When you hear your daughter utter “I’m stressing,” what does that mean?
I hear this expression all the time from the parents and teens I work with.
When I ask my clients, what’s causing this chronic stressful state, it always boils down to one unpleasant emotion – fear.
The fear of:
- Not living up to her parents’ standards or other people’s expectations
- Disappointing herself by setting a goal and failing
- Being rejected by her peers
- Making a stupid mistake in front of others
- Having a label put on her that she has to live up to or defend
When your daughter associates fear with an event or expectation, her thoughts about the outcome immediately turn on her stress response and knock her out of balance.
This is a heavy load for an unsteady teen, especially when she’s simultaneously trying to figure out:
- Who she would like to become
- Where she can find her tribe
- The best way to share her gifts with the world
- And, how to squeeze enough time out of the day for the stuff she loves to do
It’s time to let your daughter know that her attempt to please everyone and meet all her expectations is like trying to walk her dog on a slack line over the Grand Canyon.
Go ahead, put the slack line away and keep reading because there’s a realistic way for her to turn her fears into opportunities.
When her stressful thoughts start to bubble up, that’s her first clue that it’s time to take control.
You can help her navigate this process with 3 Practical Approaches. They’re designed to maintain homeostasis in the brain because that’s how she’ll thrive.
- Get Quiet
Block out the distractions and answer these questions:
A. What do I want to keep doing every day?
This is the “something” that feels good, inspires you and fuels your purpose.
These activities create feelings of confidence, happiness and joy.
B. What do I want to stop doing?
This is the “habit” you’ve picked up along the way that’s tricked you into thinking it’s good, but really, it’s tripping you up.
You know the saying, one step forward, two steps back … this is the habit that causes you to take two steps back. It’s time to cut all ties to this behavior.
- Get Curious
Pay attention to the “actions” you take because of the thoughts you’re having.
You make choices every minute of every day, either consciously or out of habit.
Your actions are full of good information because they’ll “tell you” if you’re indulging in your story (lots of drama) or nurturing your mind and body (positive self-care).
It’s always easier to look at what other people are doing. Now it’s time to shine the light on your choices because it’s the only way you’re going to learn about you.
- Get Funky
This is the “space” in your life that’s ready to be renovated.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over BUT expecting a different result. That’s right, if you want things to be different, you’re going to have to change what you’re doing.
Yep, it’s time to transform your monotonous routine.
If you’re sitting in class all day, you need to make time to move your body. You’ll feel better when you release endorphins and sweat out toxins. And yes, dancing around your room to your favorite song works too.
What do these 3 Practical Approaches have in common?
They offer your daughter the alternative to stressing by inviting her greatest super power – her self-knowledge.
Knowledge is power, but self-knowledge will catapult your daughter from understanding to doing because she’ll know what her purpose is, and truly knowing her purpose, is an incredible motivator.
If you’re not sure which area your daughter could benefit from some extra support, take a few minutes to complete Discover: Is Your Teen Daughter Resilient Enough for All of Life’s Adventures?
It’s not always easy to know what’s happening with your daughter during those turbulent teenage years.
And, going it alone can be confusing and isolating.
Coaching is different than therapy.
If you’re curious about how working with a parent and teen coach will change your daughters’ relationship with her thoughts and create harmony within your relationship, try a Discovery Session.
Discovery sessions are free and may be the intervention you’ve been searching for.
Disclaimer: If you’re concerned about your daughter’s sudden change in behavior, or if you’re not sure if she’s experiencing a “normal amount” of anxiety – please reach out for support. Don’t wait for her mood to pass. Her behavior may be telling you she needs more than your support and it’s time for professional help.