I have been watching my youngest daughter lately, as she nagivates her world before becoming a teenager. She has just turned 11, and I find her trying to find herself, to find who her tribe is and what she needs in life, not wants.
She has driven me nuts, as she has become quickly defiant over small things. I have to think why, so defensive?! Why is she having a hard time wanting to go to school. This young soon to be lady, is a whipper-snapper, I know that she will be a great leader, that she is empathetic with the world around her, but lately, not to herself.
I sat down and talked to her the other night, to see what was going on in her world. She has been having issues with some girls, thinking that they are talking behind her back. She doesn’t always get along with her best friend’s other friend, and she is not a fan of french class.
Let’s skip to the easy one first… french class… it is a requirement right now for her schooling. Enjoy what you can from class. Take at least one thing from it. You will be done it after one year in high school, it seems so far away, but if I blink she will be graduating, so really, it is not that far.
Now, as for the ‘whispering behind her back’, and peers we are unsure of… well she is doing amazing. We just moved in the fall, having made friends fast, she will be ok, once she understands who she is becoming.
We talked about the following:
- Allow yourself to be authentic, the true you.
This is something everyone struggles with. It may not be the same issues, as her and I are quite different, but we tend to want to ‘fit in’ or don’t know ‘where are place is’. I just want her to know, that even though she may choose a different sport, or no sport she is being true to her. If she dresses different, because it makes her feel good, then I say go for it(as long as it is not thread bare or expensive). My point being, some of us don’t find ourselves until we are well into adulthood, and some may always be driven by what society feels they need them to be.
For her, I want her to know that even when it feels hard, the storm will calm, and you will be more confident then before in knowing who you are, and where you stand in the world.
2. Write a journal.
Journalling allows us to begine to understand how we feel, even if we don’t understand right away. It also takes all the thoughts that are cluttered in our minds, and keeps them on the page.
Ok, so I know a lot of people are not a fan of meditating. It’s hard, we think we should not think anything. Wrong, we just acknowledge those thoughts, and let them float away. For the meditation I wanted her to do, was to acknowledge how she felt, let her feel it in those moments, then put them in a bubble, cloud or balloon in her mind and watch them float away.
Meditation is not always a sit down cross legged, back poker straight, and don’t think. How about you just go for a walk, colour, wash dishes(meh, not my fave) or even crochet. It doesn’t have to be strict, it has to fit you.
4. Be sure to talk to someone!
I realize not everyone is as fortunate as her. She has a great support system at her finger tips, but in the event that she didn’t I would hope that she could go to a teacher, someone on yard duty or a neighbour, if she was unable to come to her family.
5. Don’t worry about what others think or say about you!
This goes hand in hand with the first one, being authentic with ourselves. I use to struggle with this one. This is a big stressor, and we need to look at why we are feeling this way. She may be ready today to do this, she may not.
When she is, like everyone else who is felt like this at one point in their life, why am I worried about what they have to say? Why am I thinking about this? Then look toward ourselves. It’s deep, but if you think about it, when she was talking to me, she is worried about how people percieve her. Is she good enough, that is where all those other steps come into play. She may have to be looked at more then once, but hey, your taking care of yourself, and life is a process discovery of learning about your ownself.
Maybe she will use these self care methods, and maybe she won’t. This just happens to be one of life’s lessons, where she will have to find what help regulates herself best.
I was just working on my Self-Reg Foundations certificate course today, and one of the discussions that Dr. Stuart Shanker and Dr. Susan Hopkins talked about today, was remembering that caring about the person you love, or the ones who you work with, and when they are struggling you just want to help, but you know in ways, they need to learn, and you can just be there for them. Well, it drives you nuts, you just want to help, like with my daughter, I wanted to hold her tight and not let her go out in the world again, until the crap she was dealing with blew over. We often mistake our own behaviour as a misbehaviour, because of how distraught we can be, but Dr. Shanker reminded Susan, was there such a thing as a too much empathy.
This course has become a passion, and now that I have begun to learn about Self-Reg and our every day life, well, it helps you pause. It also helps you look at things non judgementally, and to go with the flow. I will write more about this, as it has been a great certificate program, and I have been able to reflect in my own work and life since taking it.
Excellent writing Jenn, this is a difficult time in our young ones lives. Good luck, sounds like you have a good perspective on this.
Thank you Rob, this felt good when I wrote it, even though I know how hard it was for her, at the time, and still might be in some moments.
This was great. Great tips for tweens girls and boys as well. Thank you for writing this
Thank you, Renee!