Sometimes You Have to Be Your Own Hero. Here’s How

Adolescence can be fraught with difficult friendships and difficult people. Sometimes you’ll need to be your own hero – but that’s okay because you are brave, brilliant and you have everything you need to do that. 

Transcript

During adolescence you might feel a real pull to experiment with your independence from your family. That doesn’t mean you wont’ need your family – you’ll always need them, but you will be looking at who you are as an independent adult, and you’ll start experimenting with that and exploring that. As you do that, you might start to feel the need to start looking for connections with a peer tribe. Social connection during adolescence feels really important, but it doesn’t always happen smoothly. Sometimes those friendships can be fraught with heartache, sadness, anger or grief.

During adolescence you’ll be confronted with all sorts of challenges – and peer challenges can feel like some of the worst. You won’t even realise how strong or brave you’re being at the time because it will just feel normal. But through this, you will discover your own resilience and resourcefulness.

What you need to remember is to take care of you. By that I mean inside all of us a small child – that part of us that just wants to be loved, reassured, nurtured and feel safe and secure. When friendships are tough, if you’re being teased or bullied, or finding yourself in these friendships that don’t make any sense and seem to change from one day to the next, try to keep that part of you safe and solid. Look after that small child in you. It needs to feel safe and protected.

It’s one thing for bullies or people who don’t understand you to give you the messages that they’re giving you. Be really careful about picking up where those people leave off. You wouldn’t hurt a small child. You wouldn’t tell a small child that they’re fat or ugly or stupid. You wouldn’t tell a small child that they don’t deserve friends, or that there’s something wrong with them. You are brave and strong and resilient. Own that.

Of course you get sad sometimes or exhausted, and of course you just wish sometimes it would be easier. It will get to that. People change. People grow up. But until then, there’s a part of you that really needs to feel the security of you, and that self-love, and that self-compassion. Because adolescence can be hard and sometimes they only way through is straight through the middle – and you’re doing that. In the meantime, keep that part of you safe – the curious, generous, exciting, resilient, part of you that looks at the world with an open heart and an open mind and is able to embrace things. Don’t let other people change you. Take that small child in you, and love it, nurture it, and be kind and gentle with it – because it will be an important part of the healthy, amazing adult that you will be one day.

 

 


 

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One of our rituals was in the week before Christmas, we’d go shopping and each kiddo would choose a keepsake decoration for the tree. This would forever be their decoration. To make sure we’d remember who owned what (a year is a long time!) I wrote their name and year on the box. The idea is that when they leave home, they’ll have a collection of special decorations for their own tree, plump with throwbacks (‘Oh I remember when we bought this!).

Then of course there was Christmas morning. Santa would leave a note on the table and bootprints on the front path, which smelled remarkably like talcum powder. So magical the way the snow was under the boot and never melted, even in an Australian summer! But that’s the magic of Christmas, right?!

We often put so much pressure on ourselves to make Christmas magical. Rituals can make this easier. They get the special memories, you get to make the ‘magic’ without having to come up with something new and different each year.

It’s very likely that there will already be Christmas rituals happening in your family, even if you don’t realise it. Ask them what they remember most, or what they loved most about last Christmas, aside from the presents.

They might surprise you with things you’d completely forgotten about, or which at the time didn’t seem to be a biggie. It can be the simplest things. Maybe they loved the way they were allowed to have ice-cream with pancakes at breakfast last Christmas. (Ice-cream at breakfast?! Told you Christmas was magical!!). 

If it’s what they remember, and if it lights them up, let it become a ‘thing’. Maybe they loved the magic ‘neverending carrot’ sprinkles you put on the scrawny carrot you found in the vege drawer (remembering reindeer groceries can be so hard sometimes!)

You’d be surprised what they find special. It doesn’t have to be big to feel magical.

What are your Christmas rituals? Let’s share ideas in the comments.♥️
We're having a sale! For a limited time, books and plushies are 25% off. 

Because sales are the best, and Christmas is the best, and helping kiddos find their brave is the very best of all! So, to celebrate the end of the year (because truly, it's been a year hasn't it), and to help you settle brave hearts for next year, or night times, or separations, or, you know, all the things, we're taking 25% off books and plushies in the Hey Sigmund shop.

There's no need to enter a code. The books and bundles are already marked with their special sale prices. You'll find them all there - plushies, books, bundles - doing shopping cartwheels, beside themselves excited about helping your young ones feel bigger than anxiety, and shimmy on to brave. 
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It can feel as though the only way to strengthen them against their anxiety is to make sure they have nothing to worry about, but when their worries are real this might not happen quickly. 

Instead, we need to focus on helping them know that even though those worries are there, they will be okay. ‘Not worrying’ isn’t the antidote to anxiety, trust is. This will start with trust in you and your belief that they will be okay, and trust in your reaction if things don’t go to plan. Eventually, as they grow this will expand into trust in themselves and their own capacity to find their way through challenges to a place of hope and strength. 
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Strong steady breathing will reverse the fight or flight physiology that causes nausea, butterflies, or sick or sore tummies during anxiety. BUT telling an anxious brain to take a strong steady breath will potentially make anxiety worse unless strong steady breathing feels familiar. Practising during calm times will make it familiar. 

During anxiety we’re dealing with their amygdala, and it wants short shallow breathing to conserve oxygen. It doesn’t want strong steady breathing and will work hard to resist this. 

An anxious brain is a busy brain and it will be less able to do anything unfamiliar. A few minutes of strong steady breathing each day will set up a strong neural pathway to make strong breathing more automatic and accessible during anxiety. 

In the meantime though, you can do it for them. This is the magic of co-regulation. When you do strong steady breathing during their anxiety, it will calm your nervous system which will eventually calm theirs. You will catch their anxiety, and this will feed into their anxiety. Your strong steady breathing is the circuit breaker. They will catch your anxiety, but they will also catch your calm. Don’t worry if this takes a few minutes (and maybe a few more after that). Anxious brains are strong, powerful, beautiful brains working hard to protect. Breathe and be with. This will open the way for that distressed young nervous system to find its way home. And you don’t need to do more than that.♥️
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Needs and behaviour can get tangled up and treated as one. When you can, separate the need from the behaviour. Give voice to the need - let it find a way to breathe - and redirect the behaviour. 

The need might always be clear, especially if it’s being smothered by angry shouting words. If we stifle the behaviour without acknowledging the need, the need stays hungry. Help usher it into the light by making it clear that you’re ready to receive it. Then wait. Wait for the big behaviour to ease, for bodies to calm, and angry voices to soften - but keep the way to you open. ‘You’re a great kid and I know you know that behaviour wasn’t okay. Talk to me about what’s happening for you.’

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