October 21, 2019

Handling Adversity With Class: Parenting Teens

Webster’s dictionary defines adversity as a difficult situation or condition : misfortune or tragedy. Nope, not a fun subject to deal with as an adult. Just imagine the difficulties teen age hormones can throw into the mix of an adverse situation. Parenting teens through these times can take a delicate touch.  I can speak first hand and say it is not fun watching your kids go through a difficult situation. It takes everything in my body not to scoop them up, hold them in my arms, and tell them”Mommy will fix everything.”

Unfortunately, through adversity is where we learn the most about ourselves and are able to grow into a wiser individual. My grandfather used to say, “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” Of course we as parents want to raise strong young men and women, capable to conquer the world. So, it seems that our children need a little adversity in their lives to complete the journey to adulthood.

This is the tricky part. How do we as good moms and dads teach our children to hold their heads high as they walk through the pit falls of this world. I thought I would share some advice a few veteran parents have imparted to me as I have started the task of transforming my babies into capable young people.

ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR STRUGGLE
Adversity can take many forms. It does not always have to be the unexpected death of a loved one or financial crash of your family. It may take the form of a bully at school or a teacher that is difficult to learn from and even harder to communicate with. It is important that you recognize these situations as a source of unrest for your child. Let them know that you understand this situation sucks.

ENCOURAGE
Yes, as parents we definitely need to provide words of encouragement when our children are struggling with an intense situation. However, there is so much more than just a verbalization of support. You never know how much a hug or an arm around a shoulder with a firm shoulder to cry on  will be appreciated. Sometimes that affectionate touch is just what your kids will need to get through the day.

BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR DEVASTATION
I agree 100% that it is important to allow our teens to learn to work through a trying situation. We also need to remember that although they are growing into young men and women, they are still children. These kids do not have the same coping skills as you and me. Monitor the problem and step in when your child is feeling overwhelmed.

REMIND THEM THE SUN WILL RISE AGAIN TOMORROW

It may not rise over the day they expected, but it will rise. Yes, while dealing with adversity the world goes on.  What is the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  An unfortunate situation gives us the opportunity to find a solution to our problem we might not have thought of until we were plunged in the middle of this problem. Your blessings may come when you least expect it.

There are not any easy answers to make everything okay, but it is important that we teach our kids an adverse time is just the perfect time for personal growth. I had a very wise pastor who told me one time, “If there is no test we only have a mony (testimony).”  I will leave you with the words of the English writer William Hazlitt, “Prosperity is a great teacher, adversity a greater.”

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