It seems that from the moment you notice a change in your adolescent’s body odor, there is also a big change in their emotions. Their outbursts can be hurtful and personal. It is helpful to all parents to consider what is your child is feeling beneath the storm.
Great Info on the Web
I recently read two great blogs that help explain what is likely happening inside your teen and not just what you are seeing. The first blog was written by Karen Young of heysigmund.com. She is a psychologist and encourages you to consider the feelings that are driving your child’s behavior. She emphasizes that understanding doesn’t mean condoning or letting your boundaries melt away. She says, “All feelings are valid and it’s okay for them to be there. What isn’t okay is the behavior that’s driven by those feelings.”
Here are some outbursts and how she suggests you respond:
Anger means there’s something in the way of something I want.
Try, “You seem angry that is hasn’t worked out the way you thought, I get that.”
Sadness means I’ve lost something important to me.
Try, “I understand how much it meant to you. It’s okay for you to be upset.”
Jealousy means I want something somebody else has. This isn’t always material. It might seem like it is, but there will be a need underlying that. Most likely a need for love, praise, attention, status, recognition – something that feels important to them.
Try, “It can be hard when other people get something we’ve really been wanting, can’t it.”
Anxiety means I might be in danger. This doesn’t always mean physical danger – it could mean the threat of humiliation, embarrassment, loss.
Try, “You seem worried that …. Is there anything you’d like from me?”
Dr. Young goes on to explain, “Acknowledging speaks to the feeling behind the response to bring calm.” I encourage you to read the entire blog, You and Your Teen – The Words That Can Strengthen Your Influence and Connection.
Looking for More Insight?
A second great blog by Kimberly Valzania at Scary Mommy brings more insight into what is going on inside of an outburst.
Kimberly looks at the communication with her teen kids from a mom’s perspective. She wanted to understand what she was doing wrong when hateful words were shouted at her. She came to the conclusion that “teens say awful things when their emotions are out of control. Things they don’t exactly mean.”
Here are a few of her insights from her “handy guide”:
“Just leave me alone!” means “I can’t face the truth right now, and I’m not ready to deal with it yet.”
“You never trust me!” means “Sometimes I don’t trust myself.”
“I’m so bored!” means “This isn’t fun and it doesn’t serve me, so I’m agitated and annoyed.”
“I can’t!” simply means “I just don’t want to.”
You can read the entire blog, What ‘I Hate You’ Really Means, And Other Teen Translations, and many more of her great insights here.
I like the information these two creative women have taught us through their blogs. As our children become teenagers, they change. Their emotions deepen and are often volatile. These women remind us that searching beneath the emotion will help us to be better parents of teens and help soothe our own hurt feelings.
Maybe we don’t need to take everything they say so personally if we realize this is just part of the maturing process and we need a new game plan.
No comments yet