My question is about meditation and teens. My son is 16 and I’d like to get him into some kind of meditation practice. It’s been a big part of my life, but he’s never seemed interested at all. He’s going through a rough patch and I think it would help him. What would you suggest?
Thanks in advance,
Dear Meditating Mom,
From Jennifer Williamson:
I’m so glad to hear about the peace you’ve found in your own meditative practice. Certainly you’ll need it as you continue to navigate the choppy waters of your son’s teenage years. I am personally grateful that I still have some time before my own daughter reaches them. I plan to use that time to prepare myself.
Conflict between parents and teenagers is normal. Rebellion is a natural part of growing up and is one of your son’s ways of separating himself from you as he becomes an adult. As parents, we all want our children to be independent and resilient. This is one of the ways independence happens. If your son’s “rough patch” is dangerous or self-destructive, certainly take decisive action, but if it seems to be more about distancing himself from you and your beliefs, consider taking a step back. Whatever you do, be firm and consistent. Even a headstrong 16 year old should respect you as an authority figure.
From Max Highstein:
I would suggest that you not push this. Meditation and spirituality in general is a very personal thing, and your son is on his way to figuring out what sort of person he wants to be. That means developing his own separate identity from his parents. So the more you tell him how much meditation has meant to you, the less interested he’s likely to be. The best you can do is follow your own path, and be a happy, well adjusted Mom. Then he’ll at least have that reference point for what meditation might offer.
Meditation and teens is dicey if it hasn’t been seeded early in life. Later, when he’s in his twenties and has gotten enough distance to begin thinking of you as a friend, you might be able to have a real conversation about these things without him feeling like you’re trying to change him or push your ideas on him.
Beyond that, the spiritual factor of a person’s life is orchestrated from above. If a person has it on their life plan to be in a spiritual or religious path of some kind, or doing some kind of meditation, they will be. It’s not going to be accidental, or something that happens by chance. So you don’t have to worry about him missing something his soul really needs. If he needs it for his own “scheduled” growth and evolvement, he’ll find it and latch onto it. If it’s not part of his life plan, probably not.
Children, even older ones, learn more from what we, as parents, do than from what we say. So don’t lecture or nag, but continue demonstrating how useful and effective meditation and spirituality are in your own life. When he’s ready to draw on it, your son will have your model to help him. If you’ve made mistakes or have not always set a good example, be candid. If need be, apologize and explain how you have worked to make things right. Be sure your son knows that you love him and that everything you do as his mother is with the loving intent of helping him become his best self.
As you continue your own spiritual journey, remember to ask your higher power to guide and bless your son. Try not to get frustrated and know that despite the difficulties of the teenage years, most kids grow into productive and independent adults.
As far as his rough patch is concerned, it’s always tough to see your offspring go through that. Sometimes there’s not a lot you can do besides set good boundaries, let him know you’re in his corner if he needs anything, and offer to hook him up with a counselor if he wants one. Then it’s up to you to know you’ve done your job, detach as much as possible and step back.
Keep in mind that this relates to a 16 year old. Young kids are another story. I’m wondering what if any spiritual framework or meditation practice ideas you offered your boy when he was little. But perhaps that didn’t become part of your own life until he was older.
We hope this is helpful. Thank you for reaching out! Remember that you can find supportive resources here in the form of courses and guided meditation programs, and that you can contact Max Highstein directly for private intuitive counseling sessions.
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