How Mindfulness Can Help Your Child Survive and Thrive as a Teen
Adolescence can be a difficult time, making it challenging to survive and thrive in stressful circumstances. Your teenager is likely struggling with his or her identity and the newly discovered challenge of independence. Social situations can also prove taxing on a teenager’s mind and emotions. Furthermore, an array of chaotic hormones can cloud your child’s perception of the world surrounding him or her.
When looking for a solution to help your teenager survive and thrive in these adolescent years, consider the practice of mindfulness.
You can achieve mindfulness when your focus is on the present moment. You accept your emotions in that moment and fully experience all bodily sensations. In doing this, you gracefully acknowledge thoughts and memories from the past and about the future, however not dwelling on them. Mindfulness is being aware of the calm present with compassion toward your experience.
It may seem a far-fetched idea to delegate a teenager the responsibility of such self-awareness. Even elementary school-age children are engaging in mindfulness, though.
As a parent, you may not think your teenager can handle participating in mindfulness. While teenagers often come across as a mess of emotions, they are more than capable to practice self-awareness.
Set An Example
Before helping your teen survive and thrive by practicing mindfulness, you must first be the living proof. At this age especially, your child is watching and learning from you. If your actions contradict thoughts and beliefs, it can have a negative effect on your child(ren).
What you say and what you do must line up. Perhaps you think no one notices your actions and words. In all reality, they’re under more intense scrutiny now than ever before.
If you preach one thing to your child and then live another, your words will be empty and meaningless. This will take away any ambition for your child/teen to practice mindfulness.
The benefits of mindfulness must be clearly seen in your own life for this practice to be enticing to a teenager.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Once you’ve established that mindfulness helps you survive and thrive in your own life, explain the benefits to your child. For instance, there are cognitive, social, and emotional benefits that will greatly impact your teen’s life.
Perhaps the least attractive to a teenager, but the most attractive to a parent; cognitive improvements naturally follow mindfulness. When practicing mindfulness, children often perform better on tests and have improved concentration. Mindfulness helps create more clarity in their mind, allowing them to choose healthier ways to respond to any situation.
Mindfulness undoubtedly helps your teen survive and thrive in the world of academics.
Even a moment of mindfulness before an exam has proven to do wonders for a child’s performance and concentration level. Since mindfulness helps people stay present, in a non-judgemental way, doesn’t this just make sense?
We all know a little too well that there are plenty of social conflicts during the adolescent years. A teenager doesn’t often demonstrate mature effective communication skills as an adult does simply because they don’t know how yet.
Mindfulness, however, can clear your child’s mental canvas to create a more healthy response to overwhelming social situations. It allows them time to stop, notice what’s happening (within their mind, body and environment), breath and go from there.
This process allows them to set personal boundaries through awareness.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are all commonly experienced in the life of a teenager. In fact, many people in our society are widely affected by these struggles. It can be difficult to function properly in the midst of these complex emotions.
Mindfulness helps put anxiety, stress, and depression in check.
Children and adults alike often perceive many of their worries as real threats when they are simply thoughts. Understanding that negative thoughts can quickly spiral out of control is the first step in battling anxiety, stress, and depression. Recognizing when it’s happening to you in a certain moment, is the next step is changing this dynamic within yourself. At that point, choices can be made in regards to how to best handle it all.
Navigating through the adolescent years with your teenager requires a keen understanding of what makes us tick — specifically teenagers. By practicing mindfulness in your own life, you’re setting a fundamental example for your child to survive and thrive these difficult years. The benefits of practicing mindfulness will not only be seen during your child’s teen years but also later in life when he or she is an adult.
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