5 Reasons Your Teen Isn’t Sharing Their Feelings With You Anymore

5 Reasons Your Teen Isn’t Sharing Their Feelings With You Anymore

Parents, guardians, and all those navigating the often tumultuous waters of raising teenagers, welcome! If you’ve found your way here, it’s likely because you’ve encountered the age-old mystery of why your once-chatty, open-hearted teen has suddenly transformed into a cryptic, monosyllabic enigma. Fear not; you’re not alone! In this blog post, we will delve into the five reasons your teen isn’t sharing their feelings with you anymore. And as promised, we’ll offer you some insightful suggestions to rebuild those bridges of communication.

Fear of Judgment

Picture this: Your teenager arrives home after a seemingly ordinary day at school, their shoulders slumped and a solemn expression on their face. You inquire about their day, and they respond with an unenthusiastic “fine.” Sound familiar? Well, the first reason your teen might be tight-lipped is the fear of judgment. Teens often hesitate to open up about their thoughts and emotions because they fear being misunderstood or criticized.

Suggestion: Create a judgment-free zone by actively listening without interruption or judgment. Let them know that you’re there to understand, not to criticize or lecture.

Peer Pressure and Identity Crisis

Teenagers are like chameleons, constantly changing to fit in with their peers. This natural desire to belong can sometimes lead them to conceal their true feelings, especially if they fear that sharing those feelings might result in ridicule from their friends.

Suggestion: Encourage them to embrace their authentic selves and reinforce the importance of authenticity. Let them know it’s okay to be different and that you accept and love them just as they are.

Privacy Invasion

Have you ever tried to enter your teenager’s room without knocking? If so, you may have unwittingly contributed to the communication breakdown. Teens cherish their privacy, and a perceived invasion of that privacy can make them hesitant to share.

Suggestion: Respect their space and boundaries. Knock before entering their room and ask for permission to access their personal belongings.

Technology as a Distraction

The digital age has provided teens with many screens and devices, creating an alternative world that sometimes takes precedence over real-life conversations. The allure of social media, online gaming, and texting can distract them from engaging with you.

Suggestion: Set aside tech-free times for the family to bond, like dinner, game nights, or weekend outings. This will encourage open communication without the interference of screens.

Stress and Overwhelm

Teenagers face a multitude of challenges, from academic pressures to social issues. Sometimes, they keep their feelings bottled up because they’re afraid to burden you with their problems.

Suggestion: Let them know that you’re there to support them, no matter what. Create an atmosphere where they feel safe discussing their concerns and offering guidance when needed.

Now that we’ve identified the reasons behind the communication gap let’s bridge it with some other suggestions:

Respect, Patience, and Detachment: The Key Virtues to Unlocking Communication with Your Teen

In the grand symphony of parenting, where the melodies of love and understanding play a pivotal role, three virtues stand out as the conductor’s baton, guiding us toward harmonious communication with our teenagers: Respect, Patience, and Detachment.

Respect: It’s the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, and its significance cannot be overstated. Respect their thoughts, opinions, and feelings, even when they differ from your own. By acknowledging their individuality and valuing their perspective, you lay the foundation for trust and open dialogue.

Patience: In a world where instant gratification often takes center stage, patience becomes a precious commodity. Building a strong, communicative relationship with your teen may take time. Be patient in waiting for them to share, in allowing them space to grow, and in letting them navigate their own path.

Detachment: This virtue, often misunderstood, is the art of being present without being overbearing. It’s the ability to listen without needing to solve their issues. You can ask them, “What do you need right now: a listening ear, a brainstorming session, or suggestions or advice?” By offering them choices and respecting their preferences, you empower them to take charge of their emotions and decisions.

Incorporating these virtues into your parenting journey can help bridge the communication gap with your teenager. So, embrace respect, nurture patience, and practice detachment. Remember, your role isn’t just to guide them but to be their unwavering support as they navigate the complex tapestry of adolescence. As you master these virtues, you’ll find that the bonds of trust and understanding between you and your teen will grow stronger, creating a harmonious connection that will last a lifetime.

In conclusion, remember that navigating the teenage years can be challenging. Still, it’s also a time of growth and self-discovery. By fostering open communication, respect, and understanding, you can help your teenager navigate this tumultuous journey with confidence. So, take a deep breath, embrace the uniqueness of your teen, and keep those lines of communication wide open. You’ve got this!

