How to Shift Teens from a Complainer to a Reformer?

Learning to command change

Teens today can often be misunderstood. Their dialogues are quick to get emotionallyempowering teens charged and the older generation could describe them as complainers.  I would not argue with that label at times, but, as with all characteristics, it has a flip side that can be embraced. We have to ask ourselves, how do we as adults help to empower teens to become reformers and not complainers?

Teens will at times find complaints about life inside their social circles, family life, or at school. As parents we wish we could tell our kids to demand a higher expectation or outcome for their life and from their friends. Instead of complaining we want to shift their perspective to the status of a reformer who can take charge of their life and do what needs to be done. So how can the change be made from a complainer to a reformer?

How to become a reformer

The definition of a reformer is a person who makes changes to something in order to improve it. As a teen this can be done by becoming highly alert to your surroundings and its context.

“When you start to feel yourself wanting to complain or are unhappy with your current situation, stop and examine those feelings. Ask yourself, what can I do to change this?

empowering teensIf it feels like something is out of your control, find someone with a higher amount of control and approach them to make the change.”

Even if the teen is unable to physically make the change, that doesn’t mean they can’t start a conversation with people who can!

The parents role

Instead of complainers, I advise parents to see your teens as reformers. Meaning that they’re not satisfied with the way things are because they know it could be better and are willing to work to change them. Feeling powerless is often the source of teen angst. Therefore parents need to put them in a position of power in which they can solve their own problems, as set up and modeled by the adults.

You can start in the home. Interview your teen, or start the tradition of family meetings, to see what they’re happy and unhappy with in the family setting. Having power at home can give them that boost of confidence they need to make changes at school or even in their social circles. A teens observations and demands for change come from a passionate belief that life should be as good for everyone as it has been for themselves.

This can be done by demanding equity and compassion in all areas of life. Becoming areformer is a powerful position from which to approach the wider world that our teens inevitably enter. Teens today represent a cross-section of the world across all parameters—women and men of color, a range of religions and ethnicities, national origins and visa

healthy teens at a party, empowering teens

statuses, complex family dynamics, sex and gender roles.

Challenging teens to do the work

We have many teens today that are willing to do the work to make the changes.  We must present them with the right challenges to get them moving in a positive direction. We want our teens to work hard and take full advantage of any opportunity or challenge put in their path.

Your teen can go from being a complainer to being someone who is willing to jump in and work hard to make that change happen, not perfectly from the beginning but ideally in the end.

Learning to be a reformer is never a clean and perfect process but we take and celebrate each small accomplishment along the path. Our role as parents is to call it out and say “I see your power in action, keep building on that!” Teens are going through many changes on the physical and emotional level. Help your teen by adding a tool for releasing stress into their daily routine. Click here to learn about Transcendental Meditation for your teen!

Interested in learning about how the hero’s journey narrative can help your teenager? Click here.

To learn more about Transcendental Meditation at our school, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Summer Ideas & Activities from the Lower School

Looking for things to do with your kids this summer? Lynn Shirai, the Director of the Lower summer School, has provided a list of ideas that can appeal to everyone. Check it out!

Outdoor Ideas

  •  Road Trip: Pack food and drinks, camping gear and head out to a spot away from it all
    where kids can explore and learn on their own. Teach them how to build a fire, set-up a
    tent, etc.
  • Creek stomping in Jefferson County Park: so many creatures and beautiful rocks and
    fossils to find.
  •  Animal track creations: Bring a water bottle, small sack of plaster of paris, paper cup
    and popsicle stick. Go out to the woods and find tracks as you walk. Mix up the plaster
    with water and pour a little into the tracks. Continue walking and finding tracks. Make a
    loop around and return to your first track and pop out of the ground. Make it a game to
    find your other tracks. At home, rinse molded tracks off and identify them. Best tracks:
    raccoons and opossums.
  • Bike around the Loop Trail (helmets, water, snacks and sunscreen a must).
  •  Older kids can help an elderly neighbor with lawn mowing, weeding and other yard work.
  •  Painting rocks; one year my daughter painted rocks to look like small strawberries to
    keep the birds away from the strawberry patch. It worked! One peck on the faux
    strawberry and they never returned.
  •  Create a fairy garden in your backyard. Use sticks and branches, rocks and other
    materials from nature and hot glue or tie with pliable branches and create furniture, tiny
    houses, swings, etc. Plant flowers around the garden.
  •  Planting: Start a flower or vegetable garden and care for it throughout summer. If you
    plant perennials you can keep adding to the garden every year. Lots of memories.
  • Take walks with friends while you social distance. Just getting out and having social
    experiences like this helps.
  • Make a BINGO card of activities for your kids. Have them fill it in and
    get a special prize.
  •  Organize a small group to meet at the park. Bring empty pizza boxes, a
    clip, paper and drawing materials. Use the boxes as an easel. Enjoy the outdoors with
    friends while social distancing and creating artwork.

feministsClick here for a great list of PE type activities you can do easily at home with your kids!

Other Ideas

Click on some of these links to find even more great ideas for summer fun!

https://wideopenschool.org/
https://campkinda.org/welcome
https://www.artcamp504.org/
https://www.pbs.org/parents/
https://jeffersoncountyconservation.com/events/

 

 

To learn more about why Maharishi School would be good for your kids, click here.

Want to know how Maharishi School responded to the coronavirus, click here.

Top 10 Tips for Creating a Balanced Teenager, click here.

FAQ: What Domestic Boarding Families Need to Know

What are the questions domestic boarding students and their families have?

boarding school Dorms Exterior

Maharishi School is more than a place to sleep and study, which is why we have many activities for our students to get involved. Our students gain knowledge at our farm-to-table dining table, in the meditation hall,  and regional field trips, weekend social events like bowling. We also have an eSports night, Iron Chef night, and other excursions designed for our boarding students. Learn more about student activities available beyond the classroom.

