How parents can cultivate a more healthy relationship with their teens and tweens through conversation, understanding the teen brain and how we should be viewing anger when it shows up in our kids.
Below is an overview of my conversation with Sheryl for single parents raising teens and tweens. For the complete interview listen to episode #20 of Grace for Single Parents wherever you listen to podcasts.
How to Cultivate a Strong Relationship with Your Teenager
- Such a big part of parenting and being a mom is knowing you’re not alone and wanting to create that connection where moms can hear you’re not alone. This is what I’m struggling with and have another mom say, “Me too. I’m going through the same thing.”
- There’s a shift in the way you need to parent your kids after grade school. A lot of parenting techniques that worked when they were younger don’t work anymore when the kids become teens.
- The book Inside Out Parenting. talks about how it starts with us (the parent) first and really getting in touch with doing some inventory, like how was I parented and what are maybe some of the wounded parts of myself that are showing up in the way that I parent my own kids.
- I ended up having the gift of my daughter who was very strong-willed. I didn’t know what to do with that except try to lay down the law and say, go to your room. And don’t talk to me that way versus being able to say to her, okay, I hear you’re angry and tell me what’s going on. And helping her to process her anger in a healthy way.
How to Respond to Your Teen’s Anger
- We see anger as a bad emotion. But let’s not view it as bad. View it as information and be curious about what might be going on with our kids. Why might they be acting out?
- Why might they be expressing this anger and, being able to listen to that and reflect, listen, okay, you’re angry?
- So tell me what’s going on.
- We want to cultivate this safe place for our kids where they feel like they can open up and they can talk to us. And if we haven’t done that historically with our kids, it takes a little time.
Getting Your Teenager to Talk to You
- When we start to listen more than giving that advice like you’re saying or trying to fix it or wanting to tell them not to feel that way, over time it’s a process.
- But they’ll start opening up, they’ll start feeling safe. They’ll start thinking, mom is willing to listen.
- She’s not going to judge me or criticize me for feeling this way. So I think that is really a key component.
- And the truth is as moms, it is hard to listen to our kids when they’re feeling because it makes us anxious or if they’re angry or they’re sad, we have to be able to contain that and that’s, that’s not easy to do.
- How can I really listen and sit with you wherever, whatever you’re feeling? And it really helps our kids too. If we’re not jumping in and giving advice and we can ask them, what do you want to do about that?
- When they become tweens and teens, we’re helping them to problem solve and to figure out what do they need versus us always telling them because tweens and teens are gonna resist every time we try and tell them what to do, nine times out of 10 they’re going to resist that pushback up against that.
The Teen’s Brain
- The back of their brain is the first thing to develop and it develops from the back to the front. And so that makes a lot of sense because that amygdala is in the back of the brain and that is where we have that fight, flight, or freeze response to danger and that it protects us. But that is fired up right now.
- So our kids, they’re going to react out of that amygdala where they’re gonna all of a sudden they’re going to be fine. But we asked them if they did their homework and they’re going to have that response were all of a sudden out of their mouth comes like, leave me alone.
- If you’re having trouble with your kids remembering, stop to know that the prefrontal cortex at the front of their brain is not fully developed.
- Be more patient with them and have some compassion when they are forgetting things and they’re having to juggle so much more, I mean each year they have more homework, there’s stress. Now we have technology. They’re dealing in middle school and high school was social relationships with peers. They want to fit in, they want to matter, and they want to belong. So it’s just this perfect storm.
- They don’t know how to regulate those emotions. They haven’t learned it yet.
You Aren’t Parenting Alone
- It’s like learning a new language for us and how to really listen to our kids, especially when they’re tweens and teens and we’re not always liking what they have to say.
- It’s scary to put it out there when we’re struggling, we’re worried we’re going to be judged. We have shame. We think we’re bad moms, but I find time and time again when a mom puts it out there, something that she’s struggling with, it is so comforting to another mom because she too is struggling.
- Our Facebook posts and our Instagram posts can look all perfect, but we’re all struggling with something, we can feel so isolated and alone even if we don’t feel like we can share it.
This was an overview of my conversation with Sheryl for single parents raising teens and tweens. For the complete interview listen to episode #20 of Grace for Single Parents wherever you listen to podcasts.
Where to Find Sheryl
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/momsoftweensandteens/