Help Your Tween Start 2022 on a High Note
We frame each new year with a deficit model. We stake out specific resolutions for self-improvement. We need to lose weight, quit smoking, or join a gym. We want to reduce screen time and increase sleep time. We need to pay off debts and start a savings plan. We need to declutter and stay organized. I have no quibble with these, yet a different approach serves us better this year.
After nearly two years of fear, hope, and losses living through this pandemic, we need to appreciate that we have changed for the better. You, and me, and your tween unexpectedly captured strengths and skills we didn’t even anticipate. We’ve come a long way, and our tweens’ shifts need to be acknowledged and celebrated.
Many adolescents I spoke to said they experienced profound changes. Some learned to limit media content and time on social media sites to avoid being overwhelmed by negativity or unhealthy comparisons. Some used specific strategies to escape feeling stuck when they experienced boredom, isolation, or loneliness. Others learned to ask for help in new ways. One told me that getting dressed each morning and applying make-up for online learning boosted her mood. A couple mentioned that watching shows or movies together was more fun than watching alone. My favorite was the one who said she admired Simone Biles for reminding us that we can let go of “never give up” and get support for mental health issues.
I urge you to chat with your tween and listen to them tell you about their experiences. You can begin the conversations in these ways:
– I understand how challenging COVID has made your life. You’ve learned so much dealing with it. How do you see yourself now compared to before?
– I appreciate all you’ve accomplished during COVID and surviving (taking drama class from home, missing music lessons, rarely seeing your teachers or friends.) What were the most challenging things for you? What did you learn?
– Just when we thought COVID was on its way out, a new variant arrived. How do you feel it will affect you, and how can I help you?
– I’m proud of you and your success. What advice do you have for yourself for the second semester?
Inviting your child to voice the challenges they overcame, strategies they used, and ah-ha moments they experienced, opens the window to self-recognition. Confidence and a positive sense of self derive from this first-person storytelling. Their words about themselves are much more powerful than when we tell them what we see. Your conversations will be enlightening for both of you.
Happy 2022 to you and your tween!
©JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You 2021 All rights reserved