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15 Important Things Kids Should Know by Age 15

15 Important Things Kids Should Know by Age 15

A few years ago, my own mum gave me a copy of a parenting book. I was both amused and highly indignant at the same time. Now a few years have passed and I must say I have on more than one occasion resorted to looking through “that” book!

Lets face it, I am not Supermom. I don’t have all the answers, and unfortunately, although I would like to take tears and heartbreak away from my kids, I know this is all part of growing up and dealing with the complexities and challenges of life. There are some journeys I can travel with them and there are some they must go alone.

Looking forward into the not too distant future, if I was to come up with a list of what kids should know by the time they are 15, it would be the following.

1. “Parents are people too and why I will never be your best friend.”

I will never be your best friend. I am so much more that that. I am your greatest supporter, a devout lover of you since the moment you were born, and that will never change, no matter what you say or do. I will never give up on you, abandon or forget about you. However, I have my own life too and would like to enjoy it! Yes, I have a sense of humor too. It helps!

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2. “Think for yourself, that’s why you have your own brain.”

As a parent, I may try to guide and influence you when you struggle to make decisions that I believe are in your best interest. But I do want you to think for yourself, to use your brain more, make decisions that are right for you instead of caving in to peer pressure, and going against your better judgment and willpower. Easier said than done, I know, but I just have to say it.

3. “There will always be problems: focus, focus, focus!”

Yes, focus on the problem not the person, if it is a person who created the problem in the first place. That way, it is easier to leave emotions out of the problem. The problem loses some of its complexity and it becomes more manageable. If any problem seems insurmountable — I am here to help.

4. “It’s not the end of the world.”

It take guts to own up and take responsibility when you mess up. As adults we still struggle with it, and believe me there are some adults who will never grow up and admit they were wrong. They still play the blame game. Please do not be one of those people. It is not the end of the world. It is just another lesson in life to learn from and move on. This reminds me of a saying I heard recently: “I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I am thinking of making a few more.”

5. “Remember what you are good at.”

Success means different things to different people. Create your own personal success story knowing what you are good at, what you want to be better at, and what you feel you should be better at! Above all, you are good at so many things. If you ever are in doubt, come ask me!

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    6. “You are unique. Yes, there is only one of you.”

    Do you know how awesome that is. Think of the billions of people in this world and yet you stand unique, a one of a kind. You are not me. Don’t try to be me. I don’t want you to be me. I will try to be a positive role model for you, but I am not perfect either. This is your life, please live it fully, joyfully and in the best way that celebrates everything that is wonderful about you.

    7. “Let your voice be heard, but in the right way.”

    The power of words can heal, harm, uplift, inspire. I could go on and on, but it really comes down to this: Let your voice be heard, but in the right way. Say what needs to be said but do it in such a way that it is tactful, considerate and never with malice. There are so many ways to communicate and let your thoughts and feelings be known. Choose wisely my child.

    8. “Sex and relationships: yes, there is a difference.”

    I know this is not something you may be ready to talk about now but I’ll say it anyway. I hope it will mean more to you when you reach this point in time. Yes, there is a difference between sex and relationships. Sex is simply the physical acting out of an expression and that expression isn’t always love or carried out in a loving way. To enter into a relationship with someone there should be a situation where there is mutual respect, healthy interest, patience, love, consideration, and of keeping your relationship exclusive and to yourselves only. I hope this makes sense to you and it will save you from being badly hurt or from hurting another.

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    9. “Social media alert!”

    Oh yes, if you are about to make a mistake or do something you may later regret, think again! You may have it shoved in your face and be constantly haunted, taunted and reminded of any wrongdoing you were involved in long after it took place! Be aware, be careful. Friends may not always be friends when it comes to social media. Be clued in and stay safe.

    10. “A whole bag of emotions.”

    Being a teen, I know you may find it hard to relate to me, but I still have a few brain cells left working that allow me to remember what I was like at your age! Its like being on an emotional roller coaster and you can’t always get off or even know how to. The good news is that it doesn’t last forever and things will settle down. Just try as best as you can to show an awareness of your feelings and emotions and how they affect you and those around you.

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      11. “Why respect can be your greatest ally.”

      You may not feel very special or unique, but every part of you — your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being — thrives and is in balance when you show respect for yourself. You should also expect respect from others, not in a pushy, aggressive or challenging way, but in a way that shows you think highly of yourself and so should everyone else.

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      12. “Learning is not all about the boring stuff.”

      There are so many ways to learn, and it’s not always found in textbooks. Be open and receptive to learning from others who are positive role models, learning from situations both positive and negative, learning from your parents — yes, your parents — and simply learning by experiencing life.

      13. “Show me the money!”

      Sure, having money is a valuable asset, but that’s all it is. Money isn’t elusive. It is something you can get and I encourage you to go get your own. Become more financially independent but to do so in a way that is within the law and won’t come back to haunt you. Of course, feel free to share it with me and we will agree never to discuss how expensive it is to raise a child! Cha-ching!

      14. “Do you really need all this stuff?”

      Gadgets, gizmos, or what I like to call “stuff”, do you really need it all? I know back in my youth, I had less and I was happy. I know that is hard for you to understand. Please just think about it. Do they really make you happier or do they make you feel like you never have enough?

      15. “Keep a love for life.”

      Please don’t ever fall out of love with life. Everything you need for a rich, fulfilling and rewarding life is there for you. Nobody owes it to you, but you owe it to yourself to make your life the best life possible. Find your passion for life and use this passion to motivate you to greatness.

      “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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      How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

      1. The Inner Critic

      This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

      He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

      Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

      2. The Worrier

      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

      He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

      Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

      He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

      He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

      He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

      4. The Sleep Depriver

      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

      His motivation can be:

      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

      How can you control these squatters?

      How to Master Your Mind

      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

      For the Inner Critic

      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

      • He riles up the Worrier.
      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
      • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
      • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
      • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

      Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

      For the Worrier

      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tense

      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

      For example:

      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tension

      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

      Breathe in through your nose:

      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
      • Focus on your belly rising.

      Breathe out through your nose:

      • Feel your lungs emptying.
      • Focus on your belly falling.
      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

      For the Sleep Depriver

      (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
      • Shut down your thinking.
      • Calm your feelings.
      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

      Becoming the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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