Rolled eyes. Deep sighs. Glares and the silent treatment may be part of your glorious differentiating, individuating teen. It means your teen is moving away from you and defining off your example, as they should in their stage of development. Even if you have seen your guru, practice self-care, pray, meditate, read your scriptures, identified your triggers, aligned your chakras, your teen’s movement away from you can be sometimes uncomfortable, disheartening, maddening or scary. Nevertheless, it is possible to support their growth, let go and enjoy the ride, even if it gets bumpy. It may help to understand the different positions parents and teens occupy in the social order.
Popular culture calls this breach between understandings, the generation gap. Since cars were invented and teens asked for the keys on weekends and had a separate time away from parents, teens have been creating their own culture. Rock and roll was born as a result! Today teens create their own language, meanings and of course music. Teen culture and various subcultures are dynamic and ever-changing. It flies at the speed of the internet through social media. In other parts of the world, the generations are not so divided. While the amount of time spent with each other daily is greater in tribal cultures when compared to our own Western culture, are we doomed to be disengaged as parents and teens?
No! We have choices. We can consciously co-create the relationships we need.
Co-creating is a sociological and business term about relationships. Each party in a relationship shares the responsibility for the relationship and is empowered to influence the relationship. Co-creation happens all the time unconsciously. Unconscious co-creation occurs when mom or dad decide it’s not worth the battle to remind their teen for the third time to take out the trash and they do it themselves. In the new sociology of childhood, children are seen as co-creators of relationships, family culture, and community culture. Their role is obviously different than that of adults but their influence as what sociologists call “social actors” is powerful. Co-creation is a conscious effort between teens and parents to be fully involved in jointly defining the relationship.
To use the power of conscious co-creation simply means building a positive relationship by the way you choose to communicate. Empowering communication clearly shares the value that both parents and teens are responsible for the relationship.
Even if we do our psychospiritual homework and try to communicate from the heart, most of us did not grow up with conscious communication patterns, we may not have role models or examples of how to communicate this way. The following is an example lifted from my own life. The first is an unconscious conversation which many of us know all too well. The last conversation is a conscious conversation using co-creative communication skills.
Kim is a punk rocker in a town with no punk rockers. She is tall, thin, beautiful and has soulful deep blue eyes. She has punk cut, blue hair and feels most at home in a mosh pit. Even though her hair and look scream, “pay attention,” she is quite shy. Music helps her cope with her parents and stepparents. She is sick of hearing about her clothes from her stepmother. What do they know anyway?
Unconscious Conversation: Kim’s Clothes Battle
Stepmom: So, what were you thinking of wearing to Emily’s (older stepsister) wedding?
Kim: I want to wear that simple black dress you bought me last fall. I can accessorize it.
Stepmom: No! You don’t wear black to a daytime wedding. I know you! You will want to
wear combat boots with it.
Kim: Yes! And black nail polish and dark eye and lip make up (with a sarcastic tone).
Stepmom: No! I forbid it. Wait till your father hears about this.
Kim: Fine. I just won’t go.
Conscious Conversation: Kim’s Style, An Invite and Open-Mindedness
Stepmom: So, what were you thinking of wearing to Emily’s wedding?
Kim: I thought I would wear that black dress you bought me last fall and accessorize it.
Stepmom: Most etiquette books say that black for a daytime wedding isn’t appropriate. How do you feel about a shopping trip to see what we can find?
Kim: So, you want to take me shopping because you don’t want me to embarrass you? Active Listening Skill to Confirm Meaning
Stepmom: No. I want to take you shopping because you need something new. You have grown since we went shopping last. Clarification of Meaning
Kim: Ok. I’d like that. Thanks. But I don’t think we will agree about what’s appropriate. I feel disrespected when you “dis” my style. I-Message
Stepmom: I don’t disrespect you, Kim. We just don’t agree sometimes about the appropriateness of your style. We will never know about a compromise dress if we don’t go shopping and take a look at what’s out there. Let’s try to keep an open mind and try to find something that works for both of us.
Using contentious co-creative communication skills is empowering for all involved. Your teen feels heard and empowered while you, as parent share responsibility for the relationship. These exchanges can also prepare your teen to communicate as a young adult.
