In our last blog series, we covered the importance of gratitude and shared simple ways to bring gratitude awareness to your preschooler and school-age child. Next stage is about the teens...
Feel like teens nowadays are synonymous with the entitlement? And are you struggling how to bring gratitude awareness to your teen? We hear you. By no means, this is an easy task and if you feel as though it is a futile attempt, hang on for a minute longer with us. Let us share four simple mindset shifts you may consider during this time.
What makes gratitude practice difficult in this age group? Adolescence is a time of great transformation - teens are on their journey of figuring out who they are and how do they relate to the world around them. This may be viewed as self-centeredness, while they are in the quest of figuring out how they fit in this world.
Even simple discussion about gratitude such as asking your teen to name three things they are grateful for, may evoke eyes rolling and build up of resistance. Don't be surprised.
If you have practiced gratitude with your child from early on - continue to do so if he/she is open to it. After all, gratitude has been associated with increased happiness, resilience, better academic achievement, improved mood, helps with depression, anxiety and insomnia, It simply boosts up our well-being.
And if your teen is not open to gratitude practice? What if he/she resists even when the world is mentioned?
Here are 4 mindset shifts you may want to embrace to help you through this time:
1. Go about it indirectly - be present to the conversation and their actions; notice and acknowledge small or big acts of something positive they have done or demonstrated. Equally important is to acknowledge their "mistakes" and simply point out to the lessons learned as well as the value in the lesson.
2. Be mindful - Your primary focus at this time is to keep a connection with your child. None of us are 100% grateful 24/7 - we all shift in and out of the gratitude experience, so will your child and that is OK!
3. Role model gratitude - Continue to role model gratitude as you have done in the past, however, don't' force the issue. Even if they are not participating, they are still observing. Create experiences and conversations about the world around them and listen to what they are saying. Take the time to integrate lessons you have learned during the conversation and share. One tip on creating experiences - focus on creating the ones with limited or no access to technology so you can actually have the ability to connect with them without any distractions.
4. Don't give up - don't' give up. You may have moments of exhaustion, exasperation or simply feel "you are done." A long time ago at a cocktail party, one of the Moms shared, how now her incredibly successful daughter, as a teenager wore her self-esteem down. That comment always stuck with me as a reminder while it may feel incredibly exhausting during this time, they will grow out of it. So take a rest, walk away, replenish yourself. It is a growing experience and self-discovery for both.
To you and your teen,