Adolescence is Explore-essence

Having the emotions of an adult without the rationality of one… Does this sound like a problem? It tends to be for parents of teenagers.

Here’s some important questions for you to consider before moving on with therapy for your teen:

  • What is your approach when you come up against a problem?
  • What is your teen’s approach when they come up against a problem?
  • Who’s responsible for your teen’s emotions?
  • If you’re responsible for your teen’s emotions and your teen doesn’t get better, where does that leave you? Where does that leave your teen?

Let me tell you a little secret. Your teen doesn’t need to be “fixed”. They need support. Adolescence is explorescence. Exploration requires fluidity or flexibility for the necessary pains and bumps we make and experience as we discover. Teens sometimes find out who they are by being who they are not. Support, teaching, and loving correction is a more suitable and sustainable role for parents of teens. “Fixing” assumes the parent can obtain super human abilities to: right the wrongs the teen has experienced, control the environment, social climate, or the way the teen perceives those things; “fixing” may even assume that the parent has some ability to prevent future pain from occurring. In short, “fixing” assumes parents have a control that they simply do not have.

However, parents of teens do have influence.

Sometimes teens will choose to follow the influence of their parent, and in doing so, they are able to avoid pain. They own this accomplishment because they chose it. Other times the influence of the parent is ignored and the teen suffers. The teen owns this too. This is how we grow. Under the weight of our own accomplishments and failures, not the accomplishments and failures of another who seeks to control us; no matter the motive.

We parents are powerful, but not powerful enough to control the emotional experience of another person. And because our power is limited by another’s ability to choose, our role as a parent changes from “fixing” to coaching.

Watch this video for a shortened version of a more healthy role and approach to parenting a teenager:

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