Live with intent, take time, have patience and gain a new perspective. See how having a relationship with your teen can change both of your lives. Say goodbye to status-quo.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Validation, Validation, Validation

Our kids need it. Us adults need it. It's Psychology 101.

to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to move forward
authenticate, verify, heard

It's super simple:when our kids share how they FEEL, we listen
and make sure we let them know that we have heard them, and
that their feelings are OK and acceptable no matter what. Their gonna feel
a lot and they need OUR help in navigating through their feelings.

For instance if our kids share something that might offend us or hurt us--meaning
they share their feelings about something involving us-due to something we might have done, we need to accept that too. Even if they are wrong or off base, (we can get to that later), but
FIRST THINGS FIRST, validate how they feel.
They need this from us like we need AIR.

Our kids have to know that what they feel and think is OK and understandable.
This is why I am so passionate about viewing our kids as humans. Not just our children,
but HUMAN children, if that makes any sense, haha. They have feelings and emotions that stem from deeper issues, they make mistakes, they are flawed etc. etc. just like us.

If you ask a child how something makes them feel or what is wrong for example an event where someone teased them, or a teacher that was rude or short with them, OR you as a parent raising your voice or yelling at them during homework or because they didn't do all their chores. WHATEVER the case may be, it's vital, vital that they know it's OK how they feel about it. They may feel angry at you, frustrated by confusion, and sad due to being teased or misunderstood in some way. And it's important for them to share that with us.


-What did I do to make you feel this way?
-I understand how that must make you feel.
-Do you feel this way every time ________?
-I am so sorry that you are feeling this way, it's OK though, I want to make it better.
-That must be scary, I didn't realize I was raising my voice so often, I will work on it.


-Don't be silly!
-That's ridiculous, don't feel that way.
-Oh forget about it, you're fine.
-Get over it.
-But, well, you see, because, etc. etc...

Our kids are most likely not going to come to us, at least in the earlier years, so we have got to make a point to ask them if we sense chaos in our relationship. I mean our kids' brains aren't fully developed until they are 26 years old or something crazy like that--so they can't grasp concepts that we can as adults. We need to remember that.

If we don't remember to use validation--our kids will shut down. I mean think about our marriages. Can you imagine if we didn't validate our spouses feelings? If we just steam rolled(by this I mean ignoring or discounting, debating) right over their feelings without recognizing them, or labeling them as important?
You can disagree with your partner or kid all you want, but you still need to validate how they feel. Because that's just it, it's how THEY feel, not how YOU feel. You'll get your turn.

We will do so much good for our kids if we validate their feelings. They will gain confidence, and have a good self esteem, because they will feel good about being a people in this world by knowing that what they feel is normal, and valid. It might not always be what's REAL, but they will learn that eventually. For now, they just need to know it's OK. They need to know we hear them, and that we want to help offer solutions for what they are feeling.

They will eventually most likely share more of who they are without fear. And they will live what they learn, so they will validate important people in their life. How cool is that?!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Remember, You've Been There

I promise you can relate to your teenager.

Just think.

If they share with you an issue that is going on in their life, you've got to
embrace it.
I'm tellin you, no matter how embarrassing it feels or how uncomfortable you get,
and no matter how inclined you are to want to bolt, just stay. Breathe.

I had one of these moments yesterday with my daughter. I won't get into detail but I can tell you I wanted to FLEE.
BUT, I quickly remembered that she is opening up to me, and that is to be cherished and I didn't want to ruin the moment.

It was one of those topics that you'd prefer to avoid, but you know you can't as a parent.
So I used the tactic of going back in my brain to when I was her age, and how I went through something similar. It saved the moment! I retreated back to a time when I felt the way she did and when I had done something similar, and instead of being judgmental and controlling, I told her that I had been there, and that I understood. I was able to "go back in time" quickly enough to help her.

In remembering that I had been there too, I could offer advice and insight that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to. Knowing that I had been through something so similar made me normal. It showed her what I had learned from the situation. She was so super grateful for the new perspective I could give her. Because that is,
after all, mostly what our kids need, new perspectives. (I'll be blogging on this soon)

I know there are times when you feel like you can't relate to your teenager, but I submit to you that you CAN. It's just a matter of us going back in time, and remembering that you've probably felt, done, and seen all or more of what they have-
-so tap into that, take advantage of that, make that work in your favor, so in turn it works in their favor.

It's a win win for both of you. You will have kept your cool as a parent, yet guided and helped your kid--and they will have learned to trust you just a bit more and more than likely come back to you for more insight.

Our teenagers are not aliens like most people think. I mean, honestly I think teenagers get a bad rap.

You've been their age before so how can you
not relate? Find a way. Our kids need us to get on their level; we need to gain their trust, it's not just us needing to gain their trust.

So take a trip down memory lane, and find a way to connect with your kid.
And remember--you've been there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Share 2 Things

Sometimes there can be awkward silences or even a lull in conversation when it comes to us and our teenagers.

When this happens I use this slick trick called "share 2 things". I'll ask my daughter when there doesn't seem to be much to talk about at the time, or if she's being quiet for longer periods of time than normal:

Share 1 thing with me in your mind and
share 1 thing with me in your heart.

She seemed to dig the idea, and it was an easy way for her to open up, which led to conversation and relationship building. It gave me more insight, and it showed her that I am continually interested and open to chatting, and that I care about what's going on in that mind and heart of hers.

She was more than willing to share, and it was entertaining for me to see her have to think about what she was going to share!

This is something that could even be done daily and even with younger kids--try it and comment to let me know how it went.