Love in the face of rejection: When your teen pushes you away

Does your teen make a plan with you and then ditch you for her friends?

Does your teen say hurtful things to you?

Does your teen squirm away when you try to be physically affectionate?

Even the nicest teens say mean things.

True story: I remember looking at a photo of my Mom when she was a young woman wearing plaid bellbottoms, and I said, “Did you actually think you  looked GOOD back then?”   Ouch! Sorry Mom.

When you’re constantly looking for ways to connect with your teen and they’re finding ways to separate themselves from you, it can be exhausting. The rejection can quickly build up into resentment between you and your teen. You resent their attitude, and they resent feeling guilty for choosing their friends.

(By the way, they’re SUPPOSED to be separating themselves from you, this is part of how they gain their independence. AND, they’re not very delicate in how they handle other’s emotions, which is why you frequently feel the sting of rejection from your teen).

I know that even though it hurts, you LOVE your teen, and you’d do anything for them.

Then do this one thing for them: stop expecting your teen to fill your emotional needs.

Hear me out:

When our kids are little, it’s so easy to love them, because they love us back to easily with “I love you Mommy” and “You’re the best Mom ever!” and their spontaneous hugs. All of those moments fill us up, and we come to expect them from our kids.

But as our sweet elementary school kids become adolescents, they push us away, choose their friends first, and look at their phone and laugh at a text, then look up and scowl at us.

They used to make us feel loved and cherished and now they make us feel rejected and unwanted.

You know you can’t rely on your teen to meet your emotional needs. That’s not their responsibility (and expecting it just sets you up for heartbreak).

You might not have even realised that this is what’s been happening, and that’s ok!

Now that you know, you can make a different choice.

This is YOUR opportunity to re-calculate your relationship to LOVE.

This is YOUR opportunity to lean in to your own hurt and fill those wounds with love.

Why? Because when you know how to invite love into your life you’ll be loving your teen from the overflow. This is the only sustainable model for love. Wholehearted love. Not the kind that has hooks in it, the hooks of you needing them to say “I love you” back. But the kind of love that you can freely give them, even when they’re unkind and unresponsive, without expectation of them returning your affection. This is YOUR opportunity to show your teen how sustainable, healthy adult love FEELS.

When you know how to invite love into your own life, you’ll be able to teach your kids how to invite love into their own life. Having this skill will protect your teen from looking for love in unhealthy relationships, or unhealthy habits like disordered eating, smoking, drinking, drug use, and engaging in risky behaviour.

Who knew that pouring love into yourself would have such incredible protective benefits for your teen!

I know a savvy Mom of three teenagers who missed those sweet baby cuddles, so she volunteers once a week cuddling infants for families of multiples (twins or triplets)  who need an extra set of hands. What a wonderful way to get in some cuddles and also help another family!

Invite LOVE into your life. Invite LOVE into your body, mind, and spirit. This is not a selfish act, this is one of the BEST ways to show love to your teen.

 

I’ve used Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages as a framework to give you strategies that you can start using TODAY! If you’re most hurt by your teen’s mean comments, start by inviting love in with words of affirmation. If you’re hurt by your teen’s rejection when you want to spend time with them, invite love in by spending quality time with yourself.

Words of Affirmation: Speak lovingly to yourself!

  • Write yourself a love letter
  • Write a list of positive affirmations each day (for example: I am a powerful leader. I am a compassionate listener, etc.)
  • Create a scrapbook of your accomplishments
  • Have you saved old cards, or job references where others have said great things about you? Read them over! Make a scrapbook, or a beautiful box of good feels.

Acts of Service: Give AND receive

  • Volunteer with a cause that makes you feel really good about how you’re spending your time
  • Say yes the next time someone offers to help you (even if it’s something you COULD do yourself)
  • Implement a plan that will make one part of your life a little bit easier- order in once a week, get someone to pick up the dry cleaning, ask your partner to cook one meal a week

Receiving Gifts: YOU know what you really want!

  • Make yourself a love hamper- fill a pretty box with your favourite things: A scented candle, your favourite tea, a good book, a cozy pair of pj’s. Set a date for when you’ll enjoy a night to yourself.
  • Give yourself permission to replace one small thing in your home each month: worn out cookie sheets, new hand towels
  • Buy yourself flowers without needing an occasion
  • Order a new book online, and promise yourself that you’ll spend an hour reading it the day it arrives- make it a spontaneous party!

Quality Time: What really nourishes your soul?

  • Schedule in time each week doing something you love: meditating, singing in a choir, writing yourself a love letter, praying with others, creating something new
  • Sign up for a class- knitting, Zumba, yoga, painting
  • Schedule in a long-overdue get-together with friends. (Even if it’s a Skype call!)
  • See an energy healer

Physical Touch: Love your physical body! (Not just the surfaces, allow the love to sink all the way through to your core)

  • Book a massage
  • Lovingly apply body lotion as you give thanks for each part of your body
  • Give yourself a 10 second hug every morning
  • Give yourself a foot rub and give thanks for all the things you’re able to do because of your feet.

