Support at exactly the right time
When I first saw this video, it was exactly what I needed to see. I’d just lived through some seriously hard homework created turmoil, and I was seriously down on my parenting performance!
This 90 seconds clip really does explain so well what’s going on with teenagers, and why they’re doing what they’re doing. So before you read any further, go watch the clip above!
Compassionate Communication and the safety need.
Compassionate Communication tells us that ALL behaviour is an attempt to meet a need.
The need for security and safety is a VERY REAL and BASIC human need for EVERYONE.
So, if your teenagers are pushing and prodding you, or the boundaries you set (and remember, boundaries are about fulfiling your own needs) it’s because they’re pushing and prodding the safety and security of those boundaries.
Of the known and familiar, to check that it holds steady, as they change.
To look for reassurance that you will remain certain and stable in exactly the way they expect, despite all that’s changing within and around them.
To have modelled for them boundary holding in the face of difficult or provoking behaviour. And let’s be real, while our own teenager may be the one displaying the difficult or provoking behaviour to us, they’re also on the receiving end of this from their teenage peers!
Teenagers need their family relationships
Our society often pushes the narrative that teenagers don’t need their parents or family as much as they need their peers. Having been a youth worker (and a teenager myself!), I wholeheartedly disagree with this societal narrative.
Because of all the changes occurring internally (physically, hormonal, brainwise), and externally amongst their peer group, teenagers need the stability and differing perspectives that come from the age diversity in their family potentially MORE at this time in their lives than at any other.
And then you add on the pressures of GCSEs and A-levels, and the discovery of self and purpose (which, let’s be honest is often an ongoing thing – least ways, at 40, I’ve still not figured that one out!) and you have in front of you a very vulnerable and oftentimes hurting young person.
Violence is a tragic expression of an unmet need
Marshal Rosenberg said that ‘all violence is a tragic expression of an unmet need’.
It’s tragic because the violent behaviour (physical or verbal) is the very behaviour LEAST likely to get that need met.
If your teen is screaming at you, let’s be honest, how likely are you to offer them a hug?
Not likely, right?
And yet connection, love, physical touch – these are probably all things the young person in front of you is desperate for.
A wounded animal lashes out, out of fear and desperation. Out of an attempt to protect itself and prevent itself from becoming hurt further.
A young person who’s needs for connection, love and appropriate physical touch are going unmet is hurting.
They are wounded.
They lash out.
This is not just true for teenagers!
And, as you’ve been reading this, you may have realised, none of this is limited to the teen in your life.
This is true for ALL the humans in your life.
So lovingly hold your boundaries, and get curious about the behaviour being presented to you.
What’s behind that behaviour?
What’s the need?
And can you go about modeling how that need could be met?
All of my coaching is based on Compassionate Communication.
So, if you’d like to experience this way of being, whether that’s for your own good or the good of the teen in your life (hint: it’ll be good for everyone who you encounter and interact with, and that incudes yourself ❤), then drop me a message, and we can see if coaching with me is a good fit for you.