If you were rooting for the Golden State Warriors, you’re probably still celebrating the win. The GSW are the 2017 NBA Champions. I’m not much of a basketball fan (at least not since the end of the Shaq/Kobe bromance), but their slogan ‘Strength In Numbers” has stuck with me. It has been their tagline for the past few years and they have remained focused on that. What does that have to do with parenting?……. Everything! I have the joy of raising a teenage boy and its nothing short of a roller coaster ride. A few months ago, I was frustrated, thinking there’s no way I could do this. But then it hit me, I needed to change my thought process, I was focused on raising my kids the way I was raised; the way I knew how. Something had to give, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and began talking with people I knew about their own kids. What I realized is, just by asking how their kids were doing, I found out that a lot of them were going through the same thing I was. I also realized that I didn’t need to do this alone, with that I decided to change focus. If I’m going to maintain my sanity while raising a teen I need to be adequately prepared for the journey.
Just as you invest time and energy into becoming better employees, perfecting a hobby, you should invest in becoming a better parent. There are tons of resources available, some free others can be quite pricey. There is a resource that’s free and available to all; other Parents. We are always curious to know what else is out there and if anyone else has had/is experiencing what we are going through. I understand that some of us are very private (especially my Caribbean folk) but sometimes, by internalizing everything we become frustrated, that frustration turns into anger and even depression. That’s’ the last thing you want to happen, you need to be emotionally stable for the sake of your family. Whenever I talk to other parents I realize that they have similar struggles and experiences and I somehow feel a sense of relief knowing I’m not alone (…or losing my mind). Use them as resources, hopefully they have ideas to share that will add value to your journey and be prepared to share your experiences as well. “Each one, help one”.
Using Social Media for Good
You already know, you’re having trouble putting the phone down, I know I am. Since you’re going to be on the phone use it as a resource. Social Media is our daily lifeline, use it to your advantage. There are so many mommy communities and blogs out there, trying to keep up with them can be exhausting. I simply can’t do all of that and still attempt to have a life. What I’ve done is to follow a few parenting blogs on Twitter, why? because most of them share links to their blog posts there. I can follow the link to the post or save to read later. Of course, you won’t agree with everything they offer, but there’s value in most. You may also like the fact that some retweet jokes from top mommy bloggers; great for those moments when you just need a laugh. I follow Today’s Parent, Parenting.com & Huffington Post Parent. Do you know the 7 Universal Truths About Raising Teenagers? The first; Teenage brains don’t work properly” had me laughing before I even read the info that followed. It confirmed what I was thinking and immediately reduced my stress level, which was much needed at the time.
If neither of the above suggestions work, then counseling is also an option. A lot of conflict arise from being unable to find a reasonable middle ground for parent and child. There’s often a disconnect between what our expectations are and what our children want to do. Life would be way less complicated if we could bridge the gap. Counseling is one of the ways in which we can try to overcome this obstacle. Your child’s Guidance Counselor is a good place to start. You can learn a thing or two about who your child is at school just by talking to them. Even if your child has managed to stay under the radar, Guidance Counselors are often required to meet with students throughout the school year to guide them through the education process.
You may also reach out to licensed professionals through community organizations and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). I have always worked for companies that offered EAP, but never looked into it. EAP is an employee benefit that assists employees with personal problems and/or work related problems that may impact their job performance, health, mental and emotional well-being. You may qualify for multiple sessions with a licensed social worker or psychiatrist at no cost to you and major health insurance covers additional sessions as necessary.
Life is complicated with hurdle after hurdle, the key is to turn your frustrations into action. Feeling frustrated by my own shortcomings as a parent I decided to take action and in taking action, I found a lot of useful information that has helped me. Seeking after knowledge in any area of life can be overwhelming but it also creates a heightened sense of awareness. As I mentioned in my introductory post, I’m crazy for starting a blog with everything I have going on, but the truth is, by researching and exploring the options for topics to write about. I am empowering myself for all that lies ahead; achieving the objective I set out to attain. I have also come to realize that a lot of the challenges we face as parents, are universal, transcending ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, I am sharing this post as a Caribbean American parent, but I hope it adds value to your journey, regardless of where you are from.