I once had an OCD client who had a teacher yell at her. She became fearful of this teacher and started having obsessive thoughts he would pull her out of class to threaten or scold her. Because he had yelled at her once, her obsession was based on a good-sized kernel of truth. However, as often happens to people suffering with OCD, the obsession was a gross exaggeration of the realistic risk. She struggled immensely with discerning what was realistic and what was intrusive. How does one begin to tell the difference?
It’s confusing. Life is not making sense the way it normally does because none of us knows what’s coming. We have no idea when things will return to normal, or if the normal we’re used to will even exist again. Here’s a 1 minute video of how to cope with the uncertainty.
Sometimes you teach me. You have been incredible throughout quarantine. Teenagers, you’ve been honest with your disappointment, loneliness and sadness, but you’ve also been amazingly resilient. Every one of you I’ve seen in therapy in the last two months have expressed reasons you’re thankful. You’ve all been thoughtful and you have all tolerated this with less complaining than the adults I know!
“I can’t stand this anymore! I’m bored and I’m anxious. When will it end?” One of my clients was lamenting to me yesterday about living through this COVID-19 crisis. His feelings pretty much sum up all our sentiments. Because we all wish for a sense of control, and some of us are languishing on our couches without routine, here’s a quick video that might help a little.
Teaching your teenagers to be thankful helps in for the rest of their lives. Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Considering we’re all stuck at home during this COVID-19 crisis, posting about thankfulness feels important. Without thankfulness each of us will spend our time wishing for things to be normal. Since this day only happens once, there’s no sense in focusing on what you don’t have. Gratitude is one of the best ways to feel happy, have others love being around you, and enjoy your life. If you can teach your children how to feel grateful, they will enjoy their days far more than someone who is entitled.
The first thing you must do is teach them to work. Teenagers who understand that work equals getting things they want/need actually have much higher self-esteem. It seems backwards. It’s easy to understand how a lot of parents believe if their teenager is provided every opportunity that they as parents had to struggle for, their teenagers will go father than them in life. It’s a baffling experience for a lot of parents when they discover all their good intentions had the reverse effect. Teenagers who learn that they get a cell phone when they pay a piece of the bill, or have their parents fill their gas tank after they wash mom or dad’s car, are extremely grateful kids. They don’t assume their parents owe them things just because that’s what other kids have. Instead, they are overjoyed when their parents do help them out, but also very proud of themselves for earning their way. During COVID-19 this looks like teens making a significant contribution to the household chores.
Concepts are caught, not taught. You must model gratitude. If you are someone who complains about your situation all the time, there’s a good chance you make little comments in front of your kids. On the other hand, if you constantly mention the ways you know you’re blessed, your children learn to be thankful in all things. For example, let’s say you’re struggling with money. You could complain about all the things you don’t have, or worse still, make embittered comments about people you envy. Or, you could point out the things you do have while also talking about the hope you have for a better future. Your children will internalize your attitude and live it out.
Lastly, don’t compare. It doesn’t matter who you are, someone has it better than you do. That’s because exactly ZERO people have a perfect life. Only God is perfection. The rest of us are flawed. When imperfect people work to create a life, there will be imperfections in the results. Please don’t begrudge this. It leads to the comparison trap. We don’t need to be complacent, which means that we’ve stopped striving for better, but we do need to be content. Content people are happy people; people who compare are miserable.
My hope is that you have a thankful attitude even through COVID-19. I also hope you use this time to teach your kids how to be grateful in everything they go through in life. Be very clear that as Pastor Rick Warren would say, nobody should be thankful FOR all things (You don’t need to be thankful for cancer). However, you do need to be thankful IN all things because there is always a blessing, not matter how small.
Having a diagnosis of depression is hard enough. One of the most important things to combating depression is getting out of the house. This includes socializing and engaging with others in mutual activity. During the coronavirus outbreak this is impossible for most of us. Here are some simple tips if you are currently dealing with depression.
Hello, I’m Lauren! If you notice your teen struggling, you might be feeling helpless, hopeless, frustrated or concerned as a parent. Try to remember, there is hope. I want to help your adolescent feel better. My hope is for them to enjoy their life again. I want them to feel confident they can handle whatever situations arise.