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Pod Wisdom: The Power of Relating to Your Teens with Acceptance

We all want our teens to be happy and healthy, but often this means wanting them to do things "the right way," which usually means our way. Most of the time we do this out of love and with the best intentions. But as our expert guests, Jena Curtis, EdD, and Vanessa Baker explained on episode 21, the real magic happens when we can get let go of our agendas and accept our teens exactly as they are.

Vanessa Baker's Two Steps to Accepting Your Teen as They Are

In episode 21, we asked Vanessa how she coaches parents toward acceptance. Step one, she said, is to work on accepting yourself as you are:

Truly accepting your kids is hard. It's not easy, but it's simple. It's simple for two reasons. Number one, if we don't accept ourselves and we're not on the path to working on accepting ourselves as we are, then there's no possible way that we can accept someone else. It's just a fact. So, do the inner work to really accept who you are.

Step two for Vanessa is to stop seeing your teen as your science project:

Number two, your happiness cannot depend on how your kids ultimately turn out. They're not responsible for that. For someone to turn out a certain way and that is how I get to be happy and satisfied with myself and not feel myself a failure or a loser?

If this rings a bell for you as a parent then it's time to take a deep breath. If you're working to get your kids into college and extracurriculars and a career path, so you can be happy, then that's not a relationship. That's a science project. That's something completely different.

Jena Curtis on the Role of Honesty in Accepting Your Teen as They Are

Jena followed Vanessa's advice with a reflection on how she used honesty to generate more acceptance with her teen son:

The parents work is to realize not only are your children not broken, but parents are the ones contributing to any conflict that exists. And that is the part that parents really have control of.
When Vanessa talked about accepting your child for who they are. She brought us to this really beautiful, transcendent place, but from a really pragmatic perspective. Like all of the beautiful transcendence stuff is true. And as your child gets older, you will have less and less ability to actually control their behavior.
What you are able to control as your child approaches adulthood is your relationship with them, how you communicate honestly with them, and how honest they are with you.
So my 15-year-old kid who dropped out of high school because he had major depressive disorder, recovered from that, and was 17 when all of the cannabis legalization was happening in our state.
So I had this experience of my 17 year old coming to me and saying, I'm really curious to try marijuana. And me saying, again because we just had this fabulous opportunity to really learn how to talk and honestly connect with each other, I just said, "I think that's a terrible idea." I'm a health professor and this was a decade ago.

So the research was still emerging for adolescents and risks for a psychotic break. And I say this, and all I feel is like, "I just got you back. And anything that brings you risk really, really scares me." And he said, "Ok, I'll think about that and I'm still curious and I'll do some more reading. And we continued to have this series of conversations.
Right before he turned 18, he decided he was going to ignore my best advice and my wishes and try it and see what he thought. And so then we had a conversation about actually consuming cannabis. So, what would that look like and what could he do to make sure he was doing it in a safe place? And I got to say again, "This is not what I would vote for for you." And him saying, "Yup, yup, get that, thanks mom. I looked at that and this is my best judgment." And then he came back after he tried it and said, "Oh, you know, like for all we talked about it, all the buildup, I'm disappointed." And I’m like "Good!"
So, the issue isn't what our kids are ultimately going to do. The issue is are we going to keep an open, honest line of communication? That's the thing that I have control over.

Want to hear more from Jena and Vanessa? Check out Ep. 21 of The Yes Collective Podcast!

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Pod Wisdom: The Power of Relating to Your Teens with Acceptance

Vanessa Baker and Jena Curtis, EdD share tips on how to accept your teen for their authentic selves

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Key takeaways

1

When parents work on accepting themselves, they can start really accepting their kids

2

Your teen is not a science project to complete, but a human being with whom you have a relationship

3

Honest communication lays the groundwork for an evolving relationship of acceptance

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We all want our teens to be happy and healthy, but often this means wanting them to do things "the right way," which usually means our way. Most of the time we do this out of love and with the best intentions. But as our expert guests, Jena Curtis, EdD, and Vanessa Baker explained on episode 21, the real magic happens when we can get let go of our agendas and accept our teens exactly as they are.

Vanessa Baker's Two Steps to Accepting Your Teen as They Are

In episode 21, we asked Vanessa how she coaches parents toward acceptance. Step one, she said, is to work on accepting yourself as you are:

Truly accepting your kids is hard. It's not easy, but it's simple. It's simple for two reasons. Number one, if we don't accept ourselves and we're not on the path to working on accepting ourselves as we are, then there's no possible way that we can accept someone else. It's just a fact. So, do the inner work to really accept who you are.

Step two for Vanessa is to stop seeing your teen as your science project:

Number two, your happiness cannot depend on how your kids ultimately turn out. They're not responsible for that. For someone to turn out a certain way and that is how I get to be happy and satisfied with myself and not feel myself a failure or a loser?

If this rings a bell for you as a parent then it's time to take a deep breath. If you're working to get your kids into college and extracurriculars and a career path, so you can be happy, then that's not a relationship. That's a science project. That's something completely different.

Jena Curtis on the Role of Honesty in Accepting Your Teen as They Are

Jena followed Vanessa's advice with a reflection on how she used honesty to generate more acceptance with her teen son:

The parents work is to realize not only are your children not broken, but parents are the ones contributing to any conflict that exists. And that is the part that parents really have control of.
When Vanessa talked about accepting your child for who they are. She brought us to this really beautiful, transcendent place, but from a really pragmatic perspective. Like all of the beautiful transcendence stuff is true. And as your child gets older, you will have less and less ability to actually control their behavior.
What you are able to control as your child approaches adulthood is your relationship with them, how you communicate honestly with them, and how honest they are with you.
So my 15-year-old kid who dropped out of high school because he had major depressive disorder, recovered from that, and was 17 when all of the cannabis legalization was happening in our state.
So I had this experience of my 17 year old coming to me and saying, I'm really curious to try marijuana. And me saying, again because we just had this fabulous opportunity to really learn how to talk and honestly connect with each other, I just said, "I think that's a terrible idea." I'm a health professor and this was a decade ago.

So the research was still emerging for adolescents and risks for a psychotic break. And I say this, and all I feel is like, "I just got you back. And anything that brings you risk really, really scares me." And he said, "Ok, I'll think about that and I'm still curious and I'll do some more reading. And we continued to have this series of conversations.
Right before he turned 18, he decided he was going to ignore my best advice and my wishes and try it and see what he thought. And so then we had a conversation about actually consuming cannabis. So, what would that look like and what could he do to make sure he was doing it in a safe place? And I got to say again, "This is not what I would vote for for you." And him saying, "Yup, yup, get that, thanks mom. I looked at that and this is my best judgment." And then he came back after he tried it and said, "Oh, you know, like for all we talked about it, all the buildup, I'm disappointed." And I’m like "Good!"
So, the issue isn't what our kids are ultimately going to do. The issue is are we going to keep an open, honest line of communication? That's the thing that I have control over.

Want to hear more from Jena and Vanessa? Check out Ep. 21 of The Yes Collective Podcast!

We all want our teens to be happy and healthy, but often this means wanting them to do things "the right way," which usually means our way. Most of the time we do this out of love and with the best intentions. But as our expert guests, Jena Curtis, EdD, and Vanessa Baker explained on episode 21, the real magic happens when we can get let go of our agendas and accept our teens exactly as they are.

Vanessa Baker's Two Steps to Accepting Your Teen as They Are

In episode 21, we asked Vanessa how she coaches parents toward acceptance. Step one, she said, is to work on accepting yourself as you are:

Truly accepting your kids is hard. It's not easy, but it's simple. It's simple for two reasons. Number one, if we don't accept ourselves and we're not on the path to working on accepting ourselves as we are, then there's no possible way that we can accept someone else. It's just a fact. So, do the inner work to really accept who you are.

Step two for Vanessa is to stop seeing your teen as your science project:

Number two, your happiness cannot depend on how your kids ultimately turn out. They're not responsible for that. For someone to turn out a certain way and that is how I get to be happy and satisfied with myself and not feel myself a failure or a loser?

If this rings a bell for you as a parent then it's time to take a deep breath. If you're working to get your kids into college and extracurriculars and a career path, so you can be happy, then that's not a relationship. That's a science project. That's something completely different.

Jena Curtis on the Role of Honesty in Accepting Your Teen as They Are

Jena followed Vanessa's advice with a reflection on how she used honesty to generate more acceptance with her teen son:

The parents work is to realize not only are your children not broken, but parents are the ones contributing to any conflict that exists. And that is the part that parents really have control of.
When Vanessa talked about accepting your child for who they are. She brought us to this really beautiful, transcendent place, but from a really pragmatic perspective. Like all of the beautiful transcendence stuff is true. And as your child gets older, you will have less and less ability to actually control their behavior.
What you are able to control as your child approaches adulthood is your relationship with them, how you communicate honestly with them, and how honest they are with you.
So my 15-year-old kid who dropped out of high school because he had major depressive disorder, recovered from that, and was 17 when all of the cannabis legalization was happening in our state.
So I had this experience of my 17 year old coming to me and saying, I'm really curious to try marijuana. And me saying, again because we just had this fabulous opportunity to really learn how to talk and honestly connect with each other, I just said, "I think that's a terrible idea." I'm a health professor and this was a decade ago.

So the research was still emerging for adolescents and risks for a psychotic break. And I say this, and all I feel is like, "I just got you back. And anything that brings you risk really, really scares me." And he said, "Ok, I'll think about that and I'm still curious and I'll do some more reading. And we continued to have this series of conversations.
Right before he turned 18, he decided he was going to ignore my best advice and my wishes and try it and see what he thought. And so then we had a conversation about actually consuming cannabis. So, what would that look like and what could he do to make sure he was doing it in a safe place? And I got to say again, "This is not what I would vote for for you." And him saying, "Yup, yup, get that, thanks mom. I looked at that and this is my best judgment." And then he came back after he tried it and said, "Oh, you know, like for all we talked about it, all the buildup, I'm disappointed." And I’m like "Good!"
So, the issue isn't what our kids are ultimately going to do. The issue is are we going to keep an open, honest line of communication? That's the thing that I have control over.

Want to hear more from Jena and Vanessa? Check out Ep. 21 of The Yes Collective Podcast!

We all want our teens to be happy and healthy, but often this means wanting them to do things "the right way," which usually means our way. Most of the time we do this out of love and with the best intentions. But as our expert guests, Jena Curtis, EdD, and Vanessa Baker explained on episode 21, the real magic happens when we can get let go of our agendas and accept our teens exactly as they are.

Vanessa Baker's Two Steps to Accepting Your Teen as They Are

In episode 21, we asked Vanessa how she coaches parents toward acceptance. Step one, she said, is to work on accepting yourself as you are:

Truly accepting your kids is hard. It's not easy, but it's simple. It's simple for two reasons. Number one, if we don't accept ourselves and we're not on the path to working on accepting ourselves as we are, then there's no possible way that we can accept someone else. It's just a fact. So, do the inner work to really accept who you are.

Step two for Vanessa is to stop seeing your teen as your science project:

Number two, your happiness cannot depend on how your kids ultimately turn out. They're not responsible for that. For someone to turn out a certain way and that is how I get to be happy and satisfied with myself and not feel myself a failure or a loser?

If this rings a bell for you as a parent then it's time to take a deep breath. If you're working to get your kids into college and extracurriculars and a career path, so you can be happy, then that's not a relationship. That's a science project. That's something completely different.

Jena Curtis on the Role of Honesty in Accepting Your Teen as They Are

Jena followed Vanessa's advice with a reflection on how she used honesty to generate more acceptance with her teen son:

The parents work is to realize not only are your children not broken, but parents are the ones contributing to any conflict that exists. And that is the part that parents really have control of.
When Vanessa talked about accepting your child for who they are. She brought us to this really beautiful, transcendent place, but from a really pragmatic perspective. Like all of the beautiful transcendence stuff is true. And as your child gets older, you will have less and less ability to actually control their behavior.
What you are able to control as your child approaches adulthood is your relationship with them, how you communicate honestly with them, and how honest they are with you.
So my 15-year-old kid who dropped out of high school because he had major depressive disorder, recovered from that, and was 17 when all of the cannabis legalization was happening in our state.
So I had this experience of my 17 year old coming to me and saying, I'm really curious to try marijuana. And me saying, again because we just had this fabulous opportunity to really learn how to talk and honestly connect with each other, I just said, "I think that's a terrible idea." I'm a health professor and this was a decade ago.

So the research was still emerging for adolescents and risks for a psychotic break. And I say this, and all I feel is like, "I just got you back. And anything that brings you risk really, really scares me." And he said, "Ok, I'll think about that and I'm still curious and I'll do some more reading. And we continued to have this series of conversations.
Right before he turned 18, he decided he was going to ignore my best advice and my wishes and try it and see what he thought. And so then we had a conversation about actually consuming cannabis. So, what would that look like and what could he do to make sure he was doing it in a safe place? And I got to say again, "This is not what I would vote for for you." And him saying, "Yup, yup, get that, thanks mom. I looked at that and this is my best judgment." And then he came back after he tried it and said, "Oh, you know, like for all we talked about it, all the buildup, I'm disappointed." And I’m like "Good!"
So, the issue isn't what our kids are ultimately going to do. The issue is are we going to keep an open, honest line of communication? That's the thing that I have control over.

Want to hear more from Jena and Vanessa? Check out Ep. 21 of The Yes Collective Podcast!

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