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!

Parenting with Purpose: How to Align Your Family with Your Core Values

Parenting with Purpose: How to Align Your Family with Your Core Values

In the intricate tapestry of family life, the compass guiding parents in the right direction is their deeply ingrained set of values. These values are the foundation upon which they build the framework for their family’s future. Decisions made within the family, whether big or small, profoundly impact the lives of its members.

Parents must embark on a profound and reflective discernment process to navigate this journey successfully. This week, we will delve into the essential steps that empower parents to discern what suits their family based on their values. Each step contributes to creating a nurturing and principled family environment, from self-reflection to open communication, from prioritization to adaptability.

By following these steps, parents can confidently steer their family toward a future that aligns with their cherished values, fostering the growth and happiness of all its members.

1. Self-Reflection: Parents examine their values, beliefs, and principles. They need to understand what matters most to them personally and what they want to instill in their children.

2. Open Communication: It’s crucial for parents to communicate openly with their partner, if applicable, and other family members to ensure that everyone’s values and perspectives are considered. Family discussions/meetings help identify common ground and potential conflict areas in casual and formal settings.

3. Prioritization: Parents must prioritize their values based on what is most important for the overall well-being and happiness of the family. This involves making tough choices and making compromises when necessary.

4. Consistency: Once values are identified and prioritized, parents should strive to consistently apply these values in daily family life. This consistency helps children understand what is expected and reinforces the family’s values.

5. Adaptability: While having a solid set of values is essential, parents should also remain open to adapting their approach as their children grow and circumstances change. Flexibility is critical to accommodating evolving needs and situations.

6. Lead by Example: Parents should model the values they hold dear through their behavior and decisions. Children often learn best by observing their parents’ actions.

7. Seek Guidance: If parents are uncertain about a particular decision, they can seek guidance from trusted sources such as mentors, religious leaders, or therapists who share their values.

8. Consider Long-Term Impact: When making decisions for the family, parents should consider the long-term impact on their children’s physical, emotional, and moral development. They should weigh short-term conveniences against long-term values.

9. Reevaluate Periodically: Values and circumstances can change over time. Parents should periodically reevaluate their family’s values and whether their choices align with these values as their family evolves.

Discerning what is suitable for the family based on values involves a continuous process of self-awareness, communication, and thoughtful decision-making that prioritizes the well-being and moral development of the family members. It’s about creating a family culture that reflects the values parents hold dear while remaining adaptable to the changing dynamics of family life.

As parents, our responsibility to shape the future of our families is profound and sacred. It is a journey filled with choices, both simple and complex, that collectively mold the character and well-being of our loved ones. The steps outlined in this article provide a roadmap for discerning what is best for our families based on our values, and they serve as a reminder that this journey is not one to be undertaken lightly. It requires courage, self-reflection, and unwavering commitment. 

The Four C’s of Successful Families is the framework we use to help parents:

  • Clarify both personal and family values.
  • Communicate those values in a straightforward manner that includes the discipline (teaching) of their children
  • Consistently apply those values to the choices made in the family
  • Bring together their Community of support as a team and from outside the immediate family circle.

Learn more

As we follow these steps, remember that the ultimate reward is a family united by shared principles, strengthened by open communication, and resilient in facing life’s challenges. By taking these steps, we empower ourselves to create a nurturing and principled family environment where our values are not just words but living, breathing forces that guide us through every chapter of our family’s story. It is a journey worth taking, and it is within our power to shape a future that reflects the very best of what we hold dear.

Empowering Moms Navigating the Middle School Years

Empowering Moms Navigating the Middle School Years

Parenting is a journey of varied challenges, but the middle school years can present a unique set of trials for mothers. Research from Arizona State University reveals that mothers of middle schoolers experience elevated stress levels and decreased well-being compared to parents of younger or older children. As you navigate between caring for a cute baby and nurturing a happy adult, here are some valuable insights to help you raising your middle school-aged children.

In the following suggestions, notice how the Four C’s of Successful Families will fuel your family to success:

Clarity: Take time to clarify in your mind who and what you want to be as a parent. What are the virtues that are most important to you and your family? How do you model them for your child, and what steps are you taking to see and acknowledge them in your children. Bringing out the best in your children begins with acknowledging the good in them, especially with middle school-age children.

