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, things to say). It was truly overwhelming. Then as adulthood sets in, those stresses seem to disappear and other things start surfacing.
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! Being a teenager is just plain hard, but you can make it easier.
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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, 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
Learn to be kind to yourself. I know sometimes what I say to myself can be 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 — it should be so much more, but one thing a day is a great place to start. Say to your teen:
You are not only beautiful/handsome' you are a gift to this universe.
Now be 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. But I promise they will prove to be very powerful for you and your teen! You may not believe it, but they really are always listening.
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