WHAT MAKES TEENAGERS HAPPY AND UNHAPPY? I'm attending a gathering of psychologists, sociologists, and teenagers this morning in London. The gathering is supporting research - sponsored by Coca-Cola - into a better understanding of teenage happiness and unhappiness. Do you have any opinions? I'd love to hear from teenagers, parents of teenagers, and those who have relevant teenage stories. Thank you very much.
This was my reply and some lovely responses:
Tracey Lee Wallace @Robert Holden - as the mother of 3 spectacular boys 22, 20 & 18, I have had countless teenagers in and out of my home and heart. I feel very comfortable on this topic. Teenagers want what we all want - to be seen and heard, to feel validated and valued. And they want boundaries. They don't like them, but they do want them. People have often asked me how I managed to raise such amazing boys. I tell them my secret is to be extremely available, accepting, open, and just a tad scary - meaning they know I mean business when I mean business. The real trick for me was to remember that these sons of mine are tomorrow's men. I took to teaching them how to be men early on and with a great sense of pride and responsibility. Additionally, I knew that my job was NOT to protect them from all of the pain and hurt of the world. I rather wanted them to experience some of that while they were in my loving home and could fall into loving accepting arms. To learn how to navigate through life on life's terms rather than sugar coat it for them and through them out into it to learn on their own. I think perhaps the single MOST important thing I did for my boys was to give them what I call The Blessing. I sat them down over and over and said to each of them, "You can come to me with anything, any mistake, dream, fear, success, wish, failure, passion, panic, excitement, with anything and I will love and accept you - always no matter what; and if you want me to I will help you figure out next steps." Trust me when I say my boys have believed me and I have been called to the task more than once. And with a big mommy <gulp> I have honored my promise of The Blessing. Teenagers want what we all want.
Thank you for doing this work Robert. I love you much!
Lisa: Thank you Tracey. I feel very encouraged by your words. I too have three boys 15,15 and 13 .
Jacqueline: i have two young boys and give the same blessing, tracey. loved your words here. xoxo