Communication: Setting limits, boundaries and making household rules can easily be seen as just what the parent demands. However, when we communicate using the language of the virtues, it is easier for every person to see how they can bring those virtues out from within themselves. When household rules are based on virtues, it is not just an authority taking advantage of their position, but rather “how we do things in our house.”

Consistency: Consistency is about how we enforce our rules, but it is also about routines and rituals that, when done consistently, bring a sense of order, expectation, and security to all family members.

Community: It is so helpful to have a team around you who hold values similar to yours so that your children see that you are not the only ones who value virtues like respect, responsibility, and cooperation. Keep those kinds of friends, coaches, teachers, and others close while maintaining a clear vision for your family and yourself.

Consider the Four C’s of Successful Families as you view the following on navigating middle school challenges.

Fostering Your Tween’s Developing Independence

It’s perfectly normal for the child who once giggled at your jokes to now seek solitude in their room or engage in sibling disagreements. These years are marked by significant physical and emotional changes, so supporting your tween through this transitional phase is crucial.

1. Early Preparation: Initiate conversations about puberty and other changes. Listen actively to their concerns and provide appropriate information for their age. Watching movies together can open avenues for discussing bullying and peer pressure.

2. Setting Limits: Recognize that tweens can experience mood swings. Help them manage anger constructively by being a positive role model. Encourage them to cool off while emphasizing that aggressive outbursts are unacceptable.

3. Reasonable Boundaries: Engage in open discussions about household rules. Tweens are more likely to cooperate when they understand your perspectives and feel their input is valued.

4. Organizational Skills: As academic and social demands intensify, offer guidance on time management and homework organization.

5. Acknowledgment and Encouragement: Focus on the positives. Praise their dedication to studies and involvement in household responsibilities.

6. Exploring Interests: Encourage participation in extracurricular activities. The middle school years provide an excellent opportunity to discover new passions and boost their self-confidence.

Reaching Out for Support

As challenges become more complex, parents may find themselves feeling increasingly isolated. The transition from elementary to middle school can also impact parent relationships. Here are steps to combat this isolation and seek support:

1. Joining Parent Groups: Since making friends through playground interactions might dwindle, consider joining online discussion groups or local community gatherings for parents.

2. Bonding with Others: Collaborate with other middle school parents. Sharing experiences and even coordinating transportation can provide mutual support.

3. Enroll in Classes: If you’re grappling with the changing dynamics, explore parenting classes offered by community centers or hospitals to enhance your skills.

4. Communication with Teachers: Stay connected with your child’s educators to monitor their progress and identify areas where support is needed. Volunteer to maintain a strong involvement in their education.

5. Nurturing Your Relationship: The journey of raising a tween can either strengthen or strain your marriage. Address conflicts respectfully and maintain unity as a couple.

6. Considering Counseling: Professional guidance, whether individual or family therapy, can be valuable. Seek referrals from friends, relatives, or medical professionals.

Navigating your tween’s physical and emotional development is a cause for celebration and concern. By consistently emphasizing virtues and fostering effective communication, you can help your children flourish during their middle school years. Reach out for the support you need to guide your tweens toward a successful transition to adulthood.

 If you want to learn more about speaking the language of the virtues, setting clear boundaries, honoring the spirit of each person in your family, or helping your teen solve their problems, I would be happy to share more with you. Contact me direct by email or on social media..

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!

Fueling Success: The Power of Zeal in Parenting

Fueling Success: The Power of Zeal in Parenting

In life’s journey, children are often told that success is achieved through hard work, dedication, and talent. While these qualities are indeed important, there’s another essential ingredient that can make a significant difference in their endeavors: zeal. Renowned English philanthropist Charles Buxton once said, “Experience shows that success is due less to ability than to zeal. The winner is he who gives himself to his work, body, and soul.”

This blog post will explore how embracing zeal can benefit children and pave the way for a fulfilling and successful life.

Passion as a Driving Force:

Zeal, often synonymous with passion, is a powerful driving force that propels individuals toward their goals. When children discover activities, hobbies, or subjects they are passionate about, they become naturally driven to invest their time and energy in them. This unwavering enthusiasm allows them to tap into their potential, persevere through challenges, and excel in their chosen pursuits.

