Teens and Young Adults still need our Guidance

For some reason, whether I’ve read it somewhere or watched it on a show, I’ve noticed a trend. The parent says something to the effect of now that they are 18, their child is an adult and free to make their own decisions.

While it is true that this is the time in their lives they want to explore the world and assert their independence, take pause.

More and more research shows that brains are not fully developed until they are 25. And while they may act like they don’t need us, they do.

Many run around so determined to be right, to not get taken advantage of, to make sure they teach their child right from wrong and the consequences of those actions.  What is sometimes missed, and it’s the same with little children too, is a major ingredient of all healthy development.

Connection and empathy!

When we look at ourselves and our own imperfections and make peace with them, we are more able to show empathy and acceptance toward others, and our children.

You can still have healthy boundaries and give empathy at the same time.

I’m reminded of when my son was about 7 years old. I can’t even remember what he did but I followed through with the said consequence of his action. In this case, it was not allowing him to watch a show. As he cried, it was so uncomfortable and I wanted to save him. Sometimes we even get mad at their choice because it’s easier to deal with.

But I didn’t. Instead I offered empathy as he cried. And it was as simple as repeating back what he said. All I did was mirror his words, i.e. “You really wanted to watch the show.”

We hugged as he cried.

This was a teachable moment done with empathy, which builds connection. There is a lot written on the power of connection.

Simply, when we really listen to our young adults, without judgment, we get to be a part of their journey as they start the process of getting to know themselves. It’s beautiful to watch.

Believe in them! Let them feel that from you. They are on their own path and will make mistakes, just as we all do. All we can do is be authentic and share concerns or thoughts as they come up. Maybe we will need to set some boundaries. But when it is done with compassion, love and empathy, the connection builds and they feel loved and supported.

That can be a  great start to the rest of their lives.

About the author

Kim Hiles (Dancing Feather) was born in Pennsylvania in the 1960s. Her mother was from Germany and met her father while stationed there. The family moved several times before settling in a town called Millis, Massachusetts.

Kim developed severe anxiety and depression as a child and struggled to find her way. Growing up, Kim was told by her grandmother that she wrote beautiful letters and had a way with words. Later in life, this memory would be a catalyst for sitting down and writing her memoir.

Continuing to say yes to life, Kim talks about her struggles of addiction, anxiety, depression and relationship issues, to name a few. She considers it her life mission to help empower others and uses her memoir as a way to offer guidance in living a more authentic life, following your dreams.

She has overcome much adversity and enjoys walking with others as they find their way. Kim has also co-written a young adult fantasy with her husband Will, called Little Wonders. Their pen name is K.W. Hiles.

Kim is a successful Educator, Social and Emotional Learning Specialist, Behavior Specialist, Mediator (Restorative Practices), 3rd degree Reiki Practitioner, and blogs regularly. In addition Kim offers online classes at Shamanic Passages Institute

Kim is considered highly sensitive and intuitive. Utilizing her gifts, her mission is to channel inspiration and healing and help spread some light. Empowering others to create the life of their dreams is the ultimate goal.

Kim is happily married (21+ years) and lives with her husband, son and their animal companions.

"I had a teacher who told us to go out that week and see how many Mercedes cars we noticed. When I came back I told her I had seen a lot! She asked me if I had seen any junk cars. I told her I didn’t remember seeing any. The next week she reversed it and asked us to go out and see how many junk cars we noticed. Of course we noticed a lot but didn’t remember seeing any Mercedes cars. Where is your focus? Is it on the problem or on the solution and more importantly, where would you like it to be?" -- Kim Hiles

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