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Expert Support for Parenting Your Teen 
or Young Adult
Resources For Parents & Providers
April 2024 Newsletter
“What's the first thing you look for on the map?"

 Over Spring Break, our family went to a botanical garden in Florida. (As a Mom of two high energy boys, I have found that the bulk of parenting involves finding wide open spaces where they can expel energy so they can run themselves into exhaustion. Translation: my children are more or less puppies.) 
My oldest, always the boss, wanted to find the Pirate Ship area so he marched over the big map, planted in the ground. He knew where he wanted to go, but he didn't know how to get there. (Sound anything like parenting: you know you want to connect with your adolescent, you just don't know how to get there.)
So, what is the first thing he did?
Find the YOU ARE HERE marker on the map. (Even my 4-year-old conceptually understood this was important.)
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I know. I pay good money for that shade of blonde.
Why is the YOU ARE HERE the first thing we look for on a map?
Because, if we don’t know where we are, then we can’t know where we are going.
All the best directions in the world are worthless if you don’t know where you are. We have to get oriented, know where we are in the world to get from A to B.
And yet, when our kids struggle, how often do we charge ahead, looking for solutions, trying to fix things, getting 10 steps down the “directions” list, before we ever stop to ask: “Where am I?”
Knowing what YOU are feeling when your child struggles is key to your ability to show up calm, confident and connected. (Bonus points if you can come to your own feelings with…radical idea…compassion. Wild, I know.) This is how you orient yourself first so you can better help them.
Angry? Sad? Scared? There is valuable data in those feelings and being aware of them can help you stop your knee-jerk (ie. natural but often unhelpful) responses from taking over.
Being more self-aware also helps us stay out of judgment about our feelings, which helps us stay out of judgment of our kids' feelings. No one is more sensitive to being judged than a teenager and if you think their feelings are “silly” or “over-the-top”, they will sense that.
So the next time your child struggles, pause and find the 
star on the map.
You can do this by: 
You already know you are feeling something when they struggle, just go one step further to name it and you've got an invaluable tool on your hands.
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You've got this,
PS: If you are in the Denver area, my friend and colleague (and wonderful human) 
Dr. Mindy Solomon of Mile High Mental Health is hosting a 
(Sorry Dads, women only this time.)
If you want to give yourself the gift of some really solid self-care 
(seriously-you deserve it), check it out! 
If someone forwarded this to you, welcome!
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