I coach some of the top mortgage professionals in the country as a side hustle, and I run a mortgage team that closed over 140 million in mortgage loans last year and is on track to exceed that this year. I feed my mind with podcasts like fuel to my brain, and I relentlessly practice my mindset. I don't feel like I have it all, no, not even close, but I am a student every day and feel equipped to handle whatever comes... until my teenager comes to me and says she is sad and nothing makes her happy.
My first response: "I get sad too, join the club!"
I say, "don't rely on other people or things to make you happy- that has to come from inside."
Right message- wrong time.
I think to myself, "I grew up on a farm and worked 365 days a year and bailed hay in the 100-degree heat most days; your world is easy!"
But no, taking a step back, being a teenager these days is incredibly challenging, and I have no concept of what that is like. Teens today live their life knowing every mistake and decision, good or bad, will be cataloged and held in a digital world for all to judge. The challenges of Covid, racial divide, and myriads of other issues are a constant for them, something they see dozens of times every day on the internet. They are not equipped yet to deal with all of this.
My husband pulled me aside after this discussion with our daughter. He gave me some good advice, "You probably right answers, but your 49-year-old brain has evolved to this point. Her brain is not close to understanding or completing development. She needs us to listen, to nod, not to fix it."
My husband is a retired Minneapolis Police Officer; he was on a special task force equipped to handle calls with emotionally distraught people or people off their medications who needed to be calmed down in intense situations. On the other hand, I grew up in a hardworking German household where emotions were somewhat foreign - they still are at times.
I have always used this spot to share what I am working on or what is on my mind. This very personal topic is no different. I am learning that many of our teenagers struggle with these feelings. More than 72% do, according to our school counselor. I share this with all of you because you may have teens who get out of bed every day, have lots of friends, and get straight A's, but they are fighting a battle that you know nothing about. This could be just enough for you to ask a few more questions or watch the social media a little closer. I know I will be paying a little more attention and using all the empathy and grace I can muster as we help our teens through all these up and down days.
Also, there is professional support out there for both parents and their teens. Don't be afraid to find a counselor, it's what they are there for, and it could help a lot!