Parent Coach for Moms of Teens: Fern Weis
We have the power to aggravate the people we love and vice versa.
We have so much at stake that even the slightest tone or gesture can bring out the worst in all of us. And when it comes to our kids, we’re so invested in their wellbeing that anything can be a trigger.
Do you get caught up in your child’s words and attitudes, taking everything at face value? It works in reverse, too. They take everything you do and say to heart. It’s toxic.
As a child, I believed that my parents (and all adults) were speaking the truth; that I had to take it seriously. Now I understand they were telling the truth as they understood it in the moment.
Now I know that what we say reflects what’s happening in our hearts and minds. We often react (from emotion) rather than responding (being thoughtful).
“We humans are driven by our emotions.”
Driven By Our Emotions:
While I come from the parenting perspective, remember that what follows applies to almost all relationships.
When it comes to your children, understand that what you hear and see is rarely accurate. There is often turmoil on the inside. We humans are driven by our emotions.
Many teens aren’t capable of managing their emotions; they may come out as apathy, anger, withdrawal, or downright rudeness.
What We Feel, They Feel:
What do you imagine they are really feeling and trying to say? I don’t claim to be an expert on the inner workings of the teen mind; however, I am sure of this:
What we feel, they feel. What we need, they need.
Here are some educated guesses about what they’re thinking:
*You have control. I am powerless.
*I’m worried/hurting/frustrated. Please listen to me.
*I’m out of control. Please help me calm down.
*Love me, don’t criticize me.
*It kills me to admit it, but I need you.
*Please don’t turn your back on me. To me that means you don’t love me.
“What they need is for you to be an anchor to calm and sanity.”
These are clues that kids are struggling, and may not even understand what’s bothering them. What they need is for you to be an anchor to calm and sanity.
Here Are Three Tips To Love More And Argue Less:
- PAUSE: This is not the time to be thinking of an answer. Take time to calm both you and your child down. Ask yourself, “What did my teen do to set me off? Words, refusal to cooperate, an attitude? Was I worrying or feeling unappreciated?”
- EMPATHIZE: What feeling is hidden beneath their words? Are they tired, scared, lonely? Do they worry about disappointing you? Look deeper into their head and heart, and lead with compassion instead of anger.
- ACKNOWLEDGE/REFLECT: Let them talk. Then share what you think you heard.
- It sounds like you’re really struggling.
- That must have been (frustrating, exhausting, scary)
- I hear how disappointed you are.
Remember, you don’t have to agree with what they’re feeling.
We all have emotions and they are valid, regardless of what anyone thinks. Be home base for your child. Be predictable and stable. Recognize that no matter their behavior, you are where they want you and need you to be. Give them the chance to express their deepest feelings. Let them come home to you.
About the Author:
Fern Weis is a Parent Empowerment Coach for Moms of Teens and a Family Recovery Coach. She’s also a wife, former middle school teacher, and the parent of two adult children who taught her more about herself than she ever could have imagined.
Fern partners with moms of teens and young adults, privately and in groups. She helps them grow their confidence to build strong relationships and emotionally healthier kids who become successful adults. She knows first-hand that when parents do the work, the possibilities for change are limitless; that it’s never too late to start; and you don’t have to do it alone. Learn more about Fern at www.fernweis.com.