Parenting children and teens – “One of the most stressful jobs there is. Alongside of the wonderous, delightful and profoundly fulfilling times, you will also experience broken sleep and extreme tests of your patience…” by Sunderland, M.
Your job is to help your child and later your teen with a whole range of feelings. To do this we need to be at our best self – able to be calm, able to think rationally, able to know when to stop talking and just listen, know when to give them a hug and know when to back off, know when to let them just feel and know they will get through this.
Trusting your instincts as a parent in this world when we have so much information given to us, told to us and able to be googled can be challenging. However, stopping long enough to truly listen to your child and yourself, may be the best parenting you will ever do. Learn to sit with and stay alongside of your teen when they are emotional. All feelings are acceptable but not all behaviours. You may feel the situation they are in does not warrant such strong emotion, however from their perspective it does.
Take the time to be curious about what is going on and resist the urge to solve the problem straight away, especially as children get older, just stop and acknowledge that you hear how they feel. Sometimes this is all they need. Sometimes that is all we need as parents – for someone to just listen!
If a teen needs help solving a difficulty, try to support them to problem solve with you. When children are younger we make more of these choices for them. Changing our parenting and supporting our children as they grow to manage more of this builds resilient and capable young people. Importantly as a parent you need to take time to care for yourself – what do you need so you can be the best parent you could be?