The important thing here is to get creative, and remember that YOU are inviting love into your life. Remember the airline safety message to “put on your own oxygen mask first”? When you invite love into your life, you’ll have MORE love to share with your family. If you’re giving to your family when yo’re half full you’ll feel depleted and resentful. The truth is, your family will FEEL the resentment and not your love.

LOVE YOURSELF FIRST

Don’t read this as  “only love yourself”, just LOVE YOURSELF FIRST. When you are loving yourself, you are inviting God into your body, mind, and spirit. (If God isn’t the word you’re most comfortable with, invite in The Divine, collective consciousness, Source, Spirit, Life Force Energy, Chi). When you’re inviting love in, you’re inviting in your best self, your highest self, your God self, and you have access to all the resources that you need. This is sustainable living. This is wholehearted living. This is loving from a full cup.

Invite LOVE in.    Every day.

 

Coming up next… How to love your teen so they FEEL it.

Does your teen suffer from ANXIETY?

30% of children between the ages of  4-18 struggle with ANXIETY.

(That’s the number that psychologists know FOR SURE…it’s likely that even MORE students suffer from anxiety).

But here’s the thing: some teens are pretty good at covering up what they’re feeling, because they feel ashamed, or they’ve “always been that way”, and both the teens and their parents are wondering if it’s “just a normal part of being a teen”.

Does your teen:

  • Procrastinate
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Want to stay home in their pj’s all day
  • Have stomach aches or headaches that keep them home from school
  • FIGHT every time you tell them it’s time to put away the Xbox or iPad?
  • Try to make deals with you to get out of going to school, or going to social events?
  • Seem “ok” for awhile, but then go through periods when these symptoms flare up?

Is it possible that your teen has anxiety?

Are you DRAINED from the constant negotiating it takes to get your teen out the door and involved?

Are you AFRAID of the way your teen is isolating herself and only connecting with people online?

There is HOPE!

Resilience is a set of skills that can be LEARNED.

ANXIETY doesn’t need to be the reason that your teen is at home all day missing out on their life.

ANXIETY doesn’t need to be the reason that you and your teen are CONSTANTLY fighting over their phone, the homework, their falling grades, or their lack of friends.

Trust me, your teen is as tired of all the fighting as YOU are. (Imagine how exhausting life must be for them!) They just want to feel good. Together, we can teach them HOW.

If you’re feeling worn out from all the negotiating and fighting because your teen challenges everything you say, then we need to connect!

CLICK HERE to book your FREE 30 minute call. You don’t need to live this way!

Video game DANGER for teens

Video games are fun, beautiful, challenging (at just the right level), compelling, and they give us INSTANT FEEDBACK. It’s no wonder they are so compelling (and so addictive). Video games are slick, sexy, and meet so many of our emotional needs (in the short term).

But for many teens, video games are their ADDICTION.  Just this past week, the World Health Organization declared video game addiction a new category of mental disorder, and teens are highly susceptible.

SO many teens today are feeling STUCK doing school, and like they’re in a holding cell until they get to the adult world (which can also terrify them because they’re not sure they have what it takes to handle the adult world). Video games fill SO many of the needs for worthiness, purpose, a clear role, clear boundaries, clear objectives, clear rewards, and connection to something bigger than themselves. Video games are also a great way to distract ourselves from negative feelings, or avoid things  we don’t’ want to do. It’s no wonder so many teens just LOVE video games.  But there are potential dangers…

Have you seen the movie trailer for Ready Player One?  I just saw it last week when my husband and I went to the theatre to see Star Wars.

In just two minutes, the trailer covers how many teens feel, why they game so much, and how gaming fills a deep human need for connection.

“I’m sitting here in my tiny corner of nowhere.”

“There’s nowhere left to go except the Oasis”

“It’s the only place that it feels like I mean anything.”

“Like many of you, I came here to escape, but I found something bigger than just myself”

The main character in Ready Player One, Wade Watts, is relatable to so many teens because he feels powerless, stuck in his small world, and searching or something more. When we see Wade enter “the oasis” (the virtual world) he enters a world that is more engaging and stimulating than the world he lives in. He feels worthwhile in this world. In the Oasis there is a clearly defined goal with a HUGE reward. Even more than the compelling nature of searching for treasure is the sense of purpose that he gains from connecting with something bigger than himself (the political rebellion). In a few short minutes we can see a worthless small town nobody find purpose, connection, and a compelling future.

This is the trailer I’m talking about

Watch it with your teen! It’s a great conversation starter about how gaming fills our human needs.

