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SchoolFamily.com is pleased to have a guest post by Sue Blaney, a nationally recognized and award-winning author, speaker, and publisher. Blaney is dedicated to supporting parents and helping them successfully raise teenagers. She specializes in communication, and works with parents and professionals at many levels to educate, empower, and connect parents of teens. Visit her website at www.PleaseStoptheRollercoaster.com
A woman named Sharon called me in tears recently. Her son Adam, a junior in high school, was cut from the baseball team. "You don’t understand," she said through her tears. "He needs this... his social life is non-existent, he has nothing else. Plus he needs this for his college resume. We’re all a mess. I don’t know what to do."
This is a big deal in the life of her high schooler, no doubt about it. He's crushed, and feeling particularly vulnerable because of his disappointing lack of friends at the moment. "This is going to be a difficult weekend," I warned her. It was clear that she was deeply afraid for how her son was going to handle this, and we talked for a while on the phone. It struck me that not only was she hurting because her son was hurting, she was in pain because of her fear and disappointment for him. Parents get to deal with twice the hurt!
Fast forward five days ... in the end, the way Sharon handled the situation was brilliant. In fact it was "text-book" perfect. Let’s review what she did and what made it work. You can apply these same steps when you face a crisis with your teen.
So—are you dying to know how it ended? Sharon had to pick herself up off the floor on Monday afternoon when Adam came home from school with a smile on his face and announced that he was joining the track team!
A situation like this really can cause a family crisis. Parents know when your child is vulnerable and when something like being accepted on a team takes on additional meaning. But even when things don’t work out as planned, new opportunities can arise. And with care and thought, these situations can actually lead to new opportunities for communication and connection.
Learn from Sharon’s response. Her three most important words to Adam were, "I get it." She understood on many levels how difficult this was for him. And she also knew that he needed gentle, kind but firm guidance to begin to move forward. And with that, he resolved the situation much more quickly than she could have imagined.
Hopefully they have opened some new doors of communication and they won’t wait for another crisis to talk about difficult things. Adam’s resilience was a pleasant surprise. And you can be sure the life-lessons learned from this experience will be with Adam for a long while.