• Raising Happy Teenagers—Mighty Parenting 234 with Sandy Fowler

  • happy teenagers

    As parents, we want our kids to grow up happy, healthy, and successful. But there’s so much conflicting data and advice out there on everything from parenting techniques to college prep to what a happy, successful life means. So how are we supposed to figure out what works for us? Sandy Fowler joins us today, not just as the Mighty Parenting podcast host, but as a speaker and stress-relief coach, to help us answer that question. She summarizes and shares info from guest experts in her past interviews so we can get some answers on how to handle various teen behaviors, improve our relationships with our kids—and raise successful, healthy, happy teenagers.

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “We aren’t responsible for anyone else’s happiness but we can have an impact on it.”

    High Points From Our Conversation on Happy Teenagers:

    Quote about happy teenagers

    Sandy gets a lot of questions about handling various behaviors in our teens. As parents, when we see behaviors we feel compelled to fix them because we think seeing the “appropriate” behaviors mean our child is okay; we believe they’ll have a good life if they just do the right things. And we want happy kids and happy teenagers.

    Sandy gets that. She’s been that parent and can still find herself thinking that way. But after interviewing over 400 experts over the years here’s what she knows:

    1. Happiness is different for everyone and the only way to help our kids be happy is to follow their lead and be curious:
      1. Notice when they are happy:
        1. What were they doing? Was it about the activity itself or about achieving an accomplishment or success within that activity? (i.e. a video game—do they enjoy the game itself or passing levels/leveling up their character inside the game?)
        2. Who were they with? Are they often happy when they’re with this person? Are they happy because of the company, or something that happens with that specific company? (i.e. this person’s their only tennis partner)
        3. Where were they? Which environments make them happy—pool, library, arcade…?
      2. Ask them questions and really listen to their answers.
        1. All those things you notice are things you can get curious about and ask about—Hey, I noticed that you were really happy when you came home from swimming. What was it that made you so happy?
        2. Listen, be curious, ask more:
          1. Tell me more | What was so interesting? | It sounds like that was a fun challenge | What did you enjoy about that? | Have you experienced that before?
          2. You can even ask, What makes you happy? 
        3. Ask carefully and gently encourage them: 
          1. Would you like to: do more of that | spend more time with them | explore that further
          2. How could you: do more of that | spend more time with them | explore that further
          3. Is there any way I can support you in: doing more of that | spending more time with them | exploring that further
    2. We aren’t responsible for anyone else’s happiness. That’s not to say we don’t have any impact on our kids. When we’re crabby, difficult, upset, or triggered we can definitely make it harder for them to be happy. But even then, we aren’t responsible for their happiness.
      1. This can be a really difficult reality for us. Believing we can make our kids happy or even that we’re responsible for making them happy can lead us to do things like:
        1. Not set rules
        2. Bail them out when it would be better for them to experience the consequences
        3. Avoid difficult conversations
        4. Not set boundaries
      2. We can turn ourselves inside out or we can do small things to be firm but also help ourselves be happy so it’s easier to have happy teenagers.
    3. One of the most effective ways to help our kids be happy is to be happy ourselves:
      1. Our kids learn by observing us. If we have ideas, attitudes and habits that create happiness in ourselves then our kids see that and they can develop those same ideas, attitudes and habits. 
      2. As covered earlier, we aren’t responsible for our children’s happiness—but when we get upset, hurt, angry or scared when they when they say or do something, we can react in a way that makes it harder for our kids to be happy.
        1. Kim Muench talked about this in episode 232 when she discussed our limiting beliefs and how they can trigger us.
        2. It’s something Sandy works on with her clients. The more stress they remove from their lives and the more they reclaim their inner calm, the more peaceful they are and this makes them less reactive, which feels better for them and also creates an environment which is more conducive to happiness for their kids.
        3. The first time Sandy had this experience, it was with her husband. Then she noticed similar experiences with her children; when she felt calm and non-reactive, they had more space to experience their emotions and to make choices.
    When it comes down to it, we can only control ourselves and we’re only responsible for ourselves.

    Seeing ourselves as responsible for an outcome we can’t control is exhausting and stressful. And trying to control our teens undermines our relationship with them. So when we accept the fact that we only have control over ourselves it is liberating!

    When we take the energy we were putting into trying to control our teens and redirect it into working on ourselves and supporting ourselves we can be happier and less stressed, which allows our kids to be happier and less stressed—and wasn’t that the original goal anyway?

    To summarize: Be curious about when, how and why your kids are happy, and ask questions to better understand that; we are only responsible for our own happiness, not anyone else’s; and the best way to have happy teenagers in our homes is to be happy ourselves.


    Mighty Parenting Tackles: Dealing With Your Teenager Or College Student This Summer | Episode 64

    A Moment Of Insight On Raising Happy Healthy Kids | Suvrat Bhargave | Episode 74

    Am I Parenting Right | Dr Steven Fonso | Episode 110

    Solving Parenting Problems through Limiting Beliefs—Mighty Parenting 232 with Kim Muench

    Our Guest Sandy Fowler:

    Sandy Fowler discusses happy teenagers

    Sandy Fowler is a wife, mom, and business owner whose passion is teaching moms to make powerful choices that impact their lives in the best possible way. Whether she is speaking to a group, teaching a class, coaching a client, guiding a meditation, or hosting a podcast, she is always helping busy women find simple ways to make life better. Her natural curiosity paired with her down-to-earth, practical approach to living, working, and prospering, allows her to help them take back their life from the busyness and stress of modern-day living.

    To learn more or connect with Sandy visit https://sandyfowler.com 

    From Sandy:

    Over 200 experts have shared tips on parenting and they all have one thing in common–we need to be calm in order to parent well. Sandy Fowler specializes in helping women reclaim their calm. Learn how you can start right now at www.ReclaimingCalm.com