Parenting Troubled Youth, You're Not Alone
By Kaitlyn Ramsier, Counselor at Caribbean Mountain Academy (CMA).
Conflict in the family is one of the most destructive factors in health and quality of life. It is crucial, especially when dealing with defiant teenage years, that parents make an effort to stay on top of their own health and have some strategies for self-care in their toolbox.
Self-care is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”. Some practical and simple self-care strategies include eating healthy, enjoying a hobby, exercising, visiting with friends, being part of a small group or club, volunteering, going on a date with your significant other, taking a vacation, or practicing healthy boundaries, just to name a few.
How to Identify Effective Self-Care Strategies
Here are some helpful questions to ask:
- What do I like to do?
- When do I feel calm and peaceful?
- Where do I get energy from?
- What is realistic for my current situation?
- When am I able to focus on others and not myself?
- What is an activity I can feel a small bit of control in?
- What am I thankful for?
Don't be Afraid to Ask for Help
For me personally, as a wife, mother of 2 young children (and another due in August), and part-time Clinical Manager here at CMA, self-care looks like… taking a walk with a friend. Asking a friend to watch our kids for a night so my husband and I can connect as parents and a couple. Some days, it is as little as eating a snack I enjoy or taking a drink of water or a deep breath.
Self-care with my family may involve planning a time to go to the river, watching a favorite movie, having a playdate with other moms and their children, or blowing up the pool and playing outside. These activities are easy but many times require effort or planning. They pay off in the end. Enjoyable moments as a family are important – figure out what or where makes you and your children joyful.
Find Time for Uplifting Activities
Sometimes when life feels like it is spinning out of control, it is the little things that count the most, the uplifting activities or time with people that help us refocus. Hopefully, parents are able to find ways to make even family time part of their self-care. If possible, don’t feel guilt or shame in taking time for yourself.
When working through difficult teenage years it may be hard to feel as though the time for your own self-care is justifiable, but believe me, it is crucial. Many blessing and prayers to all the parents out there raising children and especially teenagers. Find accountability in friends, Church, and the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The closest thing to an instruction manual is the Bible; I encourage you to use it and apply the principles to your own lives.