DEFINITION

Childhood is a long journey.  Long does not mean something negative; however, long implies the positives to be encountered along the journey.   For example, the stage of adolescence affords the teenager knowledge and a skill set by which to assess and access parents, understand their position within the family and where “better ”can be achieved.

PLEDGE

I _________________________________ pledge to aim for “better” on a daily basis.  In this vein, the goal is to realize that perfect is a moving target that cannot be attained.  It is about being conscious of doing something better, which will bring with it positive affirmations and validations.

CHECKLIST

  • Note that you are the expert on you and on members of your family.
  • Do not “should” on yourself.
  • Aim for better (personal, school, outside school interests and goals).
  • Think about doing something better.
  • Distinguish what the concept of better looks like.
  • Understand that you are going to aim for better.
  • “Better” equals feeling good. Feeling optimistic.
  • Use a complimentary strategy with your parents. Avoid the oppositional strategy (coin flip), as this one is conflict-based.
  • Focus on the foundation you want and the focus will become aiming for better.
  • The better is about looking up. Looking up gets you to that particular spot.  A way to direct your wishes.
  • Know that your parents need to learn how to let go and let you aspire for better.
  • Ensure that you pick your spots, as you only have a finite amount of energy to fight every battle.
  • Launch requires knowing the fixed parenting rules: don’t yell, be consistent, be clear, logical consequences, be firm and consistent follow through of expectations and limits.
  • Demonstrate an ability to hear “no” because you will need to know how to dispense “no” someday yourself.
  • Understand that after thirteen years of age, you want to listen for the language of “convince me” from parents. This is your signal to demonstrate your negotiation skills.  Parents will use this language.  However, if it is not present, attempt at your own risk to introduce it into the conversation.
  • Children are adaptive.  They know how to move in and out of situations.

ACTIVITIES

  • An invitation is extended for you to attend a get together (party of sorts). Choose the option of bringing it to your parents’ attention.
  • Remember that it is not necessarily about right or wrong. It is based on walking with each other’s differences.  That is, the different roles of each parent, and of course, your role.  For example, mother is in charge of socials and father is in charge of giving lifts to and from events.
  • Engage in being mindful of the different parts involved at the point of contact, related to a specific request/situation.
  • Know your audience. Strategically determine which parent to approach, knowing under which job description or strength that particular request falls.  You can file this information as it is being received and assign it to the correct parent (complimentary or oppositional parent).
  • Bring parents into your picture/lens. Remember, parents get consumed with putting you in their picture.  The phone camera seems to be out at every turn and at every event.
  • Engage with the day-to-day philosophy of the journey of having parents in your picture. Having this perspective will allow for better times and provide the backdrop for enhanced momentum to aim for the proverbial better.
  • Refer back to the checklist noted above and you will notice the “convince me” strategy taking form here and your capacity to roll with and issue “no”.
  • When necessary and appropriate ensure that you keep energy in reserve. A lot of energy is released during the daily parenting/child dynamic.  It is important to keep some stored for use in the right circumstances.
  • Follow the one-minute a day rule. That is, step back, reflect and ask yourself, “How am I doing?”  It is about being quiet and taking in the moment.  Look at this as a mini assessment designed to point you in the right direction.

REFLECTIONS

Aiming for better does not need to happen overnight.  It is a day-to-day, moment-to-moment exercise of pushing yourself in the direction of bettering yourself.    Different parenting styles are born from where the individual parent comes from.  Remember that love comes in all different forms and it is shown in different ways.  That elusive “No” can become a “Yes”; however, you the adolescent child need to “convince” the parent.  It needs to be emphasized that every parent has a stage of parenting where they land at their comfort place.  A place that makes sense and feels good for that parent.  For example, your father may feel most at ease and in the know when you are 14 years of age; whereas, your mother may feel in her correct territory when you are 7 years of age.  Securing this knowledge base will definitely help you in understanding yourself and the changes that need to follow.

CERTIFICATE

I am now uniquely qualified and positioned to concentrate my efforts on accepting the terms and conditions, as related to the long childhood journey.  I am proudly positioned to choose my spots and to advocate for myself in a meaningful and productive fashion.  The system of aiming for better is firmly in place and launching can become reality.