The best way to teach your teen good coping skills is by literally backing off and giving them some room. Let your children think through solutions when they are dealing with a challenge or problem. I see coping skills as falling into the “street smarts” category. They aren’t something that one will learn at school. Coping skills are something that one needs to practice and exercise often in order to acquire and master. Parents can practice (and guide) good coping skills with teens to see how they handle certain situations. Some ideas your teen has will be effective and other will not. But that’s ok… this is how they learn. They need to problem solve, become more resourceful and at the very core…. learn self-reliance. Otherwise, they will look to you every time they deal with a challenge. What will they do when you aren’t around? How will they handle peer pressure, an emergency or a difficult conflict?
I was working with a teen client the other week, who became unraveled over a particular conflict she was dealing with that day. Now, her reaction to the situation seemed a bit over the top, but that’s ok…..she’s a teen and her feelings are valid. I was sympathetic and there to listen. However, I found myself falling into the trap of “problem solving” for this teen because she seemed so distraught. I thought I needed to “fix it” for her. As expected, she kept telling me why every solution I had wouldn’t work and so I kept coming up with more ideas, only to have each new one rejected by her again and again. Finally I stopped, looked at her and said: “You are very upset about this and I understand. I’m happy to help, but it’s up to you to figure out what that best solution should be. I’m here as a resource and a sounding board.” She actually stopped playing the “victim” and started to think through some solutions herself when I gave her the “green light” to take the lead.
Remember, teens need encouragement and space to think through the pros and cons associated with different outcomes. It’s not up to you (as a parent) to provide them with all the solutions. We need more quick thinkers; people who can resolve their own issues without chaos and drama. Parents who allow their children to take the lead on their own issues (within reason) tend to have less anxious children And the opposite is true as well. Kids that are over parented tend to have poor coping skills.
Introducing Girls to Code
As a VP at Hackbright Academy, (the leading coding school for women) people always ask, “What is the best age to introduce my daughter to code?” My answer.… “As soon as possible!” The same goes for all the STEM sciences (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math.) It’s never to early to introduce a child to something new. The next question they ask is always– How?
Every child is different, but why not expose them to “all things science” early on in a fun way. There are: science museums, science based board games and video games, science based TV shows, experiments you can watch on Youtube, great tutorials by Khan academy, coding camps for kids, and the list goes on. The earlier any child is exposed to something new, the more it opens their eyes to possibility. It makes them curious about the world. First hand exposure is always a great tool and it provides a safe environment for children to ask questions if they are a bit shy.
The other day I passed a dad and daughter on the street. They were crouched down on the sidewalk looking at something. (I’d say the daughter was about 7 years old.) Once I got closer, I could see that they were inspecting an acorn. A very large and lonely acorn that seemed out of place on such a busy city street. Where did it come from? The dad was talking about what an acorn is, what it does, the shell, how it will spout, etc. He was also taking the time to answer all his daughter’s questions. It was a wonderful exchange and teachable moment that they were both clearly enjoying. He didn’t rush by the acorn on the sidewalk, he stopped and took notice of his daughter’s curiosity. He used the opportunity to teach her about nature. This type of time and patience helps ignite curiously in kids. So, introduce your child to code (or any science) when you are ready to dive in and be part of the conversation with them. If they see that you are engaged and curious then they will be too.
If you need help identifying some great reseources for your child, just reach out!
Visualization and Mindfulness for Teens and Tweens (guest blog)
Everyone has anxiety, including teens and tweens.
Anxiety is important.
It’s a natural reaction that our body has to a new situation. It serves as a basic survival function – like a warning system that alerts us whenever we perceive a dangerous experience.
But for some, it works over time and needs to be controlled- especially for young people.
These meditation techniques can help your tween or teen with anxiety, and give you the tools you need as a parent to help them overcome these challenges.
- Visualization– The tween/teen needs to talk about their anxiety in tangible ways. What does it look like? How big is it? Where does it live? What does it sound like? Eventually, they draw the anxiety as they see it and we talk about the details. Basically, have them paint a very vivid picture of their anxiety. The key is to get them to connect their anxiety to the painting instead of some scary elusive being next time the anxiety visits.
For more from this article, go to http://blog.sivanaspirit.com/visualization-mindfulness-teens-tweens/