A few weeks ago I gave a community talk titled “Sink or Swim: 5 Tips To A Successful Summer (with Your Junior High Kid).” With nearly every chair filled, an amazing thing began to happen. Parents started to connect and learn from one another.
Topics of technology, gaming, checking your teen’s Facebook page, texting, sexting, and all sorts of other juicy topics got brought to the forefront. Parents were eager to talk about these issues, and like their teen counterparts, were relieved to know they aren’t alone in dealing with the challenges of this age group.
One parent came up to me at the end of the talk and said she was wondering what to expect from the presentation and said, “It was good. I mean REALLY good.” I would like to take all the credit for it being so good but my honest bones know it was in part from sharing the floor with my two colleagues, Marcus Moore, MFT and Uriah Guilford, MFT, and also to the parents who asked questions, expressed their confusion, and divulged what works for their family and their worries.
I felt a real sense of community as parents opened up and shared as we dialogued about what really has them stumped. This day and age is so drastically different than our time, when cell phones weren’t even in existence except for very large car phones that only super rich people had. Nobody had a computer. Nintendo was as good as it got. In order to access porn, you had to go back to the curtained side of the movie store to access it. And the only type of bullying that went on was either to your face or getting your locker TP’d. Back when we had lockers.
The beautiful part for me was watching parents share what works for them and helping one another to not feel so alone. This is exactly what happens in the Middle School Girls’ Group I run on Tuesday afternoons. The girls share and help one another to not feel so alone. What a similar process parents and their teens go through.
My cheap, valuable advice: Talk with other parents. Get a gauge on what is normal around you and know ultimately you have to decide what feels best to you. If you are feeling super yucky about something going down with your teen, follow your gut and adjust.
I learn from the community and listen to what is right within in me to guide my child in a positive direction.