One Important Characteristic Teens Will Need As They Navigate A “New Normal” This School Year

Teens will need the skill of self-regulation. According to Murray and Rosanbalm (2017), self-regulation is the act of managing thoughts and feelings. Your teen will have to be able to successfully navigate uncertainty and ambiguity in the age of ‘coronavirus.’ When their thoughts elicit strong emotions, like those that could be caused by online learning, hybrid learning or going back to in person school, your child will need the internal capacity to persevere, problem-solve, and manage their frustration and distress. Contrary to what you may have heard or believe about the “independence” of teenagers, your teen does need you to help them develop self-regulation skills. So how can parents help? Here are 3 ways to help your teen learn how to develop self-regulation skills:

  1. Parents, the most important thing you can do is to model self-regulation. Show your teen how you handle your thoughts and feelings (especially the negative ones). Coach your child and provide opportunities for your teen to practice self-regulation skills.
  2. Be warm and responsive to your teens needs, especially during this new normal. Make your child feel safe to come to you with struggles or challenges they may be having. Provide mentors, tutors or coaches to support their learning and growth.
  3. Structure the environment in your home to make self-regulation easier. Make sure your teen has an appropriate space to work in. Help them eliminate distractions and create a peaceful working environment.

Parents, you can help your teen self-regulate through this 3-step co-regulation process: model the behavior, respond in a warm and approachable way and structure your teen’s learning environment. And do not forget that your teen will need you now more than ever as they navigate this new normal school year.

Reference: Murray, D.W. & Rosanbalm, K. (2017). Promoting self-regulation in adolescents and young adults: A practice brief. OPRE Report #2015-82. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Published by Jennifer Keitt

Host of PowerHer Radio, she’s been a radio personality for over 30 years. PowerHer Radio offers tips for work-life balance, and covers topics like “Developing Your Executive Presence,” “Raising Great Kids,” and “The Benefits of Gratitude,” a series based on Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book “The How of Happiness,” and “Fears that are Holding You Back,” based on the writing of therapist Dr. Amy Morin. It talks about the fear of change, of loneliness, of failure, etc. She’s also the co-founder (with her daughter Morgan) of the Keitt Institute, a nonprofit that has three major focuses: StrongGirls (for high school juniors and seniors), Books and Bosses (for college women), and PowerHer Experiences which targets adult women. Jennifer’s a certified Human Behavior Consultant, an Executive Life Coach, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Educational Psychology. She has four grown children.

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