Looking for a quick overview of information about Maharishi School’s boarding program, here is your one-stop-shop for all the most commonly asked questions.

 

What is the tuition for a boarding student? $39,000
Can I apply for financial aid?Yes, over 75% percent of students receive financial aid. Click here to find out more.
Is there a payment plan?Yes. You will see that option after you go through the application process.
Do we have a college preparatory curriculum?Yes we have rigorous and dynamic college preparatory classes.
Do we have AP classes?We have 9 Advanced Placement Classes; AP Calculus, AP English Language Arts, AP English Literature, AP Microeconomics, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP U.S. History, AP Computer Science
What are the extracurricular activities?At any time you can find students designing independent, creative projects, stepping into leadership roles, spearheading community initiatives, challenging themselves in athletics, performing arts or STEM competitions. To read about specific actives beyond the classroom click here.
Is your area safe?Yes,Fairfield is ranked #14 in Iowa’s Safest Cities.
Do you shut off the internet at night so students can’t game late?Yes, our boarders have “lights out” at 10:30pm every night and devices are collected by the dorm supervisor. Read “Day in the life of a boarding student” to find out more details on boarding life.
Where do your students go to college?Over 96% of our graduates (since the school has opened) have been accepted at accredited universities, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Wellesley, University of California at Berkeley.Plus regional and national public universities.
Is College Counseling available?We have an excellent college counselor who is also an alumni of our school, as well as a teacher, his name is Jason Walls jwalls@maharishischool.org
Can you help me understand TM better?Definitely, click here to get started with some basic information.
Is your school a religious school?We are a non-sectarian school.
Do you have counselors for students?Students can meet one-on-one with a licensed mental health professional on a confidential basis around a variety of issues and concerns, such as homesickness, depression, grief and loss, eating, sexuality/gender identity, and relationships. Counseling services are available every other Wednesday afternoon and are free for students.
Can you address students with special needs?We can accept students, on our ability to make the reasonable and necessary accommodations to serve their needs. Please let us know during the application process, what kind of accommodation, if any, your student requires.
My child was bullied. How do you address bullying?We have several procedures in place if bullying occurs in the school, starting with an investigation into the bullying. We actively use Restorative Justice procedures and positive discipline. You can read more about that here
My child is very advanced. Can you keep him challenged?We offer a range of courses in the Middle and Upper Schools that support ability and interest levels, allowing for students to take accelerated or Advanced Placement courses across all disciplines. We also provide enrichment and acceleration within classes. Because we have small class sizes, teachers can provide differentiation and individualized learning plans.

 

To read more about boarding at Maharishi School, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Top 10 Tips for Creating a Balanced Teenager

What is a balanced teenager?

When we think about what we want for our children, it’s nothing less than the best whether that’s in school or quality of life outside of school. But when those teenage years come around it healthy teensalmost seems like our kids want the opposite of whatever we want for them, even when it’s for their benefit! This can be an extremely frustrating period for both the parents and the children. I believe it’s important to empathize with what teens are going through and this blog will give some helpful tips from Ayurvedic Health Coach Sankari Wegman. Ultimately you can’t protect your children from everything, and you shouldn’t try to! During the teenage years the best thing you can do is hold space for your teenager and be there when they need you.

 

The individuation process

Some may call it ‘teen angst’, but the scientific term is the individuation process. Carl Jung (a Swiss psychologist who founded analytic psychology) describes this process as;

 “Individuation is a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.”

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then it’s very likely your child is going through the individuation process.

individuation process in teens

  • Has your teen been spending more time isolated in his/her room?
  • Has your teen dyed their hair or drastically changed their outward appearance/style?
  • Is your teen not opening up like they used to?

What’s going on in their brain?

As adults we think with our prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgement. Our prefrontal cortex also provides us with an awareness of teenagers brainconsequences in the long-term. However teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain. As you can only imagine, when you’re acting purely out of raw emotion, there can be less “thinking” and more “feeling” types of behaviors. This is very normal because the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing and not always at the same rate! That rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.

Top 10 tips for creating a balanced teenager

  1. Sleep: Create a regular sleep routine. As hard it might be to establish, going to bed before 10pm is ideal.
  2. Screens: Monitor use of computer/device screen time. Studies are showing screen time increases anxiety and focus.
  3. Volunteer: Encourage your teen to serve others. This will cultivate empathy and inspire your teen.
  4. Eating: Regular meals – no skipping allowed. Healthy, nutritious breakfast and a hot lunch.
  5. Yoga: Start the mind-body connection. Experience feeling good and connecting back to yourself. Once you see the progress, confidence increases. Yoga is great for cardiovascular health, click here to find out all the health benefits of yoga.
  6. Meditate: We recommend the Transcendental Meditation technique. It works like a charm!
  7. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages: Have your teen monitor their water intake (50ml per 100 pounds of body weight).
  8. Abhyanga: Encourage your teen to give themselves a daily massage before their shower. It’s a great way to purify any stresses out of their physiology. Click here to watch how to do this.
  9. Create a Vision Board: Get to know your child’s vision and passions by making a vision board. Parents can help their teen connect their actions with reaching their goals. If the parents make their own board, it can also help the teens make connections that help them relate to their parents.
  10. Consequences: Establish a set of rules or consequences that your teen needs to follow. This way if there is a misbehavior, your teen will know exactly what to expect in terms of disciplining from you and there won’t be any surprises.

maharishi school student doing yogateen exercising teens happy and being silly at winter formal

 

To read more about our stress management, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

To learn more about school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.