Turning Teenage Rebellion into Fuel for Growth
As a parent your greatest desire for your kids is their happiness and success.
But you worry that they don’t know enough, aren’t experienced enough and lack the capacity to make the right decisions that will put them on a path towards their greatest potential. The push and pull that ensues is a dance of frustration, anger and often alienation. Which is completely counter to the love you have for your child.
What if teen rebellion is simply a part of becoming human?
During adolescence, teens are sorting out who they are and why they are here. It has much to do with the stages of development of the brain and body forming. At the same time, there’s an imprint of development happening on the insides that we can’t see.
The truth is, we’re all part of nature and there’s a code in nature that unfolds and reveals our unique individual genius. There may be patterns to look for in different developmental stages but ignoring the fact that we are all truly unique, disregards a fundamental part of becoming our true selves. And this is what fuels the fundamental essence of teen rebellion.
During these years teens are in a process of becoming, and just like a caterpillar that metamorphosizes itself into a butterfly, it’s all natural. Looking back on our own teen years, we may remember the ups and downs, the insecurities, and our resistance to accept any support from parents or teachers. For most of us, there’s a tendency to move away from the familiar when we know we’re not that. This a figuring out time of who we are on the inside.
The conscious parent understands the unfolding of life is a journey and in a constant state of evolution.
When we base our evaluation of the success of our teenagers on external systems that aren’t connected to the true inner consciousness that is awakening, we incite rebellion.
This rebelling is against a feeling of not quite being at home in themselves. They’re trying both to fit in AND define who they are and need time to sort that out.
Rather than seeing children as our subordinates, what if we could view them as mutual teachers? Shifting our way of being with our teenagers, creating a trusted space for them to show who they are becoming could deepen the relationship bringing forth more joy, peace and happiness to the family. Simply put, this alteration in communication with your child could have an enormous ripple effect across subsequent generations.
Conscious parenting is an evolving awareness around the different stages of development that naturally occur, and a recognition that we’re each unique in our own way. Perhaps our children are here to teach us and through this awareness everyday is a new discovery that reveals new insight on what it means to be a human.
The industrial model of success compartmentalizes our development as humans. I find the expression “tweens” so disrespectful. This view lumps all the creative energy of development into a mishmash definition that tries to explain away what doesn’t fit into any compartment.We support our kids when we view them as a whole being that is in the process of unfolding.
It’s natural for parents to have fear.
This is probably the greatest wall that teens encounter. When parents focus too much on grades, athletic prowess or superficial, external qualities, they run the risk of diminishing their child’s true potential and expansiveness.
In her book The Awakened Family, Dr, Shefali, clinical psychologist and parenting expert writes, “Once we release our fears as a parent we can walk with our children as their students and fellow-travelers. This is the ultimate purpose of parenting.”
As a parent, educator or anyone that works with youth, we need to see with new eyes what our roles are and trust the unfolding of this new being.
Conscious parenting is about letting go of everything you think you know.
If you adopt the belief that your child is your teacher, parenting becomes an act of spiritual growth. The curiosity and awe of children in play is the ultimate essence of what it is to be happy and joyful, but many of us lose this as we grow older. If we can let go of the need to control and manage and instead provide support so the child’s capacity to grow isn’t shaped by the self image of the parent, there is less stress and damage. They are instead able to become who they innately are.
The relationship with your kids is really a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself, the relationship you have with your partner, and having the time and space to grow and self express, being vulnerable open and loving. That is the energy that will carry forward into the family.
Here are some key questions to open up dialogue and create safety with your teens:
What did you like best about your _________?
How is this different than__________?
What did you learn about yourself today?
I wonder what your thoughts are about_______?
If you were me, what would you want me to do differently?
What if I got to be YOU for a day, what would I discover?
What qualities would you say make you unique?
How do you best express yourself and how you feel?
How can I be a better listener and create a safer place for you to be you?
How would you design your perfect day?
Learning is growth and it’s a lifelong process. The more we can each be authentic about our own journey, the better relationship dynamics we generate. Engaging in conversation with keen listening creates a climate for positivity and celebration. Every stage of development is nourished when we trust in the process.