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When your child becomes a teenager

Have you already got one?

You are probably wondering what age your child needs to be to qualify as a teenager?

I heard last week that the brain starts to change before we add “teen” to their birthday number.

That’s what I’m going to address in this post.

Things are changing in my “tween’s” life.

You are probably familiar with the term tween (time period between young childhood and teenage years).

This is where I was parenting the last few years.

For the last couple of months, the boundary keeps being pushed out.

I came across these horses the other day and that’s what I feel I am up against.

The fence is keeping the horses safe so they won’t gallop into traffic, created by us and yet they want to be free.

Apologies if you think I am comparing children to horses.

Horses are probably easier to train?

I am only joking, as I know nothing about equestrian challenges.

I just thought it was so symbolic when I am currently drafting an agreement for my 12-year-old in preparation of receiving her first mobile phone, next year.

The question I am asking is: how do I keep my children safe while at the same time giving them unlimited access to the world?

If you have found some answers, please share them with me.

I have been saying for years that the ’screen-monster-challenge’ is here to stay and we can only come up with healthy boundaries as a parenting community together.

What I am learning as a first time parent of a becoming teenager is that all my fears of the rebellious teenage brain seem to turn into reality.

As I remember - being a teenager is damn hard.

You are being looked down on for wanting to be more of an adult and yet have not enough life experience to be an adult.

What was your experience as a teenager?

I fell into the ‘retreat to my room category’.

You have a very introverted view of the world from there.

My time was spent comparing myself to the 'cool kids' and not wanting to socialise.

Living in a teenage body can be so challenging.

You are half child, half grown up.

What goes unnoticed is the ability for teenagers to contribute something new to this world.

In Germany, we refer to this period as ’Sturm und Drang’ which is a time of huge inside fire and creativity.

Dr. Dan Siegel whose seminar I attended in Cork a few years ago, considers this time span from 12-24: the most innovative time in our lives.

He explained that we are wasting a huge resource by not allowing the adolescent brain to do what it does best.

This neurobiologist, paediatrician and clinical professor of psychiatry says that if we want to live happier, healthier and longer lives as adults, we simply need to mirror our teenagers’ role modelling and approach life like them.

Equipped with this memory of his talk, I am choosing to look at the pruning of my children’s brains through a completely different lens.

The past couple of weeks have left me feeling very helpless when it came to my adolescent’s behaviour.

You can imagine that the idea of evolution had to be for the next generation to reject all that came before.

How else would something new be created if the status quo wasn’t challenged every now and then?

My parenting was thrown overboard when having a child who simply made choices that triggered all my own insecurities.

What I mean is that not so age-appropriate manoeuvre was acted out on and I couldn’t remember my own view of the world from back then.

In my head, I found myself saying what adults said all the time when I became a teenager and it was annoying beyond belief.

Unfortunately, it does not translate into English very well but let’s just say it was involving a drum and a Christmas tree.

Having a teenager who doesn’t follow into your footsteps, finds you probably more alone than you thought it would.

In my case I am inviting these triggers and I am exploring with my child together whether this novelty seeking interest could bring something new into my life, too?

What you have managed to avoid before your child’s adolescence kicks in, is probably not staying hidden for too much longer.

Have you ever wondered about that?

When I allowed for more space to what I had resisted so much; suddenly things changed.

Working through my own blocks and becoming aware of my own truth, freed me from causing a more rebellious development in my child - for now.

Have a lovely week and live as if you were a teenager.

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