Raising Resilient Teens

I overcame it!

Strength is not in your bones, or your muscles.

The ultimate strength is resilience!

It’s the ability to adapt, be vulnerable, ask for help and have faith.

It begins with ACCEPTANCE. Accept the blow, the kick in the guts, the change. It’s not easy, I’ll admit but it’s pointless wasting energy on why, what if, poor  me, if only…. Research has repeatedly shown that the sooner you accept change, the sooner you take remedial action, the sooner you decrease your feelings of stress and overwhelm and return to your normal, less stressed state that can think more clearly.

The next step is looking for the positives. When Covid hit, I lost my job, went onto the dole and income decreased by 70%. My mortgage stayed the same! Nearly 2 years on 30% of my income, investing every last cent in my business, the next training to get results for my clients…. and  I wrote my car off! Next to no savings to buy a new one…. Devastated…. First step, logistics – organise the tow truck and contact my insurance company. Next, allow the emotions, the tears, the fears of how I’m going to get through this… and then the positives…. a list of all the things that needed repairing, servicing, new tyres… Bingo! The amount I will need to spend is double the market value of the car so now I can use the insurance pay out and my last drop of savings to come out with a better car!

  • Emotions expressed.
  • Silver lining found.
  • What’s the next step?

Now for a plan of action to get me through the immediate period – not the whole process of waiting for the insurance call, the money, the searching for a new car… too overwhelming on top of all the other stuff going on in my life. All I need is the next step. In this case, whose car can I borrow 1 day a week, as that’s all I really need? This creates a sense of control which we all need. It also meets the core human need for certainty.

When working with teens and their parents, this is a large part of what we work on. Whether it’s a problem at school, or a loss in the family (parents separated, sibling/parent has died), resilience is required. If you’re alive, you need resilience. We can get through ANYTHING provided that:

  • We have confidence: a deep belief in ourself and a clear understanding of our massive range of strengths!
  • We allow ourselves to fully express the emotions at the time so we don’t end up holding onto wounds that we then take into adulthood and pass onto our kids. It’s a choice.  Intense discomfort now for a short period or later for a longer time, perhaps with more serious consequences as all the things we’ve repressed stack up leading to addiction, comfort eating, people pleasing, self-harm, mental health problems or even suicidal ideations!
  • We know we have a long history of challenges and therefore an awesome tool box to utilise!
  • We know what our strengths are and that we have a history of tweaking them to suit the current challenge.
  • We accept that the school of life isn’t meant to be easy. A lion cub doesn’t just give up at 3 months because they haven’t mastered hunting YET. This expectation that life should be easy, sets us up for pain and suffering! It creates the victim mentaility.
  • We know the importance of focusing/controlling our thoughts and words. (Focusing on worst case scenarios, catastrophising, over-generalising – why does this ‘always’ happen to me versus focusing on all the possible positives, the things that you haven’t mastered ‘yet’…. There’s a part of your brain that looks for what your thinking about… (I think I’ll get a FIAT this time…. I’m going to see FIAT’s everywhere!)
  • We have connections – another core human need. We are not alone. Belonging is a core human need to dating back to cave man days when alone = dead!
  • We have the strength of vulnerability: When we understand that it’s human to need help & that allowing someone to help you deepens friendships, it becomes easier to ask for support, to say, “ey, I’m not doing so well at the moment.”
  • We have focus which feels empowering – What’s the next step? (It’s okay that I don’t know them all now. I just need the next step and if it’s the wrong one that’s okay, at least I’m moving, taking action, changing my physiology and biochemical state. (Edison – 100 attempts at the lightbulb!)
  • We have goals, a clear direction – This enables us to see past the current challenge and keep the big picture, the thing that’s driving us, which is not my car ☹, as our compass in the storm creating a sense of control.
  • We have “Faith in the end” – a deep knowing that we’ve made it through every single challenge to date and this one will be no different!
  • We see the increasing difficulty of the challenges as progress from grade 1, to grade 2. Just think about the challenges you faced when you were 5 that shook your world versus what you can handle now!
  • We see failure as a valuable part of the journey. If we are not failing, we’re not trying new things and therefore we are spinning our wheels, getting bogged! This is where we truly become life-long learners because we understand a fail is just a first attempt in learning. We don’t complete all the requirements for the whole of grade 1 in the first test! We know and accept that.
  • We are happy to succeed. Many of us fear success because it means change. If I make the rep side, there will be less time to hang out with my friends and they might abandon me, tease me, say I’ve changed. If I take the promotion, it might mean moving, leaving friends and family behind. What if I then get sacked because I’m not good enough, realise I hate the job & the kids don’t adapt??? Maybe I should just stay in this soul sucking job that I know how to do!

Think back to when you were a teenager and how hard it was… adapting to high school, not knowing many people, the size of the school, the schedule, all the different subjects, rooms, teachers, homework, assignments…. Trying to find your tribe and remaining true to you rather than buckling to peer group pressure because it was better to be accepted for who you weren’t than to not accepted for who you were…. Not that you really knew who you were because of that little thing called puberty that did all sorts of embarrassing things to your body, on a different schedule to your peers, again creating that sense of being alone… You also had to pick a future… What career, what subjects should I be choosing now as I’m struggling with my identity changing from one of a child to an adult, who still needs their parent but is at a stage where it’s not cool to need them? On top of it all, our teens also have social media… the expectation to always look amazing, be doing something amazing, get more likes, comments than their friends to prove their worth… Comparisonitus on steroids compared to when we were kids and there was no social media nor photo shopping! The bullying can follow them everywhere – there’s no escaping it… Pressure for snap chat nudity, sexting, vaping, chroming… Ah and a little thing called Covid.

Remember your teens don’t always talk about what’s really going on. (I was raped weekly by my father for two years – no one knew. No one noticed the instant personality change, the fear. To this day my mother still doesn’t know…) Even if they do try to tell you, they’re still mastering communication. The critical, rational parts of their brains are still developing. It might be the cumulation of all those changes that they’re going through in adolescence so they might not know why they feel crappy. This is where a teen coach that specialises in building resilience and therefore confidence, can be a God send so join my free group below and reach out if you need support to better support your teen. Together, we can raise a happy, confident, resilient teen!

Julia Williams

Partnering with Parents to raise happy, confident, resilient t(w)eens

Graduate Diploma in Counselling,

Trauma Informed Life Coach

Diplomas in Early Childhood and Primary Education, Bachelor in Education

Current Blue Card

Phone: (+61) 0450 001 486





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