Many teens are well rehearsed experts in telling us….. * What isn’t working. * Things they don’t like. * Everything they’re not good at. * What sucks in their life. * When they’ve failed & flunked. * Who annoys them. * Times they’ve given up or want to pull out. * Stories of let down, disappointment and school stuff-ups.
I honour, hear and respect all of these thoughts. It’s important that we hold space for young people to vent, share and off load what’s on their mind. This is a pivotal step in teaching teens that it’s absolutely ok to think and feel what they think and feel. With this in mind, in coaching sessions I often discuss the idea that our thoughts and feelings have consequences and everything that teenagers choose to do next, is the result of their own thoughts and feelings. The good, bad, wild and wacky.
It’s equally important that we empower teenagers to have sufficient self-awareness to draw a line in the sand and make the decision to continue on their train of below-the-line thinking or make a change and work towards above-the-line thinking – which is a lighter, bright and often more compassionate train of thought. Thought awareness is integral to a life well lived and it’s beautifully shared in ROC and RISE, the book written especially for teenagers that’s changing mental health around the world. The earlier teenagers learn the power of choice and importance of quality thinking, the better.
If we want our teenagers to build their own resilient, optimistic and confident attitude at school, sport, in relationships and life… all parents, guides and teachers must choose to gently challenge teenage thoughts and intentionally teach teenagers HOW to choose and direct their thoughts to fall in their favour. This choice has a profound knock-on effect, triggering the release of feel-good chemicals in the body which support all efforts to be above-the-line. It also has enormous impact on the re-wiring teenage brain, myelinating neural pathways associated with thinking more curiously, positively and compassionately about our life. It’s habit building and memory forming.
It’s easy and habitual to talk about what’s NOT good, it takes effort, reminding and practice to talk about what IS good.
Adults can purposefully model above-the-line thinking in day-to-day life, which is wonderful for teenagers to hear and see in action. Being immersed in conversations and environments which lean toward above-the-line living, can be a massive boost for youth mental, emotional and social fitness.
Try directing teens thoughts above-the-line: 🌟 What is working? 🌟 How we can we improve how things work? 🌟 Think about all the things in life we do enjoy. 🌟 What are we good at? 🌟 Pay attention to all the uplifting, great and awesome people and experiences in our life. 🌟 Consider what we’ve learnt from our failures and how we can work towards making a difference. 🌟 Give thought to all those we respect, like and love. 🌟 Remember the times we’ve pushed on and kept going. 🌟 Re-tell stories of hope, happiness and good times.
The habit of thinking above-the-line takes time and practice, but I’m sure you”ll agree it’s well worth it.
This is a vital part of a teenager’s solid and healthy transition in adulthood. It’s not instant or easy, but it paves the way to living a ROC solid life.
Have fun experimenting
R🌟resilience O🌟optimism C🌟confidence
This idea is shared with teens in Claire’s book ROC and RISE. Endorsed by Maggie Dent and loved by teenagers and their families worldwide.