Video games are like CANDY, because they’re so wonderful, they can crowd other healthy options. Just like helping little ones not eat candy all day long, it’s up to parents to help teens set healthy boundaries around video games.

Some psychologists are suggesting that 3 hours of gaming or more per day has harmful effects on social interactions. There is also research to suggest that excessive gaming is detrimental to the brain’s health. As a educator and a mom, I know that it doesn’t take 3 hours of gaming a day to start to cause a problem. Whenever gaming crowds out a teen’s homework time, their sleep time, and your teen is a sleep-deprived, moody, anxious, and going to school without completing their homework, those are CLEAR signs that your teen needs help to set boundaries with their gaming.

When video games start to crowd out other activities in a teen’s life, like spending time in person with friends, physical activity, school work, contributing to household chores, sleep, or personal hygiene, they have become a problem!

In the last week I connected with Elaine Uskoski, a mom of two young men, who told me the horrific story of her youngest son who went off to college and instead of attending class, shut himself up in his dorm room for 2 months playing video games. When she finally cut through all of the lies he was telling her (and that she was telling herself) she met him in person, and saw that he was a rack of bones. Not eating. Not showering. Only gaming. Who knows what would have happened if this mother hadn’t FINALLY listened to her intuition and stepped in. For more details, you can read Elaine’s book, Seeing Through The Cracks.

I don’t want this nightmare to be your story. If you have concerns about how your teen’s video gaming is impacting the other areas of their life, please reach out.

Book a complimentary 30 minute coaching session with me TODAY.

Elaine told her son,  “You can hate me for the rest of your life, but I’m going to SAVE your life”.

And she did. But she didn’t do it alone. Elaine reached out wherever she could for the support she needed.

End this now.  You could be saving your teen’s life.

I’ve created some extra time in my calendar this week to offer a FREE 30 minute coaching call for YOU.

BOOK NOW to grab your spot.

You’re not alone.

Deanne

P.S. Elaine told me that not only was her son lying to her about his gaming, but that she had been lying to herself. She had been downplaying the severity of what she was seeing, she had been trying to give her son his independence as a college student. But deep inside her, she knew there was a problem. She made her decision to take action, now it’s time for you to make yours…from your deepest place of strength. I can help. Book your call now

Suicide Prevention

A teen in my neighbourhood took her own life over a week ago. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and her school community who is grieving her loss and wondering what they could have done to prevent her death.

Just today I met a woman who recently lost her son, who took his own life. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to go through each day knowing that your child is gone. And wondering what you could have done, if you had only known what was REALLY going on in your child’s mind. This is every parent’s worst nightmare.

In Canada, suicide is the second highest cause of death for youth aged 10-24.

Suicide prevention isn’t a term that I use often because it evokes our fear of losing those closest to us, however, for some parents and teens that fear is very real.

Suicide prevention strategies might seem like something that only a few people, in very extreme situations, or teens labelled as “high risk” might need.

Today, I’m inviting you to think differently about suicide prevention by thinking about your own Mental Health.

Mental Health is important for EVERYONE because we all face difficult periods in our life. The loss of a family member, losing a job, divorce, having to move, all of these stressers have an impact on our mental health. The pressure on adolescents to be successful at school and be successful socially is intense, and teens don’t always have the understanding that their difficult times are only temporary.

I know that many teens roll their eyes when we talk about mental health in schools, because they feel like it doesn’t affect them. Or their deep shame about  their own internal dialogue prevents them from reaching out for support.

This is why we NEED to embed mental health education in the high school curriculum.

As an English Language Arts specialist, I know that literature allows us an amazing opportunity to explore the thoughts and behaviours of fictional characters to open an continue on a conversation about mental health that can last weeks and months, instead of minutes or an hour.

Understanding mental health through fictional characters also helps us understand that mental health is not an individual issue, but that there are environmental, social, and physiological factors that can impact our mental health.

Mindfulness practice is also a way for students AND teachers to learn the strategies necessary for checking in on their own thoughts, and learning to shift their thoughts in a way that supports their mental health. Whether you’re a teen, or an adult, EVERYONE needs to check in with the thoughts they’re having on a consistent basis. Mindfulness practice gives you that time and space to check in with your thoughts.

The Canadian Mental Health Association describes 5 characteristics of Mental Health, which are

  1. Ability to enjoy life
  2. Resilience
  3. Balance
  4. Self-Actualization
  5. Flexibility

CLICK HERE to take the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Health Meter to really check in with your own mental health. Only YOU really know your heart and mind.

You deserve a life that FEELS GOOD!

Yours in mental health,

Deanne

P.S. The first step is admitting your mental health status to yourself. The next step is reaching out for support. For immediate, 24 hour support call kids help line.