“Psst….I’ve got a 14yr old!”
This comes from the experiences I’ve had outside of boardroom meetings, in my conversations with individual members of the management team. It’s often here that I’ll be approached, apprehensively at first, with a disclosure that they themselves have got a son or daughter who is displaying behaviours that they are struggling to manage.
The conversation usually starts with “I’ve got a 14yr old…” and then instantly I know that what we have discussed in our meeting has struck home personally for them.
I’m always so pleased that my message of ‘No Shame – No Blame – No Judgement’ had hit home.
We should be talking about our teens and the multitude of stresses we face in raising them.
These teen problems we face aren’t discriminatory.
The teen development process and all that comes with it shows zero regard for the second home you may own in the country or if you hold a position of Director in a large organisation after acquiring qualifications from a prestigious university.
It doesn’t care if you have a project deadline to reach.
If we are unaware of the adolescent developmental process and if we don’t have the tools to manage all of the emotional, psychological and social changes that come with it, then we can find ourselves in positions that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies:
- sleepless nights from fear
- the lack of control as you watch your child sabotage every advantage you have provided for them.
- the desperation you feel
- the lack of support or anyone to speak to
- the fear of being ‘found out’
It’s that fear that levels the greatest amount of weight on the shoulders of working parents.
The fear of judgement – often because we remember the times we’ve looked at others and judged them for their poor parenting skills. No way should this level of upset be happening in my own home - we think – unless… “I’m a bad parent!”
It’s that thought process that keeps the smile plastered on in the workplace as all hell breaks loose at home.
We’re talking your 14yr old who is showing a constant flow of defiance and poor attitude.
Or your 17yr old who is out until all hours of the night - not knowing where they are and their refusal to respond to your text messages or calls.
We’re talking about your 15yr old who has started to dabble with ‘recreational’ drugs and your worry is - What else are they taking? What if they OD on something? Where are they getting this from? I mean, how many steps from the deep and dangerous criminal enterprise are they? Who are their dealers and who are their dealers connected to? If I stop their pocket money – will they become in debt to their dealers and then where will that lead?
We’re also talking about your 18yr old who you’ve just realised has been self-harming. For how long - you don’t know. But what you do know of, is that butterfly feeling of a pain mixed with anxiety and helplessness that you carry around with you all day – at work and at home.
We need to get honest about the pressures working parents are under.
We need to understand that when it comes to the worries we have about our children – the lines of separation between work and home do not hold.
There is no such thing. There is nothing of greater importance to us than our children and when these things hit – it takes over every fibre in our beings. A natural response that does not abide by the rules of work and home life.
We also need to recognise that when these elements are not managed, that it impacts on a parent’s emotional well-being and the knock-on effects are instantaneous.
If our children are impacted upon – it impacts on us.
As quick as that!
There is no breathing room.
And unfortunately, the pressures can mount if they are not managed.
It’s time to support working parents who have older children.
We know that this pandemic is having a huge negative impact on the mental health of adults and children, with the government recently estimating an extra 10 million people will need to access support from an already overstretched service.
As a business owner, now is the time to take proactive steps with a new approach.
If you are interested in providing more than a tick-box-exercise, please get in touch.
This is an area that you truly can support your workforce to build in confidence, awareness and to make the changes they need.
CLICK HERE to learn more.
Mom of teens | Teen Behaviourist | Parent Advocate
Working-Parent Occupational Health Consultant