We need to talk about teenagers and meditation.
One day they are cute and cuddling, talking and laughing with you, taking a part in the family.
And then they wake up the next day and tell you to leave them alone, and they stay out all day or at home behind closed doors.
They can go from believing in them selves, having strong opinions on lifes’s big questions, too feeling alone and useless.
From love to hate, from overthinking to not thinking at all. They can drive us mad – if we let them…
Yes, we’re talking teenagers here. And pre-teens, tweenies or just puberty. We have all been there. And if we forget how it was, we get to experience it once again with our own kids. With important difference that we are now the grown-ups.
Sometimes we make fun, and say that it’s karma striking back, when our teenagers are giving us a hard time. Now we get to see what we put our parents through.
But, there’s is quite a difference between the teenage lifes we had, and the ones that are being lived now. When we saw celebreties on TV or in magazines, this was most often shared with others. We could talk with our friends about it, because we often had the experience together, or at least simultaneously.
The teens of today a way more exposed on way more channels, than we ever were. And, as the exposure takes place on their own screen, there’s quite a risk, that they don’t talk about the experience.
If mindfulness and meditation was good for us, when we were teenagers, it is crucial for those who are going through puberty now.
We need to support our teenagers in believing in them selves, to be aware of their own boundaries, emotions and behaviours. And to help them feel save to ask questions, to express their worries and get it out there, instead of taking it all in.
Yeah, we all know this. But HOW do we get our teenagers in on it?
The answer is of course easy said. Maybe easier said than done: Lead by example.
What do you do, when you’re feeling tired in the afternoon? Or when you want to relax a Sunday morning?
Do you read an actual printed book or newspaper? Or do yoga or meditation? Go for a walk outside?
Honestly, quite a lot of us tend to relax on the couch with a screen in front of us. Ever caught yourself talking to your kid, while looking at your phone? Telling them to wait, because (you think) you have to answer a text, or watch a story?
When your teenager is pushing your limits, how do you react? With yelling or ignorance? Or with love and patience?
If you feel challenged by your teenager, the first thing you always have to do, is to think about your reaction. How you react will set the tone and level of the conflict at hand. And it will help your teenager learn how to react, when others are starting a conflict.
Your approach to mindfulness and meditation, will have an effect on what your teenager thinks of it.
If you see it as some chore you have to do, something inefficient or boring taking you away from things you would rather do, surely this will have a negative effect on others around you, especially your teenager.
Here’s a few tips to help teenagers get started with meditation and mindfulness.
- Lead by example.
You know that by now. This is number 1 step to make any change. Be the change you wish to see.
Do it yourself. Invite your teen to join whenever possible
- Be patient
When practicing meditation is new to teenagers, you have to accept, that it will take a while to get comfortable with it. Maybe even quite a while. This is OK. Any initiative and any way to do meditation is better than doing nothing.
- Don’t insist on doing it together if your teen finds meditation awkward. We all have to find our way, and so does your teen.
- If your teen finds it hard to sit still, embrace the creativity.
Mindful walking is definitely a thing, and in OliOli we even have a walking meditation. Drawing, doodling or doing a puzzle are also great mind-calming activities.
It might be just taking a break with silent music. Or falling asleep with this at night.
- Introduce your teenager to guided meditations.
Give them a variety to choose from. With a (free) Basic membership at OliOli.one your teenager can access up to 15 guided meditations on different topics. From 4 to 30 minutes, there is something for anytime of the day. All meditations are developed by professional teachers, who also record them, so there’s a great variety in voices and energies.
- Allow your teen to listen on its own.
Let go of control, and let your teen choose intuitively. When you try do point in any direction, you might be killing all your teens curiosity about meditation.
So please, don’t butt in – and stay cool. After all, it’s all about calming the mind. Yours just as well as your teenager’s.