Embrace Your Power
It’s time to go back to school. This can mean something different for every individual. For some teenagers, this is an exciting time to re-connect with those friends whom they have not seen all summer. For others, returning to school comes with the reminders of peer pressure, worries about acceptance, fears about bullying, concerns about performance and grades, and stress about how they are going to cope.
There are many things you can do as a parent or teacher, to help prepare your teenagers for a positive new year. Coaching teenagers on how to embrace their power is one way that you can set them up with a good foundation.
What does embracing your power mean?
Essentially, embracing your power means learning to like, love, accept and believe in yourself, it means honoring your truth and values, standing up for what you believe in, and setting strong boundaries. Achieving this requires mind mastery skills and self- love.
Coach Your Teen to Develop Mind Mastery Skills:
When your teenager is feeling stressed, anxious, and afraid or worried, you can help them to embrace their power by coaching them on managing their mind. Often it is not the situation that causes feelings of stress, worry and anxiety, but what we tell ourselves about what is or might happen. By identifying thoughts and beliefs, it is possible to work through them to create a story in which your teenager develops into managing the situation, and creating supportive thoughts to help them cope.
You can try a series of questions to help you and your teenager to identify thoughts and beliefs that may be causing them to feel stressed or anxious, and guide them in finding empowering solutions.
- What are you telling yourself about this situation?
- What do you believe is going to happen?
- What is the worst case scenario?
- How could we deal with this if this happened?
- Is this likely to happen?
- What is the best possible outcome?
- What would you like to happen?
- What can you tell yourself to help manage this situation?
- How can I help you?
- What are you going to do?
- How will I know how you are managing this?
- What can I do to support you?
Coach your Teen to Love Themselves More:
When your teenager is concerned about peer pressure, being accepted, or worried about being bullied, you can help them to cope by developing the love they have for themselves. This means that your teen knows they are the only one who judges them, they are the one who decides they are an acceptable and like-able and love-able person, that they stand up for their values, and they are the one who decides to believe in who they are, no matter what.
You can help your teen to grow love by:
- Reminding them where they are confident
- Telling them and showing them how much you love them and what you love about them
- Providing emotional support
- Doing things together that bring happiness
You can empower your teen to love themselves more by suggesting that when other people may pressure them into trying drugs, sex or alcohol, that they have a choice. Teenagers often feel out control, with parents and teachers and school rules making demands of them constantly. It is important that they own their choice and take responsibility for their choices, and make choices based on being caring about themselves. Give them information on each of these topics and educate them on the what can happen if they get an STI, and what even one experiment with marijuana can do a child with certain genetics: it is possible, according to psychiatrists, that marijuana use increases the risk of schizophrenia.
Talk with your teenager about what is the most important thing to them: their health and well-being, or what other people think about them. You cannot stop your child from experimenting, but you can educate them to make loving choices.
(Drug and Alcohol Resource www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/teens_brochure_2013.pdf
Sexually Transmitted Infections resource: www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/stdfact-teens.htm)
Ask your teen what he/she likes and loves about themselves; sometimes we all need a reminder, and keeping this information fresh in mind helps provide a barrier against the spiteful and negative words of others.
Teach your teen that when other people do or say things, your child can hold onto their power by deciding their truth about who they are is more accurate than any judgement made by another, for the simple reason that other students do not and cannot know your child/teenager as much as they do. When you and your teenager hold the voice of acceptance and love and self-belief, this provides a powerful shield of defense from bullies.
Teach your teenager about their mental filter. You can do this by demonstrating the gap between your words and their ears. Ask them to imagine placing an imaginary filter or shield in this gap. Then, as your words come towards them, they can decide to let them bounce of the shield/filter, because they are negative, cruel and unkind, or let them in, because they are positive, kind and loving. Other people can say negative things, but we have the power to choose if we accept their truth or let it go.
If your child is being physically hurt, they need to know that violence is never acceptable. They may be afraid to speak, in case the situation gets worse; this is a common fear. Self-esteem can be maintained if they and you do everything you can to stand up to this bully. Get the school involved and talk to the parents of the bully. The school should have a bully prevention policy. Ask to see it. A general policy may suggest that after a warning, detention and suspension, the bully should be expelled. It an extreme situation you may choose to move schools, because you have the freedom to make choices in any situation and no one can take that away. Remember, the Dalai Lama fled occupied Tibet to save his life and continue to support his people from safety in exile. From what I can see, I do not think he lost his power: his love is strong.
We may not always get the outcome we want, but if a child is supported to always maintain their self-esteem, and their power, to know their options and make their choices, with your blessing and support, they will feel this support and it will carry them through the challenges in life. If you do change schools, it can be helpful to arrange self-esteem coaching or counselling for your teenager, to help them prepare for embracing a new school from a positive and courageous state. Best case scenario, the school does supports you, the bully is managed, and your teenager recognizes that you and the school and life are on their side, and they grow in confidence as a result of seeking help and learning that they do not have to cope alone, help is out there, and things can change for the better.
It is an act of strength and an act of love to ask for help and support.
If you or your teenager would like empowered support on managing any of the issues raised here, I reserve coaching for teenagers from 16.30-18.30, to avoid missing school. Sessions available at Ocean Clinic (Gibraltar) on Wednesday’s and Atlantic Clinic (Nueva Andalucia) on Thursday’s and Friday’s. Skype sessions available for adults. Complementary discovery sessions are offered to parents wishing explore whether coaching with me is the right approach for their son/daughter for the presenting circumstances.
Written by Antonia Behan