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Mindful ActivityLet Your Teen Take The Wheel

Let Your Teen Take The Wheel

Let your teen choose an activity you do together regularly, and designate a time to commit to this special routine.

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Hi there, Jon again. If you have middle school aged kids and beyond, this is the exercise for you. You're listening to the audio activity about giving your older child control, modifying special time for their later stage of development, continuing to remind our children they matter and that you cherish your time together. So let's get going. In our discussion, we talked about how our children often are facing a command storm culture of do this or do that or rules to follow at school, home and so many other places. So what would be helpful as we think about the stress of being asked to do this and that is an opportunity to be in control and what a great playground that it would be to use the parent child relationship to do that. For younger children, that's special time, a regular five minute daily commitment to them being the boss of play. And that works really well. But as our kids get older, not everything that they wanna do comes in five minute blocks. So we need to modify for our developmental level. And the way to do that is to transition special time into special activities. And special activities are longer blocks of time, less frequent, to deliver the same core concepts of special time, child and control, opportunities for praise and connection, and doing it in a way that's consistent with what our older child is looking for. You can give suggestions of possible activities, but you wanna be letting the child make the choice of what they do and you wanna use those key elements of anticipation. "Ooh, I'm so excited about when we do this later this week." And reinforcement. "I'm so glad we made time to do this," to make it so that this is something that is a regular consistent commitment to showing your child that they matter and that their ideas are so worthwhile that you'll listen to them fully. What is in bounds for a special activity? Truly, in my eyes, anything that is safe and not prohibitively expensive is a fair activity. It could be a trip to a local band that is chosen by your child. The key element is we have to put our older child in the driver's seat. So how might that look, like how might we create a special activity opportunity? Well, we would wanna approach our older child and name our reality and our hope. "Hey, I really value spending time with you. I think that you're awesome, that you matter, and I'd love it if we could think of something that we do together, that you choose that we can do on a regular basis. Is there anything that you could imagine doing with me?" What happened there with that ask? Well, we did emphasize that they matter. We emphasized that we like them and we emphasized that this activity is going to be in their control. You might get all...


TypeMindful Activity
Duration5 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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