see if communication flows a little easier this way!
Step 2: STOP PUSHING. START VISUALIZING. This one is something that popped into my head as I was chatting with my daughter about college and work in the real world. She wants to pursue the medical field and I’m so proud and impressed by that. But I wanted to dig into WHY she wanted to do this, because when I was her age, NO ONE ever asked me WHY I was choosing the path of college. It was sort of a non-negotiable like I HAD TO do it and just figure it out as I went. Which is fine for a lot of paths in our lives, but when you leave college with a mortgage of student loans and still no clarity on what you actually wanna do, is that really worth it? So I asked her WHY. She replied that she wanted to help others. Love it. Then I asked her if she realized that being in the medical field meant working holidays, night shifts, extra long shifts and not having the traditional schedule. She understood and was willing to continue on with this.
We so quickly PUSH our kids to go to school, figure out what job and career path to take without actually having them VISUALIZE what they want their lives to look like. Do they want to work day shifts, in the city, in an office, be a business owner, get a degree, deal with massive debt, maybe even think about having their own families some day. I know it seems so far off, but having them actually picture what they want their LIFE TO FEEL LIKE instead of what JOB they want to do makes a huge difference. And to sweeten the deal, parents should share their vision with their kids, too! It’s so important to share your desires and what a picture perfect day feels like, so we can all help each other achieve it! Maybe you’re a parent and still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. I know I finally figured it out in my 30’s. But what better time to create that vision than to do it TOGETHER!
Step 3: CHANGE THE EXPECTATION. As parents, we absolutely hold our children to a certain standard. How to behave, how to treat others, how to treat ourselves. As kids and teens, you have expectations of how you should be treated as well. What if we just had ONE expectation?
UNDERSTANDING! Because the truth is, as parents, we do know a great deal more than our kids simply because we have lived and experienced more. But that doesn’t always mean we are right. And teens, I know it seems like your parents may have NO clue about what its like to BE YOU, but remember that they had their own share of baggage to work through at your age. Maybe its not exactly the same, but I’m sure its similar and they have the knowledge to help you navigate it!
Parents want their kids to be free and expressive and able to find themselves, but we also have this obligation to make sure we are guiding them in the right direction. Like life’s biggest goal is just to raise GOOD HUMANS, right? Teens. I know you can feel stifled, monitored, misunderstood…but know that all of that comes from the ultimate place of LOVE! If we all just stop the crazy expectations and focus on understanding, we may have a whole lot less to argue about! We may be able to find a little more joy in this wacky phase of life. We may actually get to know each other better and bring out the best in one another!
I say to my oldest all the time…”I have NO IDEA what I’m doing. I’m learning with you. This is the first time I’ve parented a kid your age and I’m learning as I go, too.” She usually smirks or rolls her eyes, but I know she understands that I’m doing the best I can, And I can totally understand that she is too!
Let’s shift the conversation. Let’s listen. Let’s create vision together and let’s understand each other a little bit more.
And if you guys need more guidance, we have mindfulness and meditation classes just for the teens. And while you’re at it, sign yourself up for Shift Release Connect, our weekly meditation and stretch class! You guys all deserve time spent on your MIND and your HEART!
Ok I know I said no more questions, but I just have 1 more… Would you go back to being a teenager if you knew what you know now? Share with me peeps, would love to hear your feedback on this one!