Starting a new school year? There are three steps to support your teen in this. We looked at New Beginnings and Avoiding Stumbling Blocks. The third part of overall support is perhaps the most important: Celebrating Successes.
Remember when your baby started walking? I think back to Jadrian. Her dad would stand her up and point her my direction. I’d put my arms out and call her. With lots of encouragement, we’d cheer her on as she bumbled toward me. Repeatedly, she plunked down on her diapered bottom. Failure? No! Just a chance for us to stand her up and have her keep trying. And when she made it from one set of arms to the next? Celebration! Her little success was BIG.
What if we could maintain that same celebratory, supportive attitude with our teens? Imagine if we could wake them repeatedly in the morning with humor and then celebrate when they are up and ready for school? What if we could make responsibilities lighthearted? Chores and homework may well be as daunting for our overloaded teens as toddling is for a baby.
When our teen remembers to do something without reminders…celebrate! Injecting levity in the process…a little dramatic acting, like falling on the ground in shock or raving a minor success, makes the process fun. (Any time my husband or I can harmlessly embarrass our teens, we seem to bond over their rolled eyes and grimaces!) Light-hearted reminders, a la Parenting with Love and Logic work, too: “I’d be happy to take you to the mall, just as soon as the garbage is out.”
Yes, we rightfully expect our teens to be taking on more responsibility. They are. Celebrating little successes along the way and affirming little victories as the norm just sweetens the journey.