Tuesday, September 16, 2008

listening with your heart [part one]

I was thinking the other day about how much I dislike confrontation and why. I'm still trying to figure this out but I know that a lot of it is that my nature is one of being a peace-maker. I don't like the feeling of discord when two or more people don't get along.

As I was reflecting on this subject, I remembered that I did like confrontation when I was younger. I remember my turbulent teenage years and my relationship with my parents. I remember, at times, purposely pushing for that confrontation. I remember being conscious about that fact as I pushed certain buttons or wouldn't let a certain subject drop. Seems childish now, but I remember the feelings that were involved at the time and it felt like it was something I just had to do.

Having my own children travel through their own teenage years and working with teenagers, I now understand better what my internal angst was about and why I felt a need to act out.

I think it boils down to the teenager feeling like they don't have a voice in what happens to them or their life. This can be just perceived or factual. Either way, the feeling is very real. There's a saying that applies very much to a teenager's life; their perception is their reality.

Anything I write from here on will sound very simplistic and it really isn't. Every child is different. Parenting styles are different. But I think it's safe to say that pre-adolescent and adolescent children are feeling their way through very rocky years and need to be encouraged, supported, and unconditionally loved.

I think this means that parents need to help them through this time by allowing them to use their voice and listening to them with a heart wanting to understand what their struggles really are and coming along side them as they work through the ups and downs that come their way.

For me as a teenger, I know I felt like my voice wasn't being heard. That my parents didn't care about my feelings, my desires, my needs. As a parent, I can look back and know that my parents did care, but I don't think they really knew what my true desires and needs were. They were so wrapped up in doing what they felt was necessary as a parent (and I'm not saying that this is wrong), that it didn't matter what I wanted or needed.

I think there are ways that parents can be parents but still give their children their voice, which helps them figure out who they are and how to handle the obstacles that come their way.

To prevent this post from becoming too long, I will continue it Thursday. If you have any thoughts on this subject, please leave them in a comment and we'll continue the discussion on Thursday.


Ken said...

I too had the same child hood. But when it came to my child I was not going to have her go through the same thing. It seemed to work well, she was a happy child. Never got in to any real trouble, and never rebeld even though her Mother and I split up. ( I think it was more her than her Mother and I) but she seems to be a great mother her self now.

DJ Kirkby said...

I found you through the black boxes widget. This was a very intresting post. I enjoyed reading it and found myself nodding in agreement in places.

TypingtoOblivion said...

As a teenager, I feel like this is very... correct. Numerous times, I've felt like my parents didn't take the time to really see what was going on in my head. Reading it here, hearing of someone else who thinks like that, is kind of soothing.

Barb said...

Good blog, Diana.

Teenage years are tough, no doubt about it! I can remember arguing with my mom, feeling alone.

Keep the conversations (via blog) going!

Mom/Mum said...

Black Boxes led me here. Glad it did that was a v interesting post. I comnnected with many parts of it.

MightyMom said...

keep writing...I'm taking notes. to be stored in a time capsule and opened in approximately 10 years!


yes, because of the risk of shock or a dangerous drop in temp hospitals keep "warm blankets" available. They are kept in what looks like 2 ovens stacked 1 on top of the other specially designed for this purpose and the temp is regulated to keep them warm but not be a fire hazard...should you ever find yourself in a hospital and cold ask for a "warm blanket" instead of just a blanket....there's a BIG difference! :-)

Jamey said...

What a great post!! As we head towards the pre-teen years I am REALLY trying to do this already. I too feel like my voice wasn't really heard as a teenager. But maybe we all felt like that??? Maybe that's just part of being a teenager. I don't know. I just know I want it to be different with my kids. I try to pick my battles wisely, some things just aren't worth fighting over. I can't wait to check back and read part two!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you,growing up is hard,I too felt many times that I wasn't being heard, now the situation is being reversed and it isn't easy to adjust.

Melissa said...

Great post! I struggle with this at times. I know that I need to let my kids be who they are, but I am the parent and there also needs to be a boundary there so that I can help out before things get too crazy... or, so that I can hopefully PREVENT the craziness. It's a tough thing for me to let go like that... I don't want to see my kids suffer. And so I jump in and help out so that they don't make mistakes... sigh... I'll get there, right?

Short Stop said...

I remember wanting and perpetuating confrontation with my parents when I was in high school, too. I didn't really feel loved during that time (long story), and did things to try and get their attention.

YOu are right...those years are so tender and teenagers need to feel that unconditional love. And, too....that they have choices. Maybe not the ones they want...but they do have choices.

Goin' to read the rest...