Teenagers are a lot like the “Other Human Species”. Parenting teens can be tough. So can parenting tweens (the 10 to 12 year old crowd) and parenting young adults. Parents and grandparents who have gone through the trials and tribulations of parenting the young adult set have great wisdom to share. Below is a wonderful article contributed by our very own Linda Berman! Enjoy!!!
Same Child – Different Time
by Linda Berman
Watching the painful experiences our teenage children go though is something that words don’t touch. It’s lived and carried very deep and close to the heart.
I know the disruption and pain it causes within when what appears to happen outside of us is so foreign to our nature. It doesn’t seem to fit with anything in our worldview.
The young have to find their way. You experienced a lot with your children; your shared past is a foundation that they build their lives upon. They want to be vital, valid, empowered along with loved and all the rest. Their foundation may be positive or negative, whatever it is, if they’re not getting what they want from their current choices and efforts they have to consider the opposite of what they have been taught and already know and explore other ways they never explored before. They have to make their own choices and go beyond into uncharted territory. This is about self worth and how a person sees themselves in relationship with their world. Although it may look similar, the child’s world is very different than their parents and they are experiencing and learning different things. They live in a different world at a different time than their parents; the course they take has to be totally different.
When the child makes a decision that’s difficult for the parent to accept, the parent may look back at their past to identify what went wrong. Nothing went wrong! The parent isn’t wrong, the child isn’t wrong; this is the child in discovery mode, making bold new decisions to risk, explore something new and step forward even though their next step may be unknown and appear precarious. When the child becomes an adult changes must occur.
From a parental perspective often there is resistance to the changes they see. Resistance is one choice, it’s understandable, but there is another way to view this. Communicating by asking questions and listening with a heart willing to hear fully – the reasons, the hurt, the pain, what has worked for them and what hasn’t… just listen without giving direction, that’s what the parents can do to open the path for the child-young adult to be free. This provides a way to take the reviewed information to the next level. Once they share in this way it offers a new perspective, then the young adult understands at another level they’re not alone as the only one who truly knows what’s happening.
With verbal freedom and distance from the outcome the young adult automatically has a new opportunity to review and process everything they spoke about and make decisions that aren’t based on pulling in an opposing direction. More becomes possible.