Teenage is a very whimsical time for teens as well as their parents. While teenagers are riding on raging hormones and mood swings, parents are at the receiving end of door slams and eye rolls. At this age where everything is so overwhelming for them, mindfulness is like an island of calm in the ocean of chaos. It will help them break free from the spiral of negative thoughts, stress, anxiety, or self-doubt. However, teaching mindfulness to these jumpy inhabitants of our home is not a cake walk. And, definitely not something they will be eagerly willing to learn. So, how must you do it?
Practice what you preach
If you want your kid to be mindful, they need to see you do it first. You cannot go on and on about the benefits of mindfulness when you do not practice it. They will pull up this hypocrisy in a jiffy and be out of there before you can say the word mindfulness. You don’t want to fool them by empty words; if you want them to be serious about mindfulness, you must show them that you are serious about it as well.
Share your stories
Teenagers need to feel connected with you. They need time to establish a level of comfort. Only then they will consider listening to what you are saying. Be upfront and real with them. Talk about your own teenage years and its struggles, and how you used mindfulness in your life. Share stuff with them and they might consider sharing with you too. And who knows, they would actually give mindfulness a genuine try, without you having to press it on them. When you work on establishing an open and free channel of communication with them, they will by default look up to you in life.
Show how it will benefit them
If you tell them, mindfulness will bring you ‘peace of mind’, they’ll probably reply with a yawn. Teenagers need to know what’s in it for them. They need tangible solutions to the 10,000 things that are going on in their lives. You don’t want to add to their to-do list. Give them real examples of how mindfulness will help in their daily life. For example, research suggests that mindfulness helps teens relax, manage stress well, and concentrate better. It can also help improve their performance in those dreadful exams. With so many practical benefits, they are sure to give it a try.
Mindfulness is a difficult concept for teenagers to wrap around and it is okay. They might not consider it ‘cool’ enough initially, but once they get started and see the benefits, they’ll wonder why didn’t they start years ago, and so will you.
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