Okay, so I’m pretty sure that I made up the word “teenaging” right here, right now. But, you know what I mean, and it’s rough on you and it’s rough on your teen.
It’s Hard To Be A Teen, and That’s Okay!
Seriously, for some people the teenage years are the hardest. They will look back for years thinking, “That ride sucked! I’d never go back.”
One of the things that makes teenaging even harder is the way that we treat teens that struggle. Far too often we, the adults in struggling teens lives, judge our struggling teens, their struggles, and their mistakes as problems.
We act like something has gone terribly wrong. This throws everything out of proportion, and we lose perspective on our teens and their struggles. We start to define our teens by their struggles, unaware of the damage that such labels cause, and we lose sight of the reality that our teens are supposed to struggle.
Struggling Causes Strengthening
I used to work out a lot. At one point in high school I had Power Lifting, Weights II, and Intro to Weights, all at the same semester. I loved lifting weights. I loved the pain, the struggle, and I loved the growth that came as a result of the struggle.
When it comes to weight lifting, you welcome struggle and embrace it. When things get easy, you increase your struggle by increasing the weight. Struggle is part of the process. When things get hard, no one judges you and your struggle, and no one thinks, “Oh no, he’s struggling. Something’s wrong!”
Just like in weight lifting, in life struggling simply part of the process. EVERYONE struggles, including you and your teenagers.
When I look back on my struggles as a teenager, I realize that those events are the events that made me the strongest. Those times when I struggled at school with my grades and getting suspended are the times that helped me the most, almost 20 years later as a principal.
The struggles that you and your teen are facing right now will strengthen both of you.
Nothing has gone wrong.
How To Help Your Teen Struggle
Change Your Perspective
First of all, in our society, we view struggles as a problem, and we do everything that we can to avoid potential struggles. So, YOU have to be the one to change this, not for all of society but for you. Stop fighting this part of the process. Choose to believe that any struggle, challenge, or mistake are for your teens good.
When you start seeing struggles as “The Process” instead of “The Problem”, you and your teen will start to see their struggles in the proper perspective. Rather than defining your teen, their struggles are simply refining them.
Struggles don’t go away on our timeline. It’s a process that has to run its course. Your teen might struggle with something for years, maybe forever. You aren’t in charge of their process. Help them change, grow, and improve, but never judge that they should be over the struggle, or that they should have fixed this already. Trust their process and their timeline. Don’t rush them.
Help Them Look For The Good
Our brains are like Google. They find whatever we are looking for. It’s human nature to look for the negative, and that’s exactly what we find most often.
This is different than finding the “silver lining.” You’re not trying to sugar coat things for them. You’re not trying to help them feel better. Instead, you are trying to help them find where they are growing. You are helping them be okay with struggling and understand that it’s part of life’s process.
Once your teen starts to see that their struggles do indeed lead to growth and improvement, they will stop feeling shame and guilt surrounding their struggle.
It’s really easy to learn something new and totally understand it intellectually. It’s a whole different story to learn something new, understand it intellectually, and actually put it into practice. Without a plan, practice, failure, and improvement, it’s hard to develop this as a lasting skill.
Let me help you on a FREE consultation. During this free coaching call we will develop a plan that works for you, build a structure for practicing and start developing this skill by learning from our mistakes and making daily improvements.
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Relationship Tune Up Mini Training