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?
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.”