Overcoming Obstacles:

Life is full of obstacles, setbacks, and moments of self-doubt. However, with zeal by their side, children gain the resilience and determination needed to face and overcome these challenges. When they are passionate about something, setbacks become stepping stones rather than roadblocks. They learn to view failures as valuable learning experiences and become motivated to try again, armed with newfound knowledge and a stronger sense of purpose.

Unleashing Creativity: Zeal has the remarkable ability to unleash children’s creativity and imagination. When truly passionate about an activity or subject, their minds open up to new possibilities and innovative ideas. This creative energy enables them to think outside the box, develop unique solutions, and approach problems from different perspectives. In a rapidly changing world, this imaginative thinking becomes a valuable skill that sets them apart.

Continuous Growth and Learning: Passion and zeal go hand in hand with a hunger for knowledge and continuous growth. Children who embrace zeal are naturally inclined to seek out new opportunities to learn and improve. They immerse themselves in their interests, read books, engage in discussions, and actively seek mentors or role models who inspire them. This commitment to lifelong learning allows them to stay ahead of the curve, adapt to new situations, and remain motivated in their pursuit of excellence.

Demonstrating and drawing out the virtue of zeal in children requires parents to provide an environment that encourages and nurtures their passions and interests. Here are some strategies parents can employ to foster zeal in their children:

1. Encourage Exploration: Allow children to explore various activities, hobbies, and subjects. Expose them to multiple experiences, such as art, sports, music, science, or community service. Parents can help children discover their interests and passions by providing diverse opportunities.

2. Be Supportive and Positive: Show genuine interest and support when your child expresses enthusiasm for something. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, and provide constructive feedback to help them grow. Encouragement and positive reinforcement go a long way in nurturing a child’s zeal.

3. Lead by Example: Be a role model by demonstrating your passion and zeal. Let your children see your dedication, hard work, and commitment to your interests or career. When children observe their parents’ enthusiasm, it inspires them to develop their own passion and zeal.

4. Create a Safe Space for Failure: Teach children that setbacks and failures are part of learning. Encourage them to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Parents can help children develop resilience, perseverance, and the motivation to keep going by fostering a safe space for failure.

5. Provide Resources and Opportunities: Support your child’s zeal by providing resources, materials, and opportunities to further develop their interests. This could include enrolling them in classes or workshops, accessing relevant books or online resources, or connecting them with mentors or experts in their chosen field.

6. Foster Curiosity and Continuous Learning: Encourage a love for learning by fostering curiosity in your child. Encourage them to ask questions, seek answers, and explore new ideas. Engage in conversations, read together, and expose them to different perspectives. Cultivating a curious mindset helps fuel their zeal for knowledge and growth.

7. Emphasize Effort and Progress: Shift the focus from solely outcome-based achievements to your child’s effort and progress. Teach them that hard work, dedication, and perseverance are essential for success. By highlighting the value of the journey, children are more likely to develop a zest for pursuing their goals.

8. Provide Time for Passion Pursuit: Allocate dedicated time for your child to engage in their passions. Help them create routines and schedules that allow for consistent practice and exploration. By prioritizing their zeal, children learn the importance of allocating time and effort to the things that truly matter to them.

9. Foster a Growth Mindset: Encourage a growth mindset in your child, emphasizing that abilities and talents can be developed through hard work and practice. Teach them that setbacks and challenges are opportunities for growth and improvement. By instilling a belief in their ability to grow and learn, children are more likely to embrace their passions with zeal.

10. Celebrate the Joy of Learning: Cultivate an environment where learning is celebrated and enjoyable. Create opportunities for your child to share their knowledge, skills, and discoveries with others. Engage in meaningful discussions, encourage their creativity, and celebrate their unique perspectives. Parents can ignite and sustain their child’s zeal by nurturing a joyful learning atmosphere.

Remember, each child is unique, and their passions and interests may vary. As a parent, it is essential to listen, observe, and adapt your approach to best support and draw out the virtue of zeal in your children. As parents, we must encourage and support our children’s passions and zeal.

By doing so, we empower them to embrace their unique interests, push boundaries, and strive for success with unwavering dedication. Charles Buxton’s insightful quote reminds us that true accomplishment depends not merely on natural ability but on our fervor and commitment to our endeavors. Let us inspire our children to pursue their dreams zealously, knowing their unwavering dedication will catalyze a purposeful and successful life.

