Being a teenager is just plain hard, but you can make it easier.
As adults, we sometimes forget that being a teenager comes with some really big stresses.
Reflecting back to my teen years, I remember the huge weight I felt on my shoulders as I attempted to juggle personal life, home life, chores, homework, social events and the stress attached to what I was wearing, makeup). It was truly overwhelming.
When adult stress sets in, we tend to forget about what it felt like being a teen.
So here are three things to gently "mention" when you are communicating with your teen. There may seem like there is no stress in his or her life (and this may make you feel a little jealous!), but these suggestions will still be so valuable to them — I promise!
1. Don't Take Yourself So Seriously.
We tend to think everything we say or do has this huge impact on the world. When we go with the intent to make a world change—it can happen—but truly the day to day stuff that we "fret" about really does not make that much difference. By taking yourself less seriously, you open up energy to focus on things that really will matter!
Find peace with imperfection (and remember what a gift that is). When you start to get stressed about something you said or did, ask yourself:
Will this really matter a year from now or even a day from now?
2. Give Up Criticizing Yourself.
Be kind to yourself. I know sometimes what I say to myself is pretty harsh, so can you imagine what the conversation sounds like in a teen's mind? Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough... their lists go on and on. Learn to tell yourself one good thing per day. You should do it more often, but one thing a day is a great place to start.
Once you start, get ready for the eye-rolling and the "Yeah, right". But truly you are planting a seed, and those thoughts will grow.
We all need that reminder, but I swear: teens hold their breath about everything, asking "What are people going to think?" Just by reminding them to breathe (you will, again, get some resistance) they will be able to focus on the suggestions you have planted here and there and clear out their minds. I can't tell you how many times just taking a deep breath changed what was stressing me—it works every time!
If your teen is tough to crack, you may think these things will be like talking to a brick wall: totally ineffective. They may roll their eyes, but they really are listening.