How often have we said, “Don’t do as I do – do as I say”?

While this is excellent awareness that we don’t want our teens copying our behaviour, it’s just not our best parenting moment!

When it comes to our teens, they are watching us. And what they see us do, they do. 

Then we wonder why they: 

  • Have a shitty attitude.
  • Won’t get off their phones.
  • Don’t want to go to school.
  • Start something and give up after a few weeks.
  • Talk rudely to their siblings. 
  • Refuse to exercise. 

Ahh, hello! 

Parenting your adolescents is the biggest mirror there is

This was never more evident than when I was teaching my own children to drive. All of a sudden all my poor driving habits were on display for my children to see. And to copy.

When they sat just outside the speed limit on 106 … they got that from me. When they rode the clutch at the lights, finding the perfect balance point … guilty. When they ‘forgot’ to put their indicator on when making a left turn … oops! And when they found parallel parking hard, choosing instead to find an easier park even though it meant a longer walk  … what can I say?

As our young people have navigated back to school after covid, we’re now seeing a steep rise in teen anxiety. Manifesting itself in a myriad of ways we would prefer they didn’t. It’s showing in the:

  • High rates of truism
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicides
  • Self-harm

Monkey see monkey do has never been more true. 

If you are worried about your adolescent, take a look at your own behaviours … where are you seeing them? 

You may say, “Well, that’s just not true. I’m a good employee. I show up for work. How come my kid won’t go to school? There’s no parallel there.” 

My gentle reply is, “Where else in your life are you not showing up? And more specifically, how come you haven’t taken your adolescent to the doctor yet to get the medical help they need for their anxiety?” 

All the avoidant strategies are the same: 

  • The promises
  • The commitments that aren’t followed through on
  • The excuses that start with, “Yes, but …”

And right there is your work. 

Start with yourself and your rangatahi will follow suit.

Come on parents, what we do makes the biggest difference of all.

When you are ready to change the way you parent book a call to explore how you can change the way you show up for your adolescent. 

Because until you are prepared to change, how can you expect them to?