Learning and practicing with each other is a process. My daughters and I had to learn to laugh with one another as we practiced, even though sometimes it took us a while to find the laughter. I also learned to celebrate progress, not perfection. Most importantly, each other.
It’s 2020 and everyone is talking about transformation. You are overwhelmed and maybe a little scared. You have a tween, teen or launching young adult!
- Perhaps you are tired of walking on eggshells around your tween, teen or launching young adult?
- Maybe it’s the disrespectful communication from your teen or teen drama, that triggers you?
- Or are you secretly afraid your child won’t make it as an adult?
I felt all of this and more until I awakened to a new mindset and practiced respectful communication skills. The more I tried to control my two young daughters when they first entered their tween years, the more friction and distance their was between us. When I learned to share vulnerably from my heart with them, they drew closer to me and sought my counsel and support naturally.
I learned to listen so my teen daughters would open up and I learned how to share my heart in an authentic way that made them want to listen to me.
In fact, those former triggers I had about sassiness and teen drama, became the things we used to connect deeply. I learned how to read the “disrespect” I perceived as their own fear, and we got to the root of it, together. I learned when to engage and when to let go. We grew closer as a result. I was able to support their launch into young adulthood.
It wasn’t always easy and it was sometimes messy. There was a divorce and family illness in the mix and the time I spent as a single parenthood was tough. But today we have honest, mutually respectful relationships. Even as young adults they seek my advice.
I want to support your parenting journey and offer you the mindset and skills that I learned to you, to help you grow the close relationship you long for with your child at every step of their development and I want to support you to learn how to grow your own rich relationship with yourself so you are ready when they launch to enjoy all life has to offer.
What is Relationship Coaching for Parents and Tweens, Teens or Launching Young Adults?
Coaching sessions occur online at a time convenient to you. You learn how apply the communication skills I teach to not only support your teen’s growth but grow ways to become your most authentic self.
I am passionate about helping parents and teens co-create the relationships they truly long to build together. That’s why I became a parent coach to help families (even those in difficult times of transition) to cultivate a more peaceful home by communicating heart to heart. The approach is called conscious co-creation. It focuses on growing the awareness and skills that parents and teens need to jointly build the relationship that work for both. I can help you get Back on Track with your tween or teen.
Recently, I’ve been helping teens launch to college or their next stage of life also. It includes making adjustments to college life.
What issues do you deal with?
Parent and Teen Relationship Coaching: I help establish respectful communication and overcome communication barriers and breakdown.
For Parents: I help parents in conflict, navigating divorce, co-parenting, single parenthood and how to embrace and enjoy your empty nests.
For Tweens, Teens and Young Adults: I help with parent problems, homework hassles, digital dangers, dating and substance abuse. I am also a chemical dependency counselor. I have even helped teens deal with the pressures of college life or a new job.
How Can I Help You?
I offer individual or group coaching packages. I have also written a book with sample conversations of conscious communication and exercises at the end of each chapter, titled How to Raise Respectful Parents: Better Communication for Teen and Parent Relationships
What can I expect?
No blame, just support, skills building and a few suggestions for a complicated world! I offer a free Back on Track Assessment Call. If we are a match, you can enter private coaching or online group coaching.
Contact me at 956-250-3689 or email, Laura@LauraLReagan.com. If time is of the essence, consider my course, Tune Into Your Teen by Tuning Into Yourself. You can find it in The Family Alchemists University.
What are other parents saying?
Laura has helped me tremendously as a parent coach! My teen son and I were estranged following difficulties with his father. And the counselor we were going to, was unable to coach me to be able to reach my teen, beyond the fences and hurt walls that he’d placed between us. Laura stepped in and with great kindness, understanding and wisdom, was able to get me to change my entire approach to parenting my teen son. Our relationship underwent a radical change as I started implementing her suggestions and advice, and he and I are now affectionate with each other, communicating about big and small matters, without any blocks, and building trust again, thanks to Laura’s knowledge and coaching, she has so professionally, kindly and generously shared with me. -Priya B., mother of teen son
Laura was a Godsend to me. With all I learned, I feel a sense of calm empowerment for the first time in YEARS! I even feel a sense of calm about my teens’ future. Before, I felt my life was flooded in chaos, but she helped me practice positive communication skills that conveyed my heart. I always looked forward to our next session. I highly recommend her! -Linda E., mother of twin teen daughters