Parenting: 10 Tips on How to Counteract Negativity in Teenagers

negativity in teenagersAs I mentioned in an earlier post, I have teenagers. This is a new thing for me. Give me a two year old? No problem. A fifteen year old is a completely different matter. Of course teenagers can be a lot of fun and I really enjoy mine, but they do come with their set of challenges. One of the challenges we have been dealing with lately is negativity. Complaining about everything under the sun and blaming everyone but themselves for their circumstances. As an optimist, it drives me nuts. So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do and how to help them. I decided to go to Facebook and ask my more experienced friends what things they have done to counter negativity in teenagers, specifically their own. And they gave some great advice…

Tips to Counteract Negativity in Teenagers

1- Listen— One of the biggest things that people said was to listen, listen, listen. They share a fair warning: It may take hours and hours of listening. When the kids are young, their answers of what is wrong are simple and straight to the point. As teenagers, it becomes more difficult and may take a while before the real problem surfaces. Another warning: Don’t try to give a positive spin to every single negative. This will only frustrate them. Sometimes they don’t want answers, they just need to vent or want a listening ear.

2-Be Thankful— Several people said that they have their teens keep a Thankful Journal. Every night they write anywhere from 3-10 positive things that happened during the day. This helps them focus on the good things in life  instead of always seeing the negative.

3-Visual Cues— A lot of times in the workplace businesses will have posters on the wall with special sayings to motivate their employees.  This could apply to home as well. Display signs that have positive statements such as ‘confidence’, ‘work together’, or ‘think positive’. You can use some nice pictures and laminate them, make them stand out. It will serve as a visual reminder to stay positive.

4-Help Someone in Need— Teenagers can get self-absorbed, especially when they have difficult situations or problems to work through. Helping others in need takes the focus off yourself and makes you feel good inside. It can be something simple such as writing a kind note or befriending someone. There are many opportunities to volunteer in the community. It’s like a boomerang. When you lift others it returns ten-fold.

5- Find a Common Interest— Do you both like music or enjoy playing games? Do you have a favorite sport? Finding something that you can enjoy with your teen will not only strengthen your relationship but also opens the lines of communication. This makes it easier to discuss serious issues. Yes, you need to be a parent, but it’s okay to be a friend as well. Enjoy being together.

6- Be Honest— When discussing serious issues, be honest and frank. You don’t have to sugar coat everything or avoid difficult topics but if you have a strong relationship (tip 5) and have practiced listening (tip 1), you can get through the problems together.

7- Exercise— Exercise relieves stress, boosts mood and if you exercise together it gives you an opportunity to talk, especially if your teen is more withdrawn at home. Also, getting out in the sunshine can really help boost mood.

8- Find a Hobby— Help your teens develop talents and hobbies. The more they are involved, the happier they will be (as long as they are not overscheduled and stressed, but that’s a post for another day). They can use their hobbies or relaxing activities such as listening to music, drawing, taking a bath, watching a movie or reading a book to pick up their spirits. Also having adequate sleep can do wonders for your attitude.

9- Hugs— Sometimes all I can do is give my teens a hug. They might not always act like they enjoy it, but teenagers need physical contact just as much as little children. Physical contact can bring feelings of reassurance, comfort and acceptance. Teenagers tend to withdraw during these years, so it is important to find ways to have appropriate physical contact with them.

10- Give Them Some Space— Sometimes you have to give your teens their space. This will give them a chance to work out their own problems. If you’re constantly trying to change their mood or attitude for them, it makes it difficult for them to be independent. If you let them bring you down, it reinforces their negativity. Instead, be an example of positive living and let them join you when they are ready.

These tips can be helpful for adults as well as teenagers. Of course, no-one is exactly the same and not every tip will work for every person, but hopefully you can find something that might work for you. I know I did.

 

 

A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years

Teen YearsI have six kids. I have changed umpteen diapers, taught 6 kids how to sleep through the night, talk, walk, and potty trained all of them. I have been through 6 sets of terrible twos and even worse 6 sets of three year olds. When it comes to raising young children, I’ve got experience. But the world I am now wading through is new for me…the world of teenagers. I have two teenage daughters and there are times when I really have no idea what to do with them. Kidshealth.org has an article called A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years that gives a lot of great tips and ideas for parenting teenagers. It is great advice and definitely an article that I’m going to bookmark and refer back to often.

Here is the link to the article. Check it out: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/adolescence.html#

 

 

Parenting: Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World

parenting

Photo by Rob

This blog post about parenting has received a lot of attention lately. It’s not quite as the title suggests, but has some interesting ideas about parenting. Stephanie Metz discusses modern parenting techniques and how they may cause stumbling blocks for our children. Does protecting our children from negative situations and difficult circumstances turn our children into entitled adults who have difficulty solving problems and expect everything to be handed to them? What do you think?

Check out the blog post here: http://themetzfamilyadventures.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-my-kids-are-not-center-of-my-world.html?spref=fb

 

Forget Bullying, This Middle School Football Team Changes Lives

No bullyingBullying is a problem for many people and we hear about it a lot on the news. You have it in the schools. You have it online. And it’s not just the puny guy getting bullied. Even the NFL has problems. Sometimes we hear so much negative that we have little hope for society or the future of our children. But then I hear news stories like the video below and my faith in humanity is restored.

The football team at Olivet Middle School in Olivet, Michigan decided to surprise their coaches and teammate, Kevin Orr, by allowing him to score a touchdown. They took the ball as close as they could to the end zone. Then they handed Kevin the ball and protected him from the defensive team so that he could score the goal. Kevin is a special needs student who has found true friends and acceptance among his team. I loved watching this video and how his teammates accepted him for who he was. It is so heartening to see these boys (we’re talking Middle School Boys here) think above and beyond themselves and use their own volition to uplift and help another. Our future is sound with these guys.

Check out the video:

 

Marriage Isn’t For You!

Wedding_ringsIf you’ve been on Facebook within the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably seen this blog post on your news feed. It’s going viral like wildfire and for good reason. Seth Adam Smith captures you with the headline right off the bat: Marriage Isn’t For You. At first you might think that he is writing against the institution of marriage, but as you read the post you realize that he truly has they key to a healthy and happy marriage.

“Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.”

It’s a great blog post, worthy of sharing. Check it out here: http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/