Learning to command change
Teens today can often be misunderstood. Their dialogues are quick to get emotionally 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?
If 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
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!
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