Adolescents Learning Amongst Growing Adults

Adolescents Learning Amongst Growing Adults

Adolescents Learning Amongst Growing Adults

Although the adolescent years have not yet descended upon me, I often hear from people who have older children / adolescents in particular say “you think it’s hard now, wait until you have a teenager.” And while I politely listen and hear them talk about all the “drama” their child is causing “them”, I respectfully take it all with a grain of salt. I also recognize that one’s experience with their child does not define the experience of my own.

Do I believe that teenagers bring their own level of “drama” or trials, sure … don’t we all at one point or another in our lives? As human beings, we are not exempt from going through various phases / stages no matter our age. Life experiences from dating, marriages, children, careers, friendships, emotional heartaches are all called upon us to show us where we have yet to grow-up and remind us that we are all susceptible to bringing out our inner child ways. As adults we are still figuring out ourselves, our pasts, our sense of self, our purpose and our emotional infrastructure. We are looking for guidance, support, compassion, acceptance, validation as we continue to evolve into our essence.

So how is this at all different from what our teenagers go through? Let’s be honest with ourselves and stop pointing the fingers at our children for our own inner lack of not knowing how to navigate through the ever-changing years our children go through. While our children are looking to their parents and other adults for guidance, it is our responsibility to stay grounded, present, supportive, encouraging and accepting of them all the way. If they see us reacting with outbursts, yelling, extreme frustrations … how are they to know or do any differently?

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Through my ever-evolving conscious parenting awakening, I have sharpened my mind in ways that I can more easily identify disconnects between parent-child relationship (including my own) in ways that I otherwise may not have. A true paradigm shift has occurred and one that provides me with a greater set of lenses for optimal growth. There is no time sooner than the present moment to get real with ourselves, break open and break free our inner self so we can have a conscious break-through of the work we have yet to do and ultimately how we “show up” for our children.

Here are some of Dr. Shefali’s captivating and wise insights on raising adolescents:

“No longer can you be the ever-powerful parent but must instead become an ever-present parent.”

“As our children mature beyond the middle school years, we get to see the effects of their upbringing.”

“Our children burst forth … at this stage, with more personality, more attitude, more self-assertion. However a difficult teenager doesn’t sprout up overnight; the seeds were being sown all along.”

“We have to remove ourselves from any illusion we can control their life. The only way to gain access to them is through rebuilding our lost connection.”

“The key spiritual lesson for parents during these years is that we must reorient our relationship with our teens to one of true kinship and partnership … the key is trust.”

“During this period of their lives, to trust them is our spiritual discipline.”

 

6 Comments

  • jo
    March 27, 2015 11:44 pm 0Likes

    I love this! Thanks for your insight! My two older children are 13 and 12. It’s a very exciting and challenging period for me dealing with 2 mini adults.

    • Sandra Fazio
      March 28, 2015 2:38 pm 0Likes

      Thank you Jo for your kind response. So happy you found it helpful 🙂

  • kim
    March 30, 2015 2:10 pm 0Likes

    In an attempt to be a conscious parent and be compassionate and understanding I could use some advice for the dilemma that I am in with my 15 year old son. His spring vacation is coming up in a week and he is failing two classes. He is most likely failing because 3 weeks ago he missed 3 days of school to go skiing with his father. He was informed before the trip that he had to make up all his work if he was to miss school. Since the trip is when he started failing. I told him that if he was not passing by the time his vacation came that he would be grounded for the week. I am now doubting that decision and thinking it is too harsh. My husband and friend are telling me to follow through otherwise I am enabling him. “I HAVE TO TEACH HIM TO BE RESPONSIBLE” they said. I am trying to be compassionate and understanding. What should I do that would align with my son and my desire to be a more conscious parent?

    • Sandra Fazio
      March 31, 2015 4:22 pm 0Likes

      Thank you Kim for your personal share and courage to ask for support. First and foremost I want to acknowledge you for being mindful and open to embracing a more conscious parent approach on your parenting journey. This alone is the first major step to creating a more abundant life both for yourself and child.

      With respect to your specific matter and the short synopsis you provided, I would offer the following key points to you. While there is always more depth to the situation at hand (as nothing really just happens overnight), my hope is that my feedback will held shed some insight for you to sit with and ponder so that the answers within you arise.

      1. You mention he is “most likely failing” because 3 weeks ago he missed 3 days of school to go skiing with his father. The key phrase “most likely failing” is an invitation to dig deeper and ask “Is this my assumption or do I really know why he is failing. Have I sat down and connected with him to ask him directly why he is failing. Is it really because of the skiing trip?”

      2. You then share .. “He was informed before the trip that he had to make up all his work if he was to miss school.” Informing our children is good on the “surface” level however if it is not supported through our own embodiment it does not hold enough weight on the deeper level for follow-through. It is when we embody (teach through our own actions, support and hold accountability both to ourselves and our children) that our children understand the deeper meaning of our words.

      3. Your response / reaction .. “I told him that if he was not passing by the time his vacation came that he would be grounded for the week.” So this is a natural response most parents result to when they feel an inner lacking / control to the situation at hand. Our egos take full force and our power (authority) sets in. It is a form of our agenda. Yet if we sit and really think about it there is no real correlation between “not passing your grades and being grounded”. What is the lesson to be learned? Your child is not learning the true consequence to his choice. If anything he is going to build resentment and disconnection and feel less motivated to achieving. Through conscious parenting, the discipline comes in the form of natural consequence which emerges directly from the situation at hand. An opportunity to turn this into a positive would be to sit down and connect with your son, ask and empower him to explain why he choose not to do his work, get a feel / sense from him directly to let you know where the “missing piece” is and help guide him on how he can make a better choice next time. Use the time together and let him share with you what he feels would be a natural consequence for this important teaching moment? Brainstorm together and come up with solutions. Our responsibility is to provide our children with effective tools to work through their decision-making process in life. This will not be the last time it happens (and I’m sure you can think of may wrong choices you have made). It’s through our ability to sit with the situation (in a safe and supportive environment) that we can tap into our inner being and trust ourselves even when we fall short. Your intuition is already calling you to do this since you have had a change of heart with your initial reaction (as you shared above about “now doubting this decision”).

      Lastly, when you say others tell you that you have to TEACH HIM TO BE RESPONSIBLE … that doesn’t come from just your words. It comes from your actions, your guidance, your own embodiment. It is less about inserting your power or authority (traditional parenting) and more about connection and engagement (conscious parenting) so that your child learns to trust his inner voice and NOT look outwardly for validation. A lesson you can also grow from in return.

      In the end, this situation is a wonderful learning opportunity for both of you.

      Please let me know how it plays out. Hope you found this meaningful and helpful.

      Sandra 🙂

      • kim
        April 1, 2015 3:02 pm 0Likes

        Thank you Sandra. This was great advice. I am not going to ground my son even if he fails the quarter. I already had a nice conversation with him about why he was failing and he actually explained it to me and is working hard to get the grades to passing. I totally recognize that I was putting my expectations of what kind of student I want him to be instead of actually seeing him as a person. I love the work that Dr. Shefali is doing and I am so grateful that you have this space here where people can ask for advice. So, thank you. You will most likely hear from me again since this is all new to me. Namaste, Kim

        • Sandra Fazio
          April 1, 2015 9:27 pm 0Likes

          So happy to receive your response Kim and more importantly knowing that you have taken this opportunity / lesson and nurtured it from a place of connection and compassion with your son. He will value this so much more in the long-run than “grounding him” and please keep in touch 🙂 Namaste, Sandra 🙂

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