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

Setting Your Life Priorities

Are the complexities and chaos of life leaving you confused at times and struggling to figure out the next step that is best for you and your family? Whether young or old, single or with a partner, setting priorities is crucial for living a fulfilling and purposeful life. It helps us align our actions with our values and goals.

When you were young and single, your priorities often involved personal growth, self-discovery, career building, or education. The activities we took part in may have had a goal that promoted physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as exercise, travel, or pursuing hobbies. They may also have prioritized building skills, networking, or gaining experience in your field.

In contrast, parents’ priorities often revolve around their families’ well-being and their children’s growth and development. Family bonding, attending family events, children’s education, extracurricular activities, and emotional well-being are high on their list of priorities. Of course, your career and personal goals may loom large if you are a single parent. Still, generally, like all parents, you look at how your decisions contribute to your family’s overall well-being.

Either way, making those priority decisions is hard when everything feels necessary, and you struggle. On the parenting side, you may ask, “What activities will the children participate in?” What school will they attend? “Are the children on a developmental track?” Then the hard stuff begins. What are the house rules? How will I discipline and train my children? How are consequences determined and implemented? Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” When you’re a parent, it feels like that sometimes. We all know how we planned on parenting, and then we get punched in the mouth.

Setting your life’s priorities, or, as we say in the Four C’s of Successful Families, clarity in life, is more than just what the kids’ extracurricular activities and schooling will be. More important is having a vision, identifying values, and even a mission for your family. Knowing what you want for yourself and your family is critical for every family. Decision-making comes more effortlessly with a clarification of family values. Finally, there is a peaceful feeling knowing that you are doing what is suitable and correct for you, helping you feel more fulfilled and satisfied with life experiences for you and your children.

Here are some common life priorities.

      • Family
      • Education
      • Finances
      • Friends,
      • Extended family
      • Work
      • Hobbies
      • Personal appearance
      • Health and exercise
      • Nutritious eating
      • Alone time or partner time
      • Quality time with children

How you choose your priorities depends wholly on what you value. The virtues are the foundation of those values. Recognizing, identifying, and clarifying these virtues and values may take time and effort. However, once these are clear to you, your priorities, choices, and decisions in every part of your life will be much easier.

Before you begin this exercise, please be aware that there is a danger that you must be careful about. The risk with this exercise is that sometimes our answers get tainted by social norms or the ideas others place before us. Even our long-held beliefs can influence how we think we feel and not align with our true selves. So as you answer these questions and identify your values and priorities, take your time to reflect, examine, and be confident that those influences are not diminishing your beliefs and desires.

Here is a first step:

Choose one role: parent, employee, volunteer, student, etc. You can do this with all of your roles, but for now, choose one that is high on your list of priorities.

      • Write a brief description of your best self in this role.
      • Describe how you want to be in this role.
      • How do you want to be remembered by others?
      • What is the legacy you would like to leave?
      • How will you feel successful in this role?
      • Is there someone you admire for their activities in your chosen role? What is it about them that you admire?

In the role you chose, there is also likely a corresponding role. For example, if you chose “parent,” the related part would be the child. If you selected “spouse/partner,” it would be your spouse/partner. Now answer the following questions:

      • What are your expectations of them?
      • What would make them excellent in that role?
      • How do you want to describe them in that role?
      • Who do you know that you admire in this role, and why?

As you look at the answers to all these questions, what are the recurring themes or ideas? The words you see coming from these answers are no doubt what you value the most.

Now download the list of 100 virtues or go to our “100 Virtues” page at josephmichael.coach. As you look at these virtues, which ones match what you have identified as being your best self?

Some virtues may not have yet developed the way you would like. Or you may notice some that you identify with closely and are pleased with how you show them. But, on the other hand, other virtues may appear overdeveloped—as in, maybe you should balance them with another virtue.

What is the value of this exercise? When you identify what you value the most—the virtues you respect for yourself and others—you can begin to determine what that looks like in your day-to-day life. It helps us make choices about everything by comparing those choices with who we aspire to be.

I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It is a great way to get the Virtue of the Month and tips on relationships, parenting, and self-care. In addition, you’ll be the first to know about upcoming classes for successful families.

To sign up, visit the “Newsletter” section here on the website. Enter your email address, and you’ll receive our newsletter in your inbox on Wednesdays.  I appreciate your interest in bringing out the best in your children and yourself. We look forward to keeping you informed through our newsletter!