On my first trip deep into the teen years, it became instantly clear to me that parenting teens and young adults is about 500 times more mentally taxing than at any other point on the parenting journey. I remember in particular my very first truly horrific day with my first teenager, where I had reached the “I would happily trade my eye rolling teenager for your tantrum throwing toddler Any. Damn. Day. Of. The Week” mood.
Dirty diapers? No problem, I was a pro.
Life coaching adolescents during a pandemic? Please send help.
The last few months, as the uncertain chaos of the country surrounds us like a humidity cloud of viral pathogens (literally!), I am back to serving as the mental rock of my family. Even though my husband and I have had many nights recently lying in bed asking each other questions like, “Now what? But what if….? What do we do when that happens? How will we…..” with no good answers, we’re having to answer them for our college kids.
Unfortunately, they’re just as anxious as us but without the decades of life wisdom to see them through this year of insanity, and so we have bear the burden right now of taking on the role of therapist, coach, cheerleader, and mentor, all in one giant effort to get them to 2021 (or just back to campus this fall.)
How exactly do we do that? We preach them some good ‘ol standby but extremely true cliches, tell them these mantras are the only answers we have right now, and then cross our fingers real hard.
10 mantras to share with your teens and college kids
- This is but a blip on life’s radar
You’ve got a LONG life to live, and I promise you 2020, while very memorable, is really just a tiny speck on your life journey.
2. Keep getting up
Covid, just like life, is knocking people on their behinds in more ways than one. But life doesn’t come with a potential miracle vaccine. Instead, it comes with you learning that you just have to keep getting up. Again, and again, and again. We may not be able to vaccinate for Covid right now, but you can inoculate the heck out of life’s potential defeat with that kind of wisdom.
3. This will not be the hardest thing you face in life
It just won’t, and I know that is scary to say, but it’s the truth.
4. Comeback stories are awesome
Perhaps the best part of 2020 is actually gonna end up being 2021. You’ll see. Also, remember this when you don’t wanna keep getting up.
5. You’re in charge of how you feel
And I do mean FEEL, as in FEELINGS, which you need to remind yourself can never replace facts. Can you feel everything deeply? Of course! Do you need to wallow in the bad feelings? Nope, because you’re the boss of them, not the other way around. Take charge and stay in charge.
6. You can do more than you think
You’re going to waste a lot of time talking yourself out of things you’re entirely capable of doing, including staying positive through the remainder of this year and returning to campus. Keep talking in uplifting ways to yourself, and the impossible will no longer seem out of reach.
7. The ordinary is extraordinary
After sheltering in place for months, I kind of feel like you really understand this one already, and that’s a great thing, because you have many ordinary days and years ahead of you where you’re going to have to remember that the simple things are often the best things.
8. It’s OK to ask for help
If there was ever a time to reach out for help if you need it, now is the time. Ask. Ask again. Ask your roommate, resident assistant, professor, campus counseling center- ASK! You’re not in this alone. The whole country is struggling, but we’re also ready to help you (and each other!) get through it.
9. Getting drunk won’t cure Covid.
I know, I’ve tried. But just in case you get to campus and the uncertainly of everything continues to be too much to bear, getting drunk won’t solve one single problem in your life. It only creates more.
10. This too shall pass
Nothing else to say here except when #1-9 fail you, meditate on this on, because it’s probably the truest of them all.
You Might Also Enjoy Reading:
17 Items to Take Care of Before Your Teen Leaves for College – These are the practical things that will make the transition so much easier, once you cross them off your list.
Best Advice for College Freshmen from Recent Grads – Here’s what recent grads think about the best ways for teens to get comfortable in college and succeed.