Tuning in to Teen™ is a parenting program that focuses on emotions and is designed to assist parents to establish stronger relationships with their teenage children. The program provides parents with a greater understanding of their teen's emotional experiences while teaching specific skills that can assist in being supportive, empathic and staying connected with the young person. It further aims to improve parent's emotional awareness, regulation and communication style and provide them with an opportunity to reflect on their own emotion socialisation experience. Tuning in to Teens™ aims to prevent problems developing and enhance emotional and behavioural functioning.

Youth Services staff facilitate two Tuning Into Teens Groups per term. If you would like to register your interest to the program please complete the below form and one of our friendly facilitators will be in contact with you with availability of upcoming programs. In order to be eligible for the program, you must live-work-study or recreate in Wyndham.

If you have further questions about the program you can either call the Youth Resource Centre on (03) 8734 1355 or email tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au.

Programs and Webinars

Tuning in to Teens Online Webinar

Where: Online Live event
When: 9th September, 6:30-7:30pm
Book Now

Tuning In to Teens 8 Week Program

Where: Online utilising MS teams
When: Tuesday 12th October – 30th November, 6-8pm
For further information please email tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Free Online Webinar - 9 September 2021 (6:30pm – 7:30pm) - Online

Join the Wyndham Youth Services team for a free one hour online Webinar that will provide you with some practical skills to connect with your teen.  This webinar will also explore the realm of emotional intelligence, it’s importance and how to support its growth and development in your young person. 

Topics covered will include:

  • help your teen develop emotional intelligence
  • help them to learn to manage their emotions, behaviours and deal with conflict
  • Improve your understanding and ability to talk to your teen

You will also have the opportunity to sign up to a FREE eight week program.

To register visit:  https://youthwyndham.com/tint-webinar/

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au 

Tuning Into Teen Tips

Take Time for Yourself

To be able to give the best of yourself to your family, you need to first take time for you. We know this is easier said than done, so we wanted to give you a few tips. 
 
Do your best to try one of these things each day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes:

We encourage you to add to this list 😊
 
Remember that your health and wellbeing is just as important as those you care for.
 
If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Sitting With Your Teen's Emotions

When our young person experiences an uncomfortable emotion such as anxiety, it’s important that they know we are there for them.

Sitting with, is a strategy we use to show young people that we are comfortable with any of their emotions and we can handle whatever it is they have to say or whatever it is they’re feeling.

How do we do it? When a young person identifies the emotion, it’s OK to just listen and respond non-verbally with things like a nod of the head or a knowing glance.

By not saying too much or controlling the conversation, we hold space for the young person to express themselves. This shows the young person that we can cope with what they have to say.

This builds a strong connection and often means that young people are more likely to go to their caregiver / parent when they are experiencing a difficult time or feeling unsafe.

This can be challenging for parents and caregivers, as it is difficult to “sit with”; seeing our young person feeling distressed or experiencing uncomfortable emotions.

It’s important to remember that your feelings matter just as much as theirs.  Remember, it’s OK to debrief with a partner or friend.
 
If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Bids for Connection

Have you ever noticed your young person wandering around the house with no real purpose? Watched them as they open and close the pantry without selecting anything?  I’m certain there will be a lot of this type of behaviour being exhibited at the moment. 
 
They could be trying to connect with you by throwing out bids.  What do we mean by bids for connection?  Bids for connection are behaviours that may be trying to attract attention, affirmation or affection. These bids can show up in really simple ways like the loitering teen who seems to just be everywhere you are at just the right time. Sound familiar? 
 
These bids once recognised can be utilised as an opportunity to connect with your young person and build a stronger bond. 
 
You might respond and say, “Hey are you feeling bored?” or “ You seem a bit quiet today?” You may even offer some affection like a giving them a hug or a rub on the back. You may even use  a smile to acknowledge their bid. 
By acknowledging their bid for connection you are opening up the conversation that they may want to have. 
 
This promotes positive interactions and relationship building. We often hear parents saying, “I want to know what’s going on for them?” By recognising and responding to these bids young people are more likely to come to parents and caregivers with the difficult situations they may face.
 
If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Building Mentally Healthy Kids – Free Event with Andrew Fuller

Thursday October 21: 6.30pm - 8pm

Come and have a fun session with well-known Clinical Psychologist, Andrew Fuller.  Andrew’s talks are always fun and informative which aim to have people create futures they can fall in love with.

Topics Covered Include:

  • The active ingredients of resilience
  • How parents can develop these in their children
  • Friendship and relationship skills
  • Neurochemistry and parenting
  • Parenting tricky kids
  • Creating happy kids
  • Building self-esteem and dealing with set backs

More Info

Sharing Pleasant Emotional Experiences

Quite often we find ourselves commenting on unpleasant emotions that we may notice in those around us. We might say something like “Hey you seem really angry, is everything OK?”

This is a great way to tune in to someone’s emotional experience. Sometimes though, we forget to celebrate; celebrate the pleasant emotional experiences.  Does this sound familiar?

This week, we want to encourage you to “tune in” to a pleasant emotional experience. This might be acknowledging that someone around you is really happy, excited or overjoyed. You can use the same language and say, “You seem like you are really happy today”.

Why? - you might ask. When we tune into other people’s emotional experience we send the positive message that we care about their emotions.

Tuning in to pleasant emotional experiences allows us to share in those beautiful moments that life throws our way with those around us.

We would love to hear how you went. Email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

The Power of Sharing

We certainly understand the power of sharing in building empathy and understanding for someone else’s experience, but why don’t we do this with parenting? 

Sharing with your young person that parenting is challenging is valuable for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it shows a level of vulnerability that can help forge a stronger connection with your young person. It also sends the positive message that it’s OK to be vulnerable, and that it’s certainly OK to not be perfect. 

Sharing experiences can also help demystify what your role is in your young person’s life. Perhaps with some more understanding about why decisions are made and the weight that falls on your shoulders as a parent, a deeper level of empathy and connection can take place. 

