Tweens/Teens and Emotional Intelligence

By: Chyrl Mosley – MSN, BSN, BA-Psy, FNP-BC

Life Coach and Fledgling Medicine Woman

Like many a parent before me, I have fallen into that place somewhere between aggravation and insanity that happens get when my child rolls her eyes or whispers sassy bits of brilliant sarcasm under her breath as she stomps off, after one of many “fresh” encounters on a new continuum of my life. Knowing that new eyes were needed, and something had to change; my go to source Dr. Google provided me with an inspiring article about what not to do as a parent. An epiphany occurred early into this article: the comical realization that my 11-year-old child is freaking brilliant beyond words. OMG, she has learned how to “push my buttons” like a master of the sass craft!  And I empowered her to do so… because I am taking her actions personally and reacting rather than responding! Old trap… new situation.

Thoughts of other nagging situations of late… and so it is… these things are bothering me because I am taking other people’s actions personally. It has really troubled me that people are unkind, judgmental, and assume things and I could literally feel this crawling around under my skin. And… sigh… it is not about me. It’s about them. My child is being a child because she’s a child… this is not personal. This is part of her growing process as a human being and my job is to help her grow into a beautiful human being…. which I am going to have a much harder time doing when I’m taking her “growth process” personally. She is not rolling her eyes as a conspiracy to reign down a special recipe of disrespect and aggravation upon me. She is rolling her eyes because she’s an 11-year-old preteen, and that’s what happens when she doesn’t know how to handle her emotions. Her burden level of frustration, anger and her need to strike out at others when she feels something is unfair takes on a life of its own, and it’s called being a kid. And when the grown-up species are unkind and judging and make all kinds of assumptions about things and then are catty or shifty… that is also, most definitely not about me. This is about people being people and dealing with their own hurts.

And the even more special kind of torture of late in this life, is taking the actions of other kids bullying my daughter at school personally. Despite the fact that I have an overwhelming desire to go up there and open a special kind of whoop ass on those evil little nincompoops’ and their spawn producing parents; whom I was, in a weak moment, certain trained their children up in this special kind of meanness. I breathe deep and do NOT digress… because I know they are the walking wounded, who are spewing their hurt out because they don’t know what to do with it either… AND… it’s also NOT personal. It’s NOT about me and it’s not about my daughter. This is about them. And it is sad. Hurt people hurt people. Sigh… so much easier to breathe and respond with compassion and wisdom to situations when you know they are not about you. And you understand that everyone is a product of something and their behavior is never about you.

So how do you do it… how do you not take things personally. Well, in my fledgling human opinion, whether its children or other adults; you do two things. You take responsibility for what is about you. That special brand of honey dripping sarcasm my daughter so professionally wealds… well, she came by it honest and learned it from yours truly. I’m creating her, and my experience of life is my own creation. And while it’s not personal… I do have some ownership in it. When your children witness you, they are your greatest audience and you are the sage of their childhood… and they shall learn, and it won’t be discriminate, and they will use it against you at some point in that “karma come home” kind of way. Face in hands! Her behavior is about her and my example… well that’s about me. And next… you have to swallow hard and realize that every time you take something personally that another person does you give them power. The power to hurt you, to

manipulate your feelings, and you make them the villain. And what does that mean? It means you become a victim. We are more prone to this when the relationship is personal. Expectations are created and attachments to the outcome of those expectations are formed. This is a bargain with the devil. Simple truth… it’s never about you. Don’t fall into the trap of your story… Only you are about you. Create some space between yourself and those reactions by putting it into perspective. Respond after your due diligence… Breathe.

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