How do I help my teenager with hormones?

How do I help my teenager with hormones?

I think we all remember being a teenager and how difficult it was. There’s so much that goes on inside the teenage brain and body that it’s complicated and confusing for them. The biggest part of teenage hormones for parents is to have an understanding of how confusing it is for the teenger and how much they have on their plate. Hormones are evolution’s way of helping us create the mental and physical capacity to become an adult but  it can feel like a long road for teenagers.

The teenage years are a great time for parents to support their child to create a life that’s balanced. This includes nutrition, sleep, exercise, fun, being wild, taking risks, meeting responsibilities such as school and study. This doesn’t take place in a linear process. It’s important that conditions are created within the household for conversation and trust, so that the child can try out what being them may look and feel like.

Teenagers’ brains develop incredibly fast and this isn’t their fault. The risk taking part of their brain gets bigger which allows them to explore the world in a way in which perhaps their parents may not want. This is where the relationship that you’ve built with your child over the previous 13 or so years comes into its own and why so much of my work with parents is to help them get this relationship feeling right when children are younger as it pays dividends during the teenage years.  

Teenagers can have explosive emotions and whilst there is a line between expressing and violence consider how else can a person express difficult to manage emotions without them coming out in this way?  The reality is that they can’t. This is where keeping a life in balance really does help.  Exercise can help to release that build up of cortisol and adrenaline and help it be funneled into something constructive.

But what your teenager really needs from you is for them to be allowed to be themselves within the safety of your home. They need you to understand that this leap in development can be overwhelming and that they haven’t yet developed the skills for it to happen in a way that sometimes isn’t messy. Have any of us really?

You also don’t have to be held hostage to your teenager. Boundaries are so important and I can’t think of a more pressing one for us all than phones. No phones in the bedroom after a certain time at night is a basic boundary that I talk with many parents about. Everyone needs to develop the skills of switching off.

Many parents check their children’s phones which to be honest I’m unsure about.  Yes the younger children with phones need clear guidance and checking in with, but there does become a point where teengars need autonomy of their private life and parents need to trust in their child and the relationship they have together. There are excellent courses available about phones and safety and I suggest that all parents complete one so that you are armed with the information to make the correct decision.

But your teenager doesn’t need to see double standards.  You must keep to the boundaries too.  Perhaps it’s a nice time to take stock of your life, how you create balance and keep making strides forwards alongside your teenager.

If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting. If you’re looking for immediate parenting support, you can start your free 7 day trial in the Calm Parenting Club where you’ll find the answers to your parenting problems and be supported to become the parent and person’ you’d like to be.

I want a calmer house with fewer tantrums!

I want a calmer house with fewer tantrums!

A calmer house is the holy grail of parenting!  While it sounds lovely, it’s also important to be realistic. Children have developing brains so have not got the ability to be calm when upset and parents get triggered and respond in ways that fuel the upset.

The reader doesn’t say who is having the tantrums so let’s be very real about this and explore both parents and children’s ability to tantrum. The only way children can let people know they are not ok is by having big emotions that come out as tantrums.  Because of this, the first thing we are going to do is to reframe the expression tantrum to something more helpful. When a parent uses the word tantrum it often means that they are seeing this explosion of emotions as annoying, exhausting and something that they don’t want happening.

Try thinking to yourself, “my child is having a hard time”, “my child doesn’t know how to tell me what they need”, “my child is overwhelmed, upset or over stimulated”.  And then move to the action part of how to help them. When any of us are upset it doesn’t look pretty.  So move away from mentioning the actions that come with tantrums. The logic part of the brain isn’t available, so don’t try to talk and explain the rationale of what’s happening. Some of this is a waiting game.  Waiting until the children’s brains are developed enough to regulate, rationalise and understand what’s happening and then control the outcome of these big emotions we all suffer with.

So back to the question, how can you have a calmer house with less tantrums?  The great news is that there is so much that you can do to change what’s going on.  How you respond is the most crucial part of helping big emotions.  Do you shout, punish, roll your eyes or walk away?  Or can you let your child know in your facial expression, tone of voice and body language (they may not want you touching or talking to them) that you know they’re having a hard time?

When you help those big emotions feel safe you are teaching your child how to suffer and there’s no shame attached to it.  This can only take place if you’ve worked through your own triggers and what’s hard for you about the tantrums. A significant part of this difficulty in tolerating tantrums is that our bodies release memories of what it was like to be that age and parents repeat how they were treated.  Perhaps your body is remembering what it was like when you expressed big emotions and it feels deeply uncomfortable. This is where re-parenting the parent goes in tandem with raising a child.  

