Parenting Teens: A Spiritual Perspective
From the perspective of The Loveliness…
Before children are born into the world, their parents have made a spiritual agreement with them. We agree to come together as parent and child, and provide the experiences that we each seek to have in this lifetime. Often it’s a new experience we are each seeking. Perhaps it’s the first time we have been a parent (on Earth) for example, and we know it could be especially challenging. Before making their trip to incarnation, your child also has certain experiences they are seeking to grow and learn from, and you may be just the parent to provide those.
None are “good” or “bad” experiences to have, because each one can provide a greater breath of human experience. Through human eyes, a traumatic parent-child relationship is shameful. But from the eyes of Spirit, all learning has value, and both parent and child are viewed with compassion for any difficulty they have in their relationship.
[Image description: Two people holding hands]
And because both parent and child always come to Earth with an overarching life purpose, we choose each other to help facilitate the actualization of that plan. Starseed children may choose Starseed parents, for example. Being of similar origin, and having parallel goals is advantageous. Similarly, someone with a creative interest and mission may choose artistic parents, for example. A soul who wants to have political influence may choose to be born into a well-connected family. There are endless examples of the kinds of pairings individuals might choose and why.
Along these same lines, a “good match” doesn’t assume that life will be harmonious. The pairing intends to deliver the needed experiences to facilitate the life goals. These experiences commonly require “challenges” to push the individual to grow in the direction of their life path.
[Image description: Mother and daughter arguing]
Hard experiences in early life may help us grow most fully into the person we want to become. Challenges might come from the family of origin, including any issues a parent may have brought into their own life to contend with. Challenges (aka opportunities) can come from the greater social environment, or from the individual “child” that you are parenting, as well. Those of us who are parents know that each child has their own untethered spirit, over which we have no influence…no matter how hard we might try to augment. 😉
And how do we as parents feel about “the job” we have done as parents for our children? Most of us feel a great level of responsibility to get it right - this most important job! And, we can feel this most poignantly during the teen years. At this juncture we are approaching the end of the agreement: The Parent-Child Contract, where you agreed to give your child “X” experience, and they agreed to give you “Y” experience.
By the time your children are teens they have learned more from you than you can possibly imagine. But now it’s time for them to prepare for their own adult life (which can sting!). They are considering what they will consciously take forward as part of their own identities, and what they will let go of (or reject altogether!). They feel a strong drive to define themselves as a sovereign being. They find strength in knowing who THEY are as this blossoming independent person.
[Image descriptions: Adolescents expressing themselves]
Adolescence is a challenging threshold point for both child and parent. As the contract is nearing its end, there is uncertainty in the new contract that you will forge together. To help you through this transition we offer these key survival tips for spiritually minded parents with children in adolescence:
It's their Journey. Know that your children have their own plan for life, and that they are starting to embark on the independent part of their journey. Reminding yourself of this distinction between their journey and yours may help you to let go of the control you don’t really have to begin with.
It's not meant to be easy. Realize that your kids likely didn’t plan for this transition to be easy-peasy. They have big plans and want to grow to their fullest. AND they may not do that “growth” the way you would do it, or in the way that you would prefer they do it. Just like when it was hard to watch them fall and get hurt when they were learning to walk, it’s going to be hard to watch them make decisions that lead to emotional hurt and setbacks.
Reference your own adolescence. Remember back to your own adolescence, what you knew and how you learned. Adolescents have to have their own first-hand experiences. They cannot learn everything through you. You learned some of your greatest lessons the hard way, through trial and error. They need this lived experience too. Putting yourself in their shoes through your own personal experience as a teen might help you access the understanding and compassion that's needed now.
You've already done magnificently. Trust that all of the love and care that you have given lives strong inside them. It will not be forgotten. It’s part of them forever. And, when they emerge on the other side of this process of individuation, they will let you know they have stayed connected to it in their own way.
Move forward. Forgive yourself for any way that you feel that you have failed your teen, even (and especially) the big mistakes. Parenting is challenging, and you are human too! Show your children how you can forgive yourself and move forward. This is a crucial lesson for them, and required of you as you transform into this next phase of being in relationship with one another.
Find yourself again. Your adolescent is growing into their whole and independent self, and it’s your time to do the same. Who are you as an individual? What are you going to reclaim for yourself as your child becomes more independent?
Nurture YOURSELF. It is commonplace to live our lives with only our children’s needs atop the priority list. Remember that YOU deserve that same care, same love, same value, same nurturance. Just because you are an adult doesn’t mean that being mothered should stop. Spirit loves you as her child. Put yourself back on the top of that list if you have managed to float to the bottom.
[Image description: Woman in a clearing with birds flying above]
Want to take this process further?
Create a NEW To-do List, placing your own needs for nurturing, support, guidance, compassion and PLAY in its rightful place - at the top!
Create a new contract with your emerging adult child
Start a journal page and list the spiritual contract you intend to have with your adolescent once they spread their wings to fly.
Here are some possibilities so you can get the idea:
“I agree to accept your right to make adult choices about your life.”
“I agree to love you no matter what you choose.”
“I agree to offer support, but not force my ideas onto you.”
“I agree to communicate my desires for our relationship without pressure, and trust that in so doing we can have a beautiful and mutually satisfying relationship.”
If you would like some more guidance to help you with this transition, our course: Bridge to Your Soul: Flower Essences & The Arts would be the perfect companion. It’s all online and self-paced, and run by myself and Adrienne, your two Ladybug guides.