Why is the blog titled, “Taming the Turmoil”? In my interaction with thousands of teenagers and their parents, teens often feel turmoil about so many areas of their lives. Turmoil over friends, significant others, grade point averages, courses to take, family concerns, social media, performance in athletics, “what do I want do be”, and the list goes on and on. While I do believe there are peaceful moments in teens’ lives, it has become evident that this stage has become one containing uneasiness, worry, and doubt.
What I hope to share through this blog is most importantly tools or ideas for teenagers and the adults who care about them that will help navigate them through these years with as little turmoil as possible. Also, I hope to share the reality of teen life today. With this information, I hope that the adults who care about teens would be able to be more understanding and feel more confident about being able to help teens. I believe this information will help teenagers by normalizing much of what they are feeling and assist them with experiencing this phase of their lives while experiencing a wide array of emotions.
I certainly do not consider myself as someone with all of the answers or as someone who has it all figured out. To be honest, many days I question if I’m even doing this “parenting” thing well or “counseling” thing well at all. What I do know is what I have seen and heard and experienced as I’ve listened to thousands of teens and even parented two of my own. And I can tell you that through it all, there are times I feel like I am walking in a minefield and times when I am in a beach chair at the ocean. Such wide spread experiences, emotions, and reactions that can change without warning and I often imagine that this may very well be how a teenager experiences life today.
So, about my own parenting experiences. We are big believers in “It takes a village” and we have been very selective about who is in our village. With all of the facets of adults’ lives today, I believe it is nearly impossible to effectively parent in isolation. We have a group of family and friends who are a part of our village. At times, I often wonder how we were so lucky to have these people in our lives but I also know we chose them and they chose us. There are plenty of people we could have chosen from but we chose the best. You may ask, “why did you chose the ones you did?” They are capable of loving deeply and unconditionally. They are very real and address things in their lives head on. They are not the “put your head under the rug” sort of folks. They are not perfect, they are human. And they have the same beliefs we do about raising kids. It may seem the list of criteria is very simple but what I know to be true is that it is hard to find today. That is how we are lucky.
We also believe that our marriage will come first. Now that is not to say that when there is a crisis for one of our children, that it does not become the priority at that time. However, we have continued to work on our marriage and enjoy each other as a couple. We take time for each other and look forward to it very much. My husband and I are very close and our children and even some of their friends have told us that one day they hope to have the kind of marriage we do. Perfect? No. We have certainly had our difficult times but the only option for us during those times is to work through it. To improve our marriage and our lives. We believe there is no other way out of it. We do not believe in walking away. So, our children very much feel secure about our relationship and our family. While I also realize that successful, healthy people have been raised in families where their parents were not married, I do believe that this creates some complications and issues that parents and children have to address and overcome in order to have less turmoil in their lives and feel secure in their families.
One of the most valuable things we can give our kids and the teens we care about, is listening with our mouth staying closed. This has been hard for me to learn especially with my own children. I want to give them “words of wisdom” to help them avoid painful situations. I don’t want to see them struggle and so I begin my “rants” or “lecture” and they shut down. It is not what they need. They just want someone to listen to them talk through their thoughts, decisions, doubts, worries, etc. without stopping them and giving them advice or opinions. When they want advice or opinions, trust me they will ask for it. I have so often had teens ask me “what should I do?”. It will become clear to you when they need your input but until then, just listen and let them talk. It will do wonders for your relationship with them.
As I mentioned earlier, I hope to offer insight and ideas to assist teens and those who care about them to find ways to enjoy these years with much less turmoil. I would like to use this blog as a way to share what I have discovered and learned and I hope you will find it is a place where you can provide feedback about your own experiences. In addition, I hope you will use my blog to seek out information and make requests about topics you would like me to address. My goal is to provide a weekly post but selfishly I hope I find some time to write more and provide additional posts. Thanks for your time and reading my first post. Please feel free to share my blog with others and of course, share your feedback. 🙂