This summer was a season of unknowns. I felt untethered, unsure, and unsteady most of the time. Frankly, it kind of sucked.
And now the summer is over.
There is comfort in being back in the routine of school, though as I look honestly at myself, I see that I’m in a new set of unknowns. Lovely. Gotta love the one constant in life: change.
Today we’ve got a teen’s perspective on a season of unknowns.
Teen Speak: Notes to Self When Life is Changing
This list Robin has made here is definitely one to take note of. I don’t speak for all teens and I wouldn’t dare try, but perhaps a teen’s take could be useful, so here are my thoughts on how you can support us when life is changing:
- It kind of feels/seems like many kids are their parents’ vehicle for reliving their younger days as the parent(s) would have wanted instead of how their kid might want to live. If your kid hates math with a passion, don’t set them up to be an engineer because that’s what you wish you could have been. Your kid will figure out what they want to do for themselves. A little guidance doesn’t hurt if they want it or if you keep it as a suggestion, but otherwise, let them live their own lives.
- As much as I know you want to, you can’t wrap your kid in bubble wrap to protect them from everything this world might throw at them. It’s a sweet notion, but a kid growing up in sheltered isolation will only enter the world less prepared. I don’t know about you, but I would personally rather learn how to handle pain and struggle while living at home where there is built in support than off on my own, overwhelmed by yet another new experience.
- Experiences — good, bad, or otherwise — are probably the most important learning tools. Living life is like trial and error constantly; you find out what doesn’t work and you change and try again until it does. Without experiences, we have no path to growth.
- We understand that some things aren’t easy to talk about, but communication is key to a healthy relationship with anyone. Please try even if we don’t seem interested or even if you feel uncomfortable. This allows less room for lies, secrets, and hidden emotions. Not to mention, opening up this room for conversation brings about more trust and faith in the other person (and please take note: this is a two way street). You will trust your kid more and your kid will feel more comfortable coming to you with something.
- You can try to lay out a path for your kid but even the yellow brick road was made of bricks that gave a bumpy ride every once in a while. Life won’t always be smooth sailing (and often may not be). What’s important is learning how to handle curveballs and allowing yourself open-mindedness and the ability to adapt quickly. Do this yourself — it’ll help us get an idea of how it’s done.
- Happiness needs to begin within. Only you know what makes you happy and so to depend on someone else for what you need seems ridiculous in that logic. Everyone else is too busy keeping themselves maintained to maintain your happiness too. That’s your job and if you place that responsibility solely onto another person, you will be disappointed eventually. (Parents: This is an important one to model for us, too!)