Often, parenting can feel bewildering, complicated, confusing. It can feel like any approach we take has benefits along with serious draw-backs. Are there right answers? Isn't there a manual for this?!
Every once in a while, I'll come across something that makes parenting feel simple and straightforward. The video below, while basic, is a reminder of foundational aspects of parenting kids ages two months, or four year, or 18, or 40.
Here are some of my take-aways (I swapped "child" for "teen"):
Show love in ways your teen likes
If you don't know how your teen likes to receive messages of love, ask!
Spend time with your teen doing activities they are drawn to
If you've gotten the message that your teen doesn't want to spend time with you, perhaps you're suggesting the wrong activity. If you're not sure what an enjoyable activity would be for your child, ask!
Tune into your teen to help them understand their emotions
The job of a parent isn't to make hard emotions go away, it's simply to help our teens recognize and be aware of hard emotions.
Share how you feel and respond to your emotion
Parents don't have to be happy all the time. In fact, demonstrating a range of emotions and sharing how we cope with those emotions can be incredibly helpful for the emotional development of our teens.
Be a sanctuary for your teen to return to
This one brings tears to my eyes! What a simple, beautiful, elegant thing to do for our teens. How does something so straightforward get lost along the way? Return to it. Be a sanctuary.
Friendships are how teens will begin to grow their circle of care
The whole point of this parenting thing is to prepare our kids leave the nest one day. By honoring and encouraging teens' friendships, we ready them for that eventual departure from us.