Can you soothe yourself alongside your child to make those experiences safe for you both?

Children are looking for predictable and consistent relationships with their parents. So perhaps you’ve to heal the part inside you that wasn’t treated consistently as a child. And take lots of breaks to stop throughout the day to fill your internal reservoir so that you’ve got the patience to tolerate the outbursts from everyone as the day goes on. 

If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting. If you’re looking for immediate parenting support, join us in the Calm Parenting Club, where you’ll find the answers to your parenting problems and be supported to become the parent and person’ you’d like to be.

How do I help my teenager with hormones?

My son is scared of me dying

Children experience many fears and I’m pleased that your child has come to you with this.  I remember when I was six waking up really upset that my Nan was going to die.  She didn’t die for another twenty years, but I remember that fear so vividly.

Death is like taxes; both inevitable and painful. However explaining this to a child has to be done delicately and authentically.  Being honest about death is important.  You can explain what death is “when the heart stops beating inside a body,” then put your child’s hand on your heart,feel and count how strong the beats are. If you’re unwell, perhaps with a diagnosis, you can reassure your child that “I am being taken care of and the Doctor etc  is doing all they can to help”.

Often with these big fears parents do too much explaining and exploring why.  Logic is a different language to the language of emotions, so using logic to try to remedy an emotion won’t work. Logic can be a distraction from experiencing  the feeling of fear.  With any big feeling we want children to experience feeling them. Trying to use empathy will really help “oh gosh, that’s a big fear” and then explaining (just a little) about how fear is for you. For example, you might say “fear makes me have loads of racing thoughts and stories in my head.  It can make my heart beat really fast and I can feel a bit panicky”.  Try to use simple words that make sense to a child and then stop.  Be with your child and see what comes.

Fear becomes safe when a child is with their parent, the emotion has been seen and validated and hung out with. The important part of this is that you let your child know that fear is normal and that “I am here to help you with it”.  The thought of your Mum dying is really scary if we think about it, but my impression is that the reader doesn’t want this to escalate and take over.

My therapeutic experience is that children have an uncanny way of mirroring back to the parent some part of their story which has yet been made emotionally safe within the adults.  Families are systems where one person’s experience impacts the others in that system and children will always mirror back to the family a piece of the puzzle that has yet to be remedied. So I’d ask the reader – “were you intentionally or unintentionally abandoned by your mother?”.  This might be physical or emotional. If the answer is yes, then your child is actually mirroring to you the part of you that is yet to be ok with this.

Healing this part of you will decrease your child’s worry.

If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting. If you’re looking for immediate parenting support, you can start your free 7 day trial in the Calm Parenting Club where you’ll find the answers to your parenting problems and be supported to become the parent and person’ you’d like to be.

How do I figure out how to discipline?

How do I figure out how to discipline?

This is a great question because it shows that you’re considering which values work within your family.  Your parenting is hugely influenced by the parenting you received which includes the discipline you received.

The first part of this to explore is, what does discipline mean to you and what are the outcomes that you’re hoping to achieve?  Every family I’ve met has different opinions on this so it’s important that parents take time together to work out and answer, “what’s the end goal here?”.

Here are three questions to answer:
1. Do you want your child to be punished?  

2. Do you want your child to hear that they are bold or bad?  

3. Do you want your child to know that we all make mistakes in life and that you’ll be there to help them?

When you’ve answered these questions, you’ll then be in a position to create actionable plans around the discipline within your household.  

Children need flexible boundaries,they need help in understanding what is right and wrong in situations across their lives. The important part of this for you to consider is the how: how are you going to help your child know how to be within the world? 

A great way of working this out is to take a moment to work out how you behave when your child misbehaves.  Do you get triggered, angry and shout when mistakes are made?  Is your child scared of you when you tell them something is wrong?  Or are you afraid of the emotional fallout from your child so avoid this?

Teaching your child to have emotions without shame is the biggest legacy a parent can ever pass to their child.  This is where taking time to work out discipline in your house is so very important.  Remember that children are looking for consistent and predictable relationships.  Can you be the same parent when your child has made a mistake and when you’re having fun with them?  Or do you change and show less understanding, compassion and be less helpful?

This is where so often parents fall down that rabbit hole of opening their mouths and their mother or father falls out. We’ve all been there and it doesn’t feel great!  Parenting is in your DNA and programmed from the generations of parents within your lineage.  But times have changed, we’ve more of an understanding of how children’s emotions develop and what they need to feel safe, secure and cared for.  

I often think of my Mum’s stories of when she was little and her buggy was left at the end of the garden and children walked past and minded her. That was the 1950’s and it simply wouldn’t be allowed now, but was normal then. My point is that the environment in which children are being raised has changed and discipline needs to mirror this.  Children always do better when a parent can use empathy and kindness towards anything they’ve made a mistake with.

Also, fast forward 10 or 15 years.  When your child is a teenager and they get into difficulty, do you want them to be able to phone you and ask for help?  Because this trusting relationship is formed now when they are younger and only happens if they know they can come to you without blame or criticism.

If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting. If you’re looking for immediate parenting support, you can start your free 7 day trial in the Calm Parenting Club where you’ll find the answers to your parenting problems and be supported to become the parent and person’ you’d like to be.

I want a calmer house with fewer tantrums!

How can I be a strong parent?

This question reminds me of the teenagers I’ve worked with over the years. The one thing they needed from their parents was to not  crumble when they told them about the difficulties they had in their lives.

This doesn’t mean that parents don’t experience an emotional reaction, you aren’t a robot!  What I mean is that when your child is struggling with something you pay attention to what they’re saying and you let them know that you will help them with it. It’s important to let your child know that no matter the problem they have, they can come to you as you will find a way to help. This doesn’t mean that you know all the answers. It could  mean getting outside help or upskilling yourself. 

On a day-to-day basis, being a pillar of strength is being consistent and predictable in your relationship with your child.  Do you respond in a similar way to situations?  Or can you react in a way that is sometimes explosive and sometimes calm?  Are your boundaries flakey or overly rigid?  

Working through your triggers, exploring your parenting default mode and undoing what no longer serves you means that you will have the emotional capacity to see, hear, understand and help your child.  You can only help them when you’re working through being a pillar of strength for the parts of yourself that you find tricky too. Parenting is always a multi  process of supporting yourself, minding your inner child and meeting your unmet needs as well as being there for your children too.

If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting. If you’re looking for immediate parenting support, you can start your free 7 day trial in the Calm Parenting Club where you’ll find the answers to your parenting problems and be supported to become the parent and person’ you’d like to be.

How can I help my child to sleep?

How can I help my child to sleep?

Functioning on little or no sleep is incredibly difficult, I remember those days well!  The reader doesn’t say how old their child is, but the same underlying principles apply to sleep for all children.  Children need consistent and predictable relationships with those who care for them so that their emotional development takes place through a lens of emotional safety. 

So what does this mean?  Children thrive on structures within a day which allow their lives to be consistent and predictable. This doesn’t mean things have to be the same all the time and I especially don’t mean having strict regimes in place.  Life is about finding that balance between having boundaries  and being relaxed.  It’s  so important that both parents agree on a similar way of parenting, From  my experience this is where things can get complicated for some families.

Both parents need to decide what to do based upon their  child’s behaviour. For example, is your child allowed to hop into bed with you at night if they wake or will they go back to their own bed?  Will you stay with your child till they are asleep or leave before?  Do you give your child the last drink/snack/trip to the bathroom when it’s bedtime or does this prolong the sleeping from taking place? 

Remember, consistency is key.  Play around with what’s right for you.  By consistency I mean not only in sleeping patterns, but also consistency in their relationship with you.  Are you able to be the same person with your child? Or can you change and be different in how you parent?  Do you try to apply the same boundaries each time or do they differ? Remember, it’s not about being rigid, flexibility is important. But your child needs to know that you are the same every day.

Developmentally if your child is a baby or toddler creating predictable sleeping times during the day and evening helps to create the consistency they need to allow their bodies to rest and create sleeping patterns.  Bedtime routines don’t have to be an elaborate set of activities, but children will always look for a simple connection with their caregivers. Night times also shed light on any worries that children have had throughout the day, and this is where the quality, not quantity, of parenting comes into play.  Have you seen or heard and validated your child in the quality way they need?

Finally,   you can do and say all the right things, but if your child is going through a spell of not sleeping then look after yourself.  If you’re on your knees with a toddler, baby or child who doesn’t sleep, try to tailor your day to mind your energy reserves.

Oh, and blackout blinds have been my saving grace too 😉

If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting. If you’re looking for immediate parenting support, you can start your free 7 day trial in the Calm Parenting Club., my online parenting community where you’ll get the answers to your parenting problems and you’re supported to be the parent, and person, you’d like to be.