My whole day was dictated by my teenager’s mood.
On his bad days, we referred to him as ‘the eyebrow’, a furrowed shelf shading his green/grey eyes that made it clear he was angry, upset, struggling and not available for conversation (AKA steer clear!).
I felt horribly out of control as a recovering rescuer which triggered my anxiety and I’d try to ‘fix’ him. What’s worse, he and I triggered each other. Many days I’d be frustrated about something (it used to happen often) and upset his need for calm and he’d lash out at me.
It was exhausting.
As a highly expressive, emotionally based person, I felt invalidated and angry that I couldn’t have a bad day. Ironically, he felt the same way. We were trapped in a cycle of reaction, fueled by each other’s emotions and nowhere to let off the steam.
Be the thermostat not the thermometer.
When your teen’s emotions are overflowing, your primal instinct is to remove the discomfort. That emotional reaction has you both hijacked rather than a response where you’re available to listen and validate their feelings.
They need a safe place to process, not a conversation. You don’t need to fix or solve them.
Here’s the two keys to ending this pattern:
- Emotional boundaries. Owning your feelings without also trying to manage or own your teen’s lowers the expectation of yourself (because you can only ever manage your own feelings) to be more present for your teen. They burn through their emotional fuel faster and get to what’s underneath instead of remaining on fire.
- Emotional regulation. Effectively communicating your range of emotions without projecting them on anyone else, making it safe to be imperfect, shows your teen they can have feelings without being swallowed by them.
If you’re like me, you didn’t learn these things in your home which set us up to continue the struggle as parents despite your best efforts. The good news is you can start now.
You ARE a good parent and you don’t have to feel alone or defeated. If you want to have a respectful, healthy relationship with your teen and create a life where open and honest conversations are the norm, join my FREE masterclass today and learn the SECRET to getting your teen to like AND listen to you.