Raising Teens: Being Seen

- Written by Carolyn Reilly, Springhouse Parent -

My husband and I have been taking the “Raising Teens” class offered through Springhouse Community School. As a family, we’re in the midst of much transition and some unknowns in our lives and, because of this, I feel we are learning to relate to our three teenage children.

Navigating the difficulty of adolescence and maturation can be overwhelming and full of doubt and questions. Through the class we’re taking, we’re learning about MIT’s research and how the Raising Teens Project has “identified 10 critical developmental tasks that teenagers need to undertake to make a successful transition to adulthood.” These tasks are not easy, and they’re not scrawled out for teens with step by step instructions. I’m learning that holding safe home space for my teens as they explore and grow into themselves is helpful.

The struggles and emotional whirlpools of my teens has also stirred up in myself strong emotions and sometimes a reversion to my communication patterns of younger years: sarcasm, manipulation, yelling, etc. Because of the Raising Teens class, I’m first of all learning to check-in with myself when the emotional teen whirlpools swirl. I’m striving to ground myself and step away to catch my breath, knowing that I can’t solve every problem my teens’ face (in fact, I can’t solve every problem I face!). Along with the 10 Tasks of Raising Teens, MIT also notes, “In addition, many researchers see human development as a lifelong process, with parents developing alongside their adolescents.” (https://hr.mit.edu/static/worklife/raising-teens/ten-tasks.html) There is so much yet to learn and understand, and I accept the journey to keep growing into adulthood, parenthood, and life!

One more thing I’ve recently learned through the Raising Teens class: Teens need to be SEEN. In a society that segregates and divides by class, color, gender and age, often teens are set (or shoved) aside and placed in a category that adults claim they can’t relate to. We all were teens once, and that teen is still inside us. We are all people who long to be appreciated, loved and seen for who we are, even in the midst of figuring that out. I’m grateful for the Springhouse Community who truly see (and support) teens (and adults) as they do the wieldy work of finding self, soul, spirit and strength to be a reflection of love in our world.

Published on November 5, 2018

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