When you have a stressed-out teen it can really cause a huge uproar in an otherwise happy home.
You know those days…where one of your teens is showing signs of distress. The mood is shifty. Eyes are squinty. Various doors throughout the house are being closed much more abruptly than normal.
In short, emotional fluctuations were causing disruptions in the force.
You’d be surprised what simply sitting down with your teen and asking “Are you alright?”
Let me be super clear that I am not a parenting expert, I do not have any superpowers other than motherhood, I work too much, and make at least one parenting mistake a week.
BUT I have had enough experience by now to know that there are a few things that I need to say and tell my teens when we have days like this.
I love you
Reminding them that I love them is the first and most important thing I can say. It’s the most important thing you can say. Even if everyone in the home knows they love each other, saying it out loud is incredibly important to any difficult situation.
Take a deep breath
Slow breath in and out. Repeat. You might have to force yourself to do what feels like the exact opposite of what you want to do but it helps to hit the pause button. When we reset the racing mind we can fix the problem, not feed it.
I’m Already Proud of You
How I feel about you does not hinge on this test, this paper, or this situation. I’m proud of you regardless of the grade you get or whether you get the job you want.
Apart from any of this, I’m proud of who you are and who you are becoming. I’m proud of how far you’ve come and the effort you put into everything you do.
I’m proud that you’ve come to me with this issue, problem, or mistake to ask for help.
This is not your whole story
Whatever is going on right now is only happening right now. And it is not all that will ever be in your life. This may be a really rough time but there’s more today and more to tomorrow than this.
There may be consequences to your current situation but this is only a chapter in the novel of your life. And I will walk this path with you as long as needed.
How you feel in this moment is not how you’re going to feel forever
You’re not going to be stuck here for the rest of your life. This is not your new normal. Getting to the other side may feel like an eternity, but at some point, you’ll suddenly realize you’re looking back at this instead of straight at it.
You will be stronger for walking this path, feeling these moments, and overcoming these struggles.
Remember how you’ve gotten through tough times before
This isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way. And it won’t be the last. But so far, you have a success rate of 100% of surviving things you thought you’d never get through.
Don’t let this current situation make you forget your past success.
Just do the next thing
Do the next reasonable thing you can figure out to do. The next thing that NEEDS to be done. The next thing that seems to be wise and productive. Do the next ONE thing, not the next ten things.
Take this overwhelming problem and split it into tiny digestible bites that feel conquerable.
Is there anything I can do to help?
I know you have to figure this out on your own. I know that I can’t do it for you. I know it’s not my job to fix it.
But if there is something I can and should do to help you get from here to there, tell me, and I’ll try to do it. I’ll be right here waiting for you to tell me exactly what you need. And if it’s in my power to help, I will try.
How about some ice cream?
Or pizza? Or ice cream and pizza? They’re called comfort foods for a reason.
Use these. Save these. Remember. You can’t solve all of your child’s problems. You can’t even solve some of them.
Building and maintaining a relationship with teens can be incredibly difficult when they are going through so much growing and reaching. There is never a bad time to work on building that relationship with your teens. Being present for your teen when they are stressed-out will form stronger relationships. It’s never a bad time to start. And no matter how many mistakes you make as a parent there is never a bad time to try.
What do you tell your stressed-out teen and who needs guidance?