Isn’t it the truth that just as your career begins to really take off, you also arrive at an age where you are responsible for ageing parents and/or time hungry teenagers? the demands of a business combined with the demands of GCSE’s and A levels plus subsequent and natural teenage rebellion have sometimes felt like the work/life balance is seriously out of whack in favour of home! I want to share some thoughts I had, today, on the spiritual lessons of parenting teenage children.
Hormones kick in at about the age of 15/16 and any relationship you thought you had with your son/daughter seems to morph into something unrecognisable. Struggle as you might, the mother/child bond seems to have been broken at best or turned into full scale war at worst. I believe this is a natural process and part of natures plan to make young emerging adults independent from their parents. Worry not if your child is in this phase. It will pass and they usually emerge as beautiful adults.
The key to any long term close relationship with our children is going to be dependent on our ability, as parents, to lead the family through the rapids. How do you do that when you are feeling stressed/pressurised and unfairly treated? I have learned that the only thing to do is be consistently firm on your own boundaries and loving and caring, no matter how unbalanced it might seem.
At this time, when we are being challenged in a way that we have never experienced before, and are under extreme stress, the reptilian brain kicks in and the fight or flight response emerges. The worst thing you can do to a rebellious teenager is fight or run. Both responses send an ‘I don’t care’ message that can exacerbate the situation. The spiritual lesson is this and it’s a hard discipline – stay put, stay loving, stay strong.
Can you sometimes make mistakes too and shout the roof off? Sure you can! You are a human being who isn’t perfect (nobody is) and children need to know, by your example, that they have permission to make mistakes too and it’s not the end of the world.
I was reflecting on all this today on my usual run with the little dog. I came to the conclusion that worry is a fear based activity and asked myself what difference it would make if every response came from love? Doggie and I ran through a farm and then into some woods. Just as I was making a great mental shift by asking myself a better quality question, I stepped….ankle deep, into mud. I laughed out loud because this song was playing on my i-pod (play it loud for your team if you’re allowed) was Mr E’s Beautiful Blues
How are you leading at home and at work? What are you worrying about? Do you recognise worry as a fear based response? What would you do differently if you weren’t afraid? How would your responses be different if you stepped back, took a deep breath, disconnected from your reptilian brain and came from love?
How can you re-frame a stressful situation by asking yourself a better quality question and moving your body in some weird and dramatic way? Go on – put a big smile on your face!
Leading at home makes leading at work look like a walk in the park!
Live a great week!