Mandy Beverley had some amazing pearls of wisdom in her conversation for The Calm, Connected Tweens and Teens Summit last month.

Parents are ALL trying their best. Some days are better than others but none of us intentionally set out to do the wrong thing by our kids. (Well... there may be some, but we don't want to go there right now 😢)

A key goal for parents of teens is to REACT less, RESPOND more.

The emotional part of our brain - the amygdala - wants pleasure without pain, happy without sad, sweet without sour BUT we all need negatives alongside the positives to exist in the world as humans.

I loved the way Mandy cautioned the frequent use of blanket terms such as mental health and anxiety. Instead of framing your child as being anxious, how about working with them to see what they are anxious about? Social anxiety, friendship anxiety, school anxiety... being anxious about one thing doesn't necessarily make you broadly anxious about everything. Framing the anxiety point also makes it less scary and easier to discuss and manage.

Teens need feedback and boundaries. BUT when providing negative feedback / criticism, please explain the WHY of this criticism. If delivered effectively, criticism can be a kick starter for growth and change. If not delivered effectively, it can lead the teen to speculate and amplify whatever it is you were giving feedback on.

Back yourself as a parent, recognise that your child's values may be different to yours and that they are growing up in a VERY different environment to you.

Role model the behaviours you would like them to display and remember your kids are watching ALL the time! 93% of communication is non verbal. It's super important to dissolve guilt from parenting, show your human side - and show your child your compassion and love.