There are so many books, online resources, and other parents sharing their journey through babyhood and life with young children, but when you reach the stage of parenting teens it’s a bit of a barren wasteland when it comes to shared experiences and ‘how to’ resources.
If you’re not there yet, trust me, it can be a very lonely, confusing experience, and if you’re there or out the other side you’ll be nodding with agreement right now.
I’m 50. I’ve got three grown-up kids and one still at home age 14. There’s so much I’ve learnt with the older three and so many varied ways in which my husband and I have fucked-up monumentally that it’s only now with number 4 that we feel we’ve got a grasp on the situation and, right now, life is fairly harmonious in the Daniels’ Household (& I say that frantically touching wood, and with absolutely zero smugness, I promise you, because I know that the worm could turn at any point and we could, once again, find ourselves in a dark moment!)
I could ramble on for hours sharing my insights but the biggest thing I’ve realised is that almost everyone with teens will have moments that are devastatingly worrying, heart-wrenchingly distressing and downright dysfunctional. That’s right, almost everyone. I’ll stick my neck out here and say that I truly believe that any parent who denies this is lying.
Now, you won’t see them sharing that shit on Instagram because it’s not pretty, it’s not funny, it’s not cute… when your 5 year old embarrasses you in some way, you can usually dress it up into an amusing story. Someone with older kids told me when mine were little – “little children, little problems. Big children, big problems” but please know, you’re not alone, you’re not a crap parent and your child probably isn’t a psychopath.
Jean-Claude Chalmet is a globally renowned psychotherapist, author, a featured columnist at The Times and founder of The Place Retreats in Bali and The Place London Psychotherapy Practice. The messages we received before our podcast recording with Jean Claude were from people feeling confused, anxious and full of self-doubt as they parented their teens. They wanted answers. I wondered how on earth JC would be able to answer these as they were all so varied.
First of all, listen to the episode (Series 2 Ep 5) the feedback I’ve had has been 100% positive. It feels like every single person who’s heard it had several ‘lightbulb’ moments. JC is a unique, knowledgeable, wise and kind person. One of those people you just wish you could be more like, quite frankly and there’s so much to learn from this conversation that I couldn’t possibly get it all down here.
My biggest take-home points from the episode and from chatting with JC are these: He assured us, over and over, that it’s never too late to nurture and improve your relationship with your children no matter how old they are. Of course that makes sense – no relationships are static. They ebb and flow and evolve and can fluctuate in positive ways as well as negative. JC pointed out that children will respond amazingly well when they see that you want to make changes to have a better relationship with them.
He also gave incredibly astute insights into understanding our own reactions and practical tips on how to diffuse situations that may feel overwhelming.
‘Communication’ and ‘Love’ were the key elements that JC referred back to again and again with every situation we presented him with (sent in by listeners). How much confrontation can come from telling your child ‘I have always loved you, I love you and I will always love you’?
This episode will have you gripped and you’ll end it with a whole heap more understanding and clarity, I promise you.
Jean-Claude will be a regular contributor on Your Next Episode so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out.
Your Next Episode Podcast – Louise Daniels and Aimee Cooper address midlife issues and sometimes crisis for those bursting into their 40s, 50s and beyond. Every Monday we chat with interesting people and experts about the variables, challenges, changes and opportunities of middle-age for men and women… hormones, parenting, family, divorce, mental health, relationships, menopause, health, sex, careers, lifestyle. Always upbeat, often funny, subscribe now to this educational and entertaining podcast. Join in the conversation on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook .