IS YOUR TEEN A NEGATIVE NELLY?
It's human to give more attention to pain and difficulty than to positive experiences.
Your teen likely has neutral or positive interactions and experiences in the majority of their day, but if one person gave them a "look" or said something critical, it becomes the ONLY thing they can focus on for the rest of the day.
And, this becomes a tailspin of negative self-judgments, self-loathing and harsh criticisms too.
Your teen begins to believe that they aren't good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, fit enough or talented enough.
And these comparisons become a dangerous foundation for basing our worth on other people's opinions of us... something that can create stress, illness, avoidance, procrastination and perfectionism... and ultimately depression.
The good news is, that when we can help our teens focus on the fun, encourage positive interactions, highlight strengths, show gratitude for effort and give attention to the work in progress, it helps teens to feel good enough for exactly who they are while still working on improving.
Because we're all a work in progress, but it doesn't mean that we can't love ourselves at every single step along the way.
Here are some phrases to help you get started in supporting your teen's self-esteem and shifting them into a more positive frame of mind:
"Thank you for taking the trash out. I appreciate you remembering to pitch in and contribute."
Even if it's an "expected" chore, attention and gratitude ensure that it's acknowledged and increases the likelihood that your teen will do it again without being asked.
"I'm super proud of how hard you worked in studying for that test last night. You really put in a lot of effort and focused for a long time."
Notice how you're praising the effort and NOT the grade or outcome here.
"I love how kindly you spoke to your friend when she was upset in the car on the way home last night. You're a good friend."
In this example, you're highlighting your teen's strength or positive quality in an interaction or situation, not the outcome of how they made the other person feel.
The more you can pull out and highlight strengths that you see in your teen and share them together, the more your teen will internalize these ideas and begin to think them too!
Finally, be sure to help your teen focus on the FUN in every situation. Help them find joy. Encourage them to take breaks and talk to friends. When all you focus on is outcomes and responsibilities, not only will your teen see you as an adversary, but they will learn to focus on difficulties without prioritize self-care and life's positive moments.
It's all about finding and encouraging the balance so that your teen can navigate the hard times while still holding space for what makes life worth living too.
If your teen is having difficulty finding balance or seeing the good in life, there is hope. We'd love to connect and explore the next best step in helping your teen find happiness.
Reach out to apply for a complimentary parent consultation call here: www.creativehealingphilly.com/free-parent-call