Teens are often harder on themselves than we as parents could ever be on them. In fact, sometimes it seems as if our “cheerleading” attempts, our positive encouragement, have little or no impact on them. Sometimes it feels that no matter what, our teen is overwhelmed by feelings of failure.
As parents we often want to “fix” this for them when what they really need to learn is how to cope with that feeling, to realize that it is temporary and is not reality.
At Mindful Healing, we teach teens a technique that helps them deal with these big emotions by Riding the Wave. The “wave” is the emotion, and as they ride it, they observe the feeling: notice what they are feeling, any physical sensations, allowing themselves to feel the feelings without judgment. They then describe the feeling: this includes describing the feeling without getting stuck in the thought itself. Next, they learn to accept the experience and then, just like a wave, they allow it to pass.
Many of us experience our feelings like a wave, getting bigger and bigger. We often get stuck in the thoughts, which increase the size of the “wave.” If our teens learn to ride the wave without getting stuck in the thought much like waves at the beach, their feelings will rise and then they will decrease. It might come back and they’ll ride it again… until the tide finally goes out!
If your teen needs help learning to respond to distressing feelings contact us here.