The Dark Before the Dawn – Caregiving Struggling Teens

Many chapters of parenting feel impossible. When teens go through a dark night of the soul, they often take their loved ones down too. 

The teen years can feel like walking on a tight rope of sanity, especially in this modern culture inundated with social media, screens, inflation, eco-grief and the resulting anxiety sweeping through the population.

As a caregiver, regulating your nervous system is essential, and not always possible. Witnessing and supporting them through these rude awakenings can shake the ground of a family system as their growing pains stretch out towards those they are loved by most.

If your teen is struggling, you’ll likely worry if they’ll be ok due to irrational choices they make during the hormonal storm they are living through as the prefrontal cortex of their brains slowly reaches maturity.

The way they need caregivers changes drastically. It can be shocking as this chapter unfolds when so much confusion takes the stage. Naive optimism about how you thought you’d parent a teen may die a painful death. 

You may face your own emotional reckonings while trying to swim against a strong current into the unknown. It’s disorienting and hard to know where the ground is at times. The emotions can be consuming. Navigating daily life can become unbearable for everyone involved. Having someone simply ask you how you are at the grocery store can be totally overwhelming.

The practice of letting go and holding on at the same time tests our fortitude and flexibility. The practice of trust can get wobbly and hang by a thread in moments. At times, trust is broken along with the hearts involved in a dramatic upheaval. 

What nourishes and self-soothes you while you bear the grief, loss, rejection, rebellion and worry that comes with caring for a teen going through the unfathomable terrain of painful life initiations?

There are moments when the elephant in the room is all-consuming but talking directly about pressing issues pushes them away even further. Discerning what, when and how to say things honestly becomes a part-time job.

Connecting with them through food or music they love (even if you aren’t into it) can provide a meeting place to bridge the worlds. How can you remain connected to yourself so you can show up for them in the healthiest way? What fortifies you in the face of what feels impossible? 

Creative expression and nature offer healthy outlets and tangible experiences of self-nurturing integration for the big feelings that occupy this time. May you let the simplest beauty of each day hold your hand.

Dark Before the Dawn – Creative Renewal for Caregivers of Struggling Teens • Live Zoom Workshop
* Recorded for replay if you can’t make it live.

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