Hey hey hey…this one is for the parents of teens.
I want to talk to you about one of the big bad words that you use with your kids that’s messing with their mojo!
BUT….and I’m not talking about your heinie, your keister, your bottom, your junk trunk, or your fanny.
I am talking about the word you use when your kids are stoked to tell you something. They are so thrilled about that they are even willing to share it with YOU….their parents! They come home excited to tell you, there is a spring in their step, their voices get a little high pitched and they say......
“Hey, guess what? I got 70% on my Social Test!”
“OMG, I got a part in the school musical”
“I can’t believe it, Miss Juliano laughed at my joke in bio class today”
“There is a new kid in class, Sam. He seemed kind of shy, so I asked him to be my lab partner.”
And if you are not careful, you suck the wind out of their sails and crash their enthusiasm and sense of self celebration with one little word….
“We that’s a great grade honey. I’m proud of you, BUT we still have a little work to do to get that Math mark up too don’t we?” (Insert wind sucking sound here)
“The school musical really, BUT won’t that interfere with your hockey practice?” (Now we hear the farty sound of a balloon losing it’s air)
“Hilarious! BUT shouldn’t you be focused on biology and not cracking great jokes” (listen, you can hear the sound of the vacuum sucking up joy like it’s sucking up lost pieces of Lego)
“That was really kind of you, BUT shouldn’t you make sure he’s a good student before sticking yourself with him as a partner for an entire semester? (You know the sound that you get when you are drinking a can of pop with a straw and you get to the bottom of the can….yeah that sound…insert it here)
All joking aside, I know your intentions are good. I know you don’t mean to crush their spirits. You probably don’t even realize that the word BUT has such a negative impact. You may be so desensitized that you don’t even realize the impact it has on you, never mind them. Stop and think about that for a second……what impact does it have on you? Pay attention to how people talk to you and see how you react when the word BUT enters your world.
I want you to celebrate your kids for their growth, their bravery, their talents, who they are becoming. I want you to ask your teen to name 5 things they dislike about themselves. They could make your head spin with how fast they can name 5 (and that’s just their top 5). Now ask them to name 5 things they are proud of……crickets, maybe one or two….but it’s a harder list to make. That makes me sad.
So let’s celebrate! Every win! No matter how small it may be. The smaller the win, the bigger I want you to celebrate. Those little wins and big celebrations will add up to big things that you cannot even imagine for your kid. So cheer! Celebrate! Even if it feels silly to have dessert before dinner, just to celebrate that 70%. Do it anyway. Be openly proud and hold your BUT. Heck, even if you need to hold your heinie to remind you to hold your BUT, do it.
Then at a later time you can address your BUTs….without using BUT.
“I love that 70%. Is there a way we can use the study methods you used there to get the same results in Math? I’m super proud of you.”
“Great work getting a part in the musical. Is this something you really want to pursue? We just need to sit down and figure out how to fit it into the schedule. We might need to let some other things go, but if you really want this, we can figure that out.”
“It meant a lot to you to make Miss Juliano laugh huh? Is that because you like her as a teacher?”
“I am so proud of you for stepping up and making the new kid Sam feel like he belonged. It’s hard to be the new kid. Let me know if he works out as a new lab partner as well as he seems to as a new friend.”
So, let’s buy jeans that give us great back ends, let’s eat the crusty ends of the bread, let’s love Shrek's lovable pal Donkey …. And leave the BUTs there.
Have a Stellar Day!