Remember being in your teens ? The last thing we wanted to do is talk to someone about our feelings. Lucky for us, we don’t have to “make” kiddos spill their guts in therapy to feel better. In fact, we have found that the “spilling-guts-technique” can be really counterintuitive for some people if done without creating a safety net first (such as kids with trust issues).
Bottom line: Teens need to feel emotionally safe! They want to know that when their guts are all over the room, we are going to help them pick it all up and figure out what the heck to do with it all. They also want to know that we can handle it.
Before we ask them to spew their guts we have to help build the foundation of coping skills. The coping skills can be used, if and, when the soul spewing begins so when those raw feelings can be managed after.
Teachers, parents, caregivers, friends….So what do we do? Have no fear… We have some easy ways to help build strong foundations:
Yoga yoga yoga:
We love the yoga, folks! It is a space where they can learn to sit with their thoughts and listen to their bodies. It also physical so there’s happy hormones building in their system ( we love happy hormones). Yoga reconnects teens to their bodies simply by feeling the muscle burn or easing off on a stretch. This translates to teens being able to identify what is good for their body or when feelings need to be shared. Making health choices. This is especially good for kids with trauma or trust as they stop listening to what their body is telling them.
Grab yo’ candy & coloring books, ya’ll!
Who doesn’t love candy… We do. So try this on for size, buy their favorite candy and ask them how it tastes, feel, smell, and sound. While doing this we are asking them to focus on one thing (woah, like meditation… Bingo!). Yep, coloring is the new thing. Ya know why? Because it is fun and relaxing. Teens love to color and doodle (just get neon and things that sparkle or beautiful drawing pencils). This allows them to quiet time to decompress.
Sing a little song for me:
We love a little ditty… Kiddos do too! It may not be the same genre or the same generation but we connect through music. Kiddos tend to us music as a release; by singing it, writing lyrics, and simply listening to it.
There are hundreds of ways to help kiddos build their foundations. The most important part of our role is helping them heal after the guts spill and they’re left feeling raw. Help them find their place to heal… Maybe it’s yoga, coloring, singing. They will love you for it even if they never tell you… because they probably won’t.