Worry! Worry! Worry! That seems to be every teen parent’s companion. Did they do their homework? Are they in with the wrong crowd? Will they get into the right school? Why did they get a B instead of an A? How can I help them make friends? Why won’t my teen talk to me? What can I do to help their teacher understand… understand my child suffers from… understand they are overloaded… understand, understand, understand. Why do they stay in their room all day on social media when the sun is shining and they can go out and have fun? And these are just the “normal” worries.
Parents are often so busy trying to prevent their worst fears from coming true, or trying to fix situations out of their fear that if their child has to endure the natural consequences of their behavior, they will never recover and will get worse; they will never speak to you again; they will hate you; they will lose what little confidence they have… name the fear, whatever it is and you have a parent rushing around trying to fix or prevent situations concerning their child.
Does your teen feel protected and safe as a result of these efforts? No! Even if they seem relieved at first, parental resolution of their problems reinforces their own fears about themselves: What they feel is incompetent, unable to resolve their own problems, helpless and ever more anxious. What they lose is the opportunity to build resilience, to realize that they are capable of resolving the left curves that life will throw their way. They lose the ability to be proactive in their own life and lose the confidence that will drive them to face difficulties head on and find a way to figure things out.
What can you do?
- Make a list of your worries
- Make a list of potential consequences if you don’t intervene .
- Evaluate your worries in terms of life and death issues, literally and if the issue is not something that will lead to death… how bad can it be? For you? Or for your child?
- Make a list of the positive outcomes that will happen if they do resolve their situation on their own and if not,
- What can they learn from their mistakes?
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