Life happens. Remember to stop, reorganize, and embrace the change.
– Desiree Panlilio
Life happens. The best thought-out schedule or plans are lost in a moment of crisis or chaos. That is okay. Your teen may have every intention of completing their chore of taking out the garbage. But then…a text from a friend asking if they understood the physics homework that is due tomorrow. Your teen panics, crisis in full play. Your teen is thinking, “What physics homework? I did no physics homework?” The task of taking the garbage out lost in the moment. As a parent, we take the garbage out. What we do next is so important. Do not “hold it over” your teens head. Let it go. Taking out the garbage versus refocusing on an assignment they had not even started is the priority. The conversation later may be, “How did you miss not knowing about that assignment?” The tool they were using to track homework may need to be examined. All of this is a conversation, an opportunity to have a dialogue and to come up with solutions that build the relationship with your teen and also helps them to develop critical thinking skills.
Another important point with “life happens” is that our teen’s priorities don’t align with ours and they don’t see things the way we see things. We can’t expect our teens to view life through our lens. We have to come to terms with the fact that they may not fully “get it” until they become adults. Our teens are still learning responsibility and accountability and will not understand why our priorities are what they are. Give them the grace to have that. Take the time to share what your priorities are and the why. This helps your teen build critical thinking skills but it also bridges the relationship and builds communication with your teen.
The flip side of “life happens” is when you as the parent forget to do something or are late picking them up. If you have had the “life happens” attitude with your teen, this reversal of life happens will make it easier for you and your teen to discuss why you were 15 minutes late picking them up. Or the reason you forgot to pick up an item they needed for school. Life happens is also about the giving and receiving of grace from your teen.
We are our teens biggest role model, despite the eye rolling. So as you navigate being the parent of a teen, remember our actions are so important. How we deal with a moment of chaos or unexpected hurdles will be how our teen learns to react to their own hurdles.