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4 Strategies to Connect with Your College-Bound Teen

This Guest Blog is by Andrea Carvin OTR/L. Andrea is a Feminine Power Health & Leadership Coach and owner of InnerSparks, LLC where she helps professional women stay healthy, let go of stress and effectively radiate their love, power, and wisdom. 

“The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.” Quentin Crisp

The paradox of rebellion and conformity is a disorienting dilemma. On the stress scale, parenting teens is up there with moving homes, losing a job, and a multitude of change related items.

As a feminine power leadership coach and Occupational Therapist, I help people move into the unknown all the time.  As my kids began their college lives,  I was particularly grateful for my training.  Utilizing coaching super powers made the tender times sweeter and the prickly times less stinging.  Most important as we grew together, we did not get stuck digging in our heels and powering up to be right; or standing on soapboxes, feeling alone and disconnected.

Developing skills to navigate our own emotions makes all the difference between growing closer to your child versus getting caught in disorienting power struggles. Learning effective ways to re-define yourself as a parent of a college kid will support you to grow and nurture the relationship you imagined you would have with your precious teen.

As a mindfulness practitioner, I encourage my clients to meditate on the following 4 qualities and bring them into daily living as easily as you do when you get dressed in the morning.

Appreciate 

Appreciate your child’s strengths.  By doing this you offer them an accurate and positive sense of themselves.  Here is an example.   

You have a child who is introverted and you are not.  Take time to know how they manage themselves particularly their energy as an introvert.  What habits do you see them do? While this may be easier for an introverted parent, it is a great opportunity to discover benefits of habits introverted teens use to navigate their lives. 

Practice

Keep appreciation rather than dread in mind as you open conversations about your differences create bridges of opportunity to connect.  Something you and your freshman can learn to value for years to come.

Amplify 

Many seniors are so excited to be moving on, any reluctance or fear you may feel, as a parent is a potential point of a power struggle.  This is a great time to help your future college student by engaging them in ways that empower and amplify their growing independence.  

Practice

What this might look like is “what do you think works best to manage money, when you get to school” or  “tell me how you prefer to manage your accounts now and let’s discover what works best at school. ”  As your child answers, become the amplifier of what is working and build on it.   As parents we so easily remember all the ways they are still our children and needed us to step in.  What they need now is for us to see them in all the ways they have developed into the amazing young adults they are.  

Acceptance

Accept your young adult needs to spread their wings, develop confidence in their ability to make decisions and navigate their new world.  They have skills and will need to develop a lot more.   Pay attention to the things you fear for them and things you are feeling called to try and control.   Process your feelings with other people you admire, coaches or therapists.   This will help you grow necessary confidence as well.

Practice

One thing doesn’t change much from crib to college and that is, what we say is not nearly as powerful as what we do.  So take the time to keep at least one eye on your own needs and self-care while you have the other on your child. 

It’s Never too Late

It’s never too late to start and create your AAA parenting skills.  I can enthusiastically say, my kids and I have had good laughs as we have approached the power struggles, learned how to navigate stormy seas to get to blue skies and calmer waters.

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Bio

Andrea Carvin OTR/L is a Feminine Power Health & Leadership Coach and owner of InnerSparks, LLC where she helps professional women stay healthy, let go of stress and effectively radiate their love, power, and wisdom.  Her coaching programs include Radiant Leadership Skills for Women Leaders and Awaken Your Natural Healer for Women and Leaders.

As a happy mom of 3 young adults, 2 step kids, and 3 grandchildren she also enjoys working as an author, speaker, Occupational Therapist with expertise in lifestyle change, stress related illnesses, health, and wellness. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and their youngest child when he takes a break from college life.

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