2020 Shall Forever Be Known as the Year of Changes and Transitions
Change and transitions are inevitable. Throughout our lives, we are faced with change and transitions in many forms. But the serving 2020 is dishing up is monumental for most. Whether you teen was a homeschooler, unschooler, attended a traditional school or anything in between, this September will certainly not be a typical back to school moment for anyone. 2020 is a year of change and transitions, as if being a teen wasn’t filled with change and transitions already!! Most of the time changes and transitions can be perceived as challenges and without tools, can easily result in heightened anxiety, fear, depression, stress or withdrawal. Below you will find five simple tools you can start using now in order to support your teen to meet these challenges and build resilience and practice grit.
Self Inquiry & Framing Questions
The teens I’ve spoken with over the last few months have been questioning what the future will look like for them in light of covid. Questions like: “How do I fit in to this changing world?” “How is is possible to make new friends and maintain friendships now?” ” Am I just being selfish by wanting to be happy in light of world events?” “Is there a future for me?”
Of course, your teen’s answers to these questions are important. Their answers will determine how they will approach changes and transitions moving forward. Their answers, responses and actions feed into a mindset which helps set a precedent on how they may handle other changes and transitions in the future.
However more important to their responses to these questions, is learning how to ask and frame questions that are neutral. If you teen asks the question, “How do I fit in to this changing world?” help them reframe the question to, “What new opportunities does this changing world present?”
Reframing the question “How is is possible to make new friends and maintain friendships now?” to “What new opportunities are available to meeting teens around the world?” and also, “How can I design and create a new way of expressing my friendship with the friends I have?”
This question, “Am I just being selfish by wanting to be happy in light of world events?” might become “How can I approach self care take advantage of the down time to focus onself development, and focus on my own inner happiness?”.
Finally reframe the question “Is there a future for me? to “What future can I imagine for myself ?” (great entry into a vision board, post coming soon about that.)
Another tool parents can use, to reinforce through positive messaging that your teen is prepared, and is equipped. Remind your teen that they have overcome other changes in the past, and that the human race is indeed resilient throughout history.
Talk about your memories of how your teen overcame obstacles in the past and remind them that they’ve indeed achieved goals under challenging situations before.
Share stories of resilience throughout history and how they are part of that story in-the-making now.
Finally, boost your teen’s sense of self by linking past accomplishments and actions to strengths and values you see in them.
Commit to Check Ins
As a family, create a culture of accountability as it surrounds mental health. Format a daily, weekly or monthly check as a family to be in dialogue about concerns and challenges.
Daily check ins before bed is a productive way to unpack the day.
Two simple questions that help in this process is “what worked today?” and “what didn’t work today”. It provides an opportunity for everyone to reflect, actively listen and process the day’s challenges without judgement. Make this a family tradition.
For a weekly or monthly more in-depth family check in, schedule it with the family, put it on the calendar and create an itinerary that everyone can add to and put it on the refrigerator for full family contribution. Commit to active listening, no interrupting, non violent communication (starting with “I” sentences) and empathy.
Celebrate Your Teen’s Accomplishments
Reflect on how your teen has grown throughout the years. Reflect on their personal development and social skills. Don’t be afraid to applaud their wins. Celebrate the transitions you’ve gone through as a family and acknowledge the wisdom your teen has gained through the experience. This will boost their confidence and remind them that they can handle challenges and transition through change.
Provide Tools and Strategies
Provide a set up tangible tools your teen can use, like vision boards, journaling, using trigger logs to recognize and record when your teen is triggered and helping them to define their core values. I have a video with links to specific tools here.
As teens make sense of the changing world, they may encounter “new normals”, new friendships, new pressures, and new challenges. It’s our job as parents to make sure they have the tools they need to process and thrive. Personalized coaching sessions and the 12 Week Transformation Course provide an emotional outlet, as well as tools for responding to new and changing world in a healthy and supportive way.