Hello everybody, welcome to episode 140 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino and the question we have for you today might bring a slight tear to your eye. A question that I’m very proud to receive from a young person dealing with puberty whose compassion and awareness I’m also very proud of. Parents, get ready. Here's what he’s got for us…
QUESTION: “I'm facing a problem with my relationships. I'm a 15 year old who I think is going through puberty. Whenever my mom or my dad or whoever in my family gives me a simple task to do (like to get water from the fridge), I get irritated and furious. I carry them out and complete my chores but with frustration and disappointment in me. I want to be happy, I have many reasons to be, but I deliberately choose to be depressed. The current mood of our family isn't that good and neither is mine. I really want your help to help myself and them feel better.”
Puberty and Mood Swings
My man. What a question. What an awesome question to receive. I’m going to start by telling you this: every single parent listening to this show right now is hoping and praying that their children grow up to be like you. And for the parents who have children that are older than you, they’re wondering where they went wrong to have not raised a kid like you.
This is because most everyone your age is not as aware of these mood swings as you are, they’re not reaching out for help like you are, and they almost certainly don’t care about the effect it’s taking on their families like you do.
So I’m going to tell you off the bat that although this is a confusing and difficult time for you, you’re handling it as well as you could be expected to.
Look, I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but puberty is natural. It’s as natural as natural can be, and you’re definitely going through it at 15.
It’s true that your hormones, and just about everything else is changing, but that’s nothing to be scared about. And it certainly isn’t ruining your family.
Puberty: Something Everyone Goes Through
You’re going through it, I went through it, your parents went through it, everyone goes through it. For that reason, your parents are not taken by surprise by this.
As new and uncomfortable as this time may feel for you, you’re kidding yourself (as many of us do as teenagers) if you think that older people don’t understand what you’re going through. With that being said, your parents expected this, and while the teen years may be a particularly challenging phase for all parents, they get it and they knew it was coming. They’re going to be fine.
However, just because this is a very natural process doesn’t mean that you’re completely powerless over it. You can have a split – you can be patient with yourself and your frustrations and not shame yourself for having them, but you also don’t have to use it as an excuse to go around yelling at people just because it’s something you feel your body is telling you to do.
You have the opportunity to build a mindfulness habit now that may go on to be your greatest gift as an adult.
Try a Visualization Exercise
Try doing this: Think about all the little things that you find yourself getting mad over. All the little tasks like getting water from the fridge that make you feel uncomfortable. Take some time each day to sit and visualize all these things. Close your eyes and imagine your parents asking you to get that water, and imagine yourself getting mad.
Now, still in your imagination, picture yourself taking a breath instead of yelling at them, or slamming the fridge shut, or however you take out your frustrations. Picture that exact moment when you get upset, and then watch yourself handling it well; taking a breath, counting down from 10, maybe thinking about something you know always makes you laugh.
And if afterwards, you still have a lot of frustration, go into your room and yell into your pillow as much as you want. You’re allowed to still have your anger (again, it’s natural), but what we’re trying to do is have you channel it in ways that won’t impact others in a negative way. This process of visualization can go a very long way, especially if you’re good at pinpointing the exact times when you know your anger will start to rise.
Shaping a Considerate Mindset
Now I want to warn you from the beginning: you might fail at this a lot. 9 times out of 10, you may not be able to control it, and slurp up all the water your parents asked you to get and go spit it in both of their faces. But do not get brought down by these failures.
Again, what you’re going through is powerful, and it can be tough to just turn it all around at once. Just try your best to succeed as much as possible, and know that each time you succeed (even if it’s 1 time every 10 tries) will be incredible for your development, and you’ll constantly be shaping a healthy and considerate mindset. Each success you have is one more than you would’ve had if you never tried in the first place.
Puberty: Physical and Emotional Changes
Finally, I want to start closing this answer out by letting you in on a little secret about puberty. What many people don’t realize about it, especially when they’re in it, is that puberty is a time in which not only are kids physically transforming into adults, but emotionally as well.
The underlying emotional goal for us when we’re going through puberty is to establish our own identities as independent adults, no longer under the thumb of our parents. The urge to forge our own path and not be controlled is very strong, so my challenge to you, after being let it on this secret, is to use that urge for the good.
What kind of adult do you want to be? What kind of tasks can you take on by yourself?
Maybe it’s starting to look after and take care of some people younger than you, or even a pet. That’s independence and taking charge. Maybe it’s standing up for others more. Maybe it’s looking for your own job.
Start Making The Right Changes
If puberty is about establishing yourself as an adult, use all that energy you’re feeling to start making those changes based on things that are honorable.
For all the times that your parents ask you to do little chores for them, choose to make the decision to that as an adult, don’t think of yourself as a servant or as a kid who’s being pushed around by their parents. Healthy adults do things to help others, certainly their parents.
So when it comes to tasks that help others and realistically aren’t that troublesome for you to do, make the decision to do them because you’re contributing and because it feels good to know that you did something nice for someone else.
You’re not being asked to get water from the fridge because your parents are trying to control you, you’re being asked because they know you’re old enough to be a contributing family member, and the best adults are contributors to other people.
Approaching puberty in this mindful way – so allowing yourself to feel the way you feel but also trying to challenge yourself to help and be patient with others – will be the best thing you can do for your own growth into a great adult and for the growth of your family now and in the future.
A big thank you to the young man who sent this question in. Maybe it’s just the little fiends I grew up around, but I don’t recall any such teenager being so aware and kindhearted when it came to their journeys through puberty. Awesome question, awesome episode.
And folks, I’m sure you’ve got some awesome questions as well, so don’t hold back. You can come to us with anything, and we encourage you to. If you’ve got a question you’d like our help with on the show, email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
Hope you’ll reach out and I hope you all continue to listen and support the show – we appreciate every last one of you. For now, we’re finished though. Have a wonderful day, folks and I’ll be back with you soon for the next one. Take care.