It may feel as if your once cute and adorable child has suddenly flicked a switch, turning overnight into a grunting mass of moodiness and hormones. And you may be wondering just who this stranger is living in your midst. Underneath all the teenage angst is the child they once were. They’re struggling themselves to find their core. And you, as their guide, are in a beautiful position to parent pro-actively.
It probably doesn’t feel like it, yet you possibly know them better than they know themselves at this point in their lives. From an outside perspective, you can watch this beautiful human emerge from the cocoon of their teenage years and know that their moodiness and struggles are simply temporary. In the long term, they’ll be okay.
That’s a very important and powerful thing to know. When times are rough, it’s the parent’s job to be able to keep the faith. To say to your teenager, “This isn’t quite where I thought we’d be right now, and I know we’re going to learn lots from this. I love you. I see you. I’m here to support you. How can I help?”
You may already realise that recovering from anxiety and depression is not going to be a quick and painless process. Despite all the marketing messages you have seen, you may now realise there is no ‘magic pill’ that will flick a switch in their brain, instantly reversing their brain chemistry from sad to happy. And you will hopefully understand that no one can cure them except themselves. They will be better when they’re better. It’s a long term process.
What can I do? How can I help?
Accept where you’re at. Drop the long term expectations for the future and focus on what you can do now, to help. It may be going for a walk together. Or planning and cooking dinner together. Or it might be looking into counselling for your teenager. Be guided by their thoughts as well as your own.
Find a coach/counselor/ therapist to guide and support you. Having a safe, confidential adult space to share your worries and to get direction from is invaluable. The stronger you are, and the more confidently you show up in your life, the better your teenager will be. Join support groups to be connected with other parents in the same situation as you. Just knowing you’re not alone makes an enormous difference.
You can try lots of different approaches to find the ones that work best for your teen. Look at the best ways to guide your teenager and see what appeals to them. You may try naturopaths, homeopathy, reflexology, massage, acupuncture … there’s lots of alternative forms of treatment which will work in a unique combination for your teen. You know your teenager well, use that knowledge constructively.
Yes, this is a difficult time. Keep talking to them and hold their hope. When they can no longer see their light, you get to show them where to look. That’s a privilege.
And as you move through this tricky time, together you will emerge stronger for it. You will be able to guide them into young adulthood with a strong knowledge of how they show up in the world. Our parenting journeys never end, they just change. What you say and do counts, make it future proof and proactive.
Have you considered going on the waiting list for the next Bit-by-Bit course? Group coaching for you, with other parents AND group coaching for your teen with other teens – separate sessions, complementary topics.