EMBRACE EDUCATE EMPOWER LOVE
“As parents, it is our job to make sure that they know they can talk to us about anything and feel heard.” - Heather Hester
DO YOU HAVE A SECRETIVE TEEN?
While almost all teenagers will have some things that they keep to themselves, there is a big difference between harmless secrets and something more disconcerting. We have some methods to tell you how to Deal with a Secretive Teen. As parents, it is our job to make sure that they know they can talk to us about anything and feel heard. That is not to say that we always have to agree. The nuance here is that we create a safe space where open communication can occur; sometimes that is in the form of validation, others in the form of teaching moments.
When it comes to secret-keeping, there is a fine line between what is developmentally appropriate and what could be a behavioural issue.
Teenagers are growing, learning, and finding their place in the world. And while they know where they fit at home and who they are at the kitchen table – outside might be a different story.
Here are some of the most common secrets teens keep:
What they’re doing when they pretend to be at sleepovers
Going to parties
Gender identity and or sexual orientation
Political affiliations or beliefs
Most often, your teen will keep a secret if they believe that telling will get them in trouble or if things have gone too far. And they don’t know what to do. For instances such as substance experimentation, it is important to keep the door open for conversations because that is the only way you will be able to assess where it falls on the continuum. There are many organization both locally and nationally such as the Palm Beach Institute that offer assistance.
Many children get bullied, and even more so if they are LGBTQA+: How to Protect LGBTQ+ Youth From Bullying.
Preventing secret-keeping is an exercise in futility. Even if it were possible, Some level of keeping secrets is normal and, in fact, is part of growing up in most cases. Here is the key – make sure that your child knows that some things fall into the category of privacy. And others are secrecy – and that the latter can be shared with you.
Respect their privacy while allowing them to be open and come to you.
The moment you notice that there are changes in your child’s behavior is a good time to ask if they would like to talk. You might be met with a lot of resistance, which can indicate that there is something deeper going on. Pushing them to tell you might push them away further.
Rather than invade their privacy too soon, give them space to come to you. This can be a difficult time to communicate with a Secretive Teen, but you can make them comfortable enough to come to you if you keep calm.
Fixating secrecy by having emotional outbursts or being accusatory can cause you to lose time. Instead, focus on the relationship with your child by doing things one-on-one and as a family. Communication is of great importance here.
It is easy to fall into the control trap. When you feel yourself in the spinning place, take a breath and lean into your intuition. You know your child. Ask open-ended questions and let them know you are on their side.
LOVE THIS PODCAST!! 🙌🏼🌈
I was searching for resources to be the best supportive mom I could be to my pre-teen (now teen) and found this amazing podcast! It was just what I needed! I knew I needed some guidance from a parent who had experience through a similar journey and Heather was there with perfect content and even talked with me personally through email. The community Heather has built through this podcast and Facebook page has given me the confidence to not be fearful through this journey but rather to embrace it and encourage my teen to be their authentic self!
~ Lauren Bo21, Apple Podcast
I have loved and admired you and your family for over 30 years now. But the honor I have always felt to call you a friend truly quadrupled yesterday after listening to your podcasts. Every word was true and authentic, and real, and beautiful-even those that made me cry to the point where I had to pause for a bit before continuing.
I know the last few years have been pure hell. Yet somehow you, Steve, and your kids somehow managed to navigate it with grace, dignity, love, vulnerability, and acceptance. I am in awe of each of you...you are showing the world how beautiful life can be if we find a way to embrace it and breathe. Thanks to all of you for sharing your story and resources-it WILL make a difference for so many others.
~ S. Geidner
When I was Connor's age, I don't think Ellen DeGeneres was out yet. The world has changed so much since that time. I'm glad I'm alive to see it. I find myself cheering on parents like Heather who are willing to step out of their own comfort zone and reputations to stand by LGBTQ children and love us - out loud! This is such an important show [the podcast]. BIG LOVE for this courageous family in the Midwest! Yay YOU!
~ J. SluMac
Powerful, profound, so needed... What a breath of fresh air this show [the podcast] is. So many LGBTQ people, especially youth, struggle with the devastating impact of faith-based family rejection. Parents are searching for a better way. A way to love their LGBTQ child without compromising their faith. It takes opening what box you have God in - thank you for helping people do that! What a gift this podcast is!
~ R. Cottrell
I love your raw, real vulnerability. I am brand new on this journey and stumbled accidentally across your podcast on a road trip. I listened for 8 hours of driving and didn’t want to get to my destination because I wanted more. Using your own journey to help and support other parents is so brave and I am grateful to you and your family. Connor is so fortunate to have you ❤️
Your centered, calming voice and demeanor help me to feel more peaceful. I experience you as therapeutic & your journey gives me more hope that we can love [our son] well. Thank you for giving your life away to me through sharing your story and the guests you interview.
This podcast will help you feel safe - calm and loving
This podcast is truly something everyone needs in the coming out journey. Listen in for a reassuring dose of Heather's loving expertise!
~ CandyMot, Apple Podcasts
This podcast was unbelievably helpful. The frank discussion and honesty -completely helped me begin my journey with my son and I have shared this podcast with everyone in our family Truly look forward to more episodes.
~ Blueflip via Podchaser
Amazing!!! This is so incredibly well done and your thoughtful approach is undoubtedly helping tons of families. What you’re doing truly matters! Your son is lucky to have you and vice versa ;)! Thank you for sharing w us!
~ NickPe13, Apple Podcasts
Helped so much!! I have learned so much and feel so much less alone after listening! Thanks so much!!
~ TSwynacht, Apple Podcasts
Must-Listen! This podcast is a must-listen for those wanting to learn how to best help the LGBTQ teen or young adult in their life. Heather is a thoughtful host who offers great information and support. Such a great podcast with great information!
~ DrMMcNally, Apple Podcasts
Thank you. Exactly what this momma needed.
~ zbkai189, Apple Podcasts
Right on ... so needed. Heather is real, relatable, thoughtful, educated, and inclusive of every teen parent scenario in her talks. I love being able to hear first hand from someone who has gone through the “Valley of Darkness” and come out the other side a better person, informed, and able to help others right where they are.
~ MrsWeiselNMS, Apple Podcast
Eager to get into this. Thank you for clarifying that it's not just for parents. I think anyone involved in raising a child even if that's just part of an extended support community should have access to these resources.
~ Cameron Jones, Castbox
Attn Parents! Listen, absorb, learn, and breathe thru this podcast. So helpful us (child and parents) as we go thru this journey together.
~ Mom or them!, Apple Podcasts
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