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Don't take your teen so personally!

Joyful Musings--a weekly blog

Joyful Parenting Coaching is focused on clarity, consistency, connection, being an effective parent, finding balance as a parent, and above all being a confident and joyous parent. Topics include communication, having difficult conversations, having constructive conversations, chores, routines, family meetings, 

Don't take your teen so personally!

Elisabeth Stitt

Have you heard the cry of, 
OMG, YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING!

Has your young teen shifted from skipping down the street holding your hand to acting as if you have the plague?  

Such behavior is so teen-movie, situational-sitcom cliché we almost don't fully expect it to happen to us.  

But if your child is developing normally and as he needs to do, he will have that moment when he acts as if you are an alien creature he has never seen before.  

Your job is to repeat the mantra,
THIS IS A STAGE; IT WILL PASS, AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME PERSONALLY.  

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg explains, "The first step of teens figuring out their own identities is to prove themselves different from their parents. In order to know how different they are, they sometimes have to see us as offensive, as hopelessly embarrassing at the very least."

If you take your teen's behavior personally, not only will you set yourself up for a lot of hurt, you will only add to her stress.  The acute embarrassment she feels when you do anything--anything at all--that might draw people's attention to you (and by extension her) is even more confusing to her than it is to you.  

Even if he heard in health class that teens often feel self-conscious and exposed, in the moment of heat burning his ears, your teen's brain is far from rational.  He just knows that it feels rotten.  

Instead of condemning your child for hurting your feelings, when you are in private, you can try reminding her that turning away from her parents and to the opinions of her peers is an important part of separating from you and you have been expecting it

DO NOT ASSUME THE LESSON ON ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT HAS SUNK IN.

Many parents feel that having told their children once about the process of adolescence, they have done their job.  It doesn't work that way.  Any time we explain something that complex to kids they are only going to process the information as it relates to their own immediate experience.  This means that if you tell them that some day they are going to be embarrassed by you, and they are not there yet, they will simply ignore your assertion.  That's why you have to go back to the conversation many times over.  Explain that the purpose of pulling away or rebelling is make it easier for teens to step out into the world--away from the comforts of home.  Point out to your teen that it is his job to figure out who he is and who he wants to be as an adult.  

This reminder may well be heard in agitated silence.  That's why It bears repeating to you: Fear not!  It is a stage, it will pass, and it has nothing to do with your teen's feelings for you.  



DESPITE KNOWING ADOLESCENCE IS A STAGE, DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOUR HEART IS BREAKING?  

Coaching is a superior place for you to blow off steam, manage your own feelings and find out the latest research on teen development to guide you so that you can be fully present for your teen.  Schedule a complimentary sample session HERE

Enjoy the stage your in!
Elisabeth


Elisabeth Stitt
Joyful Parenting Coaching
www.elisabethstitt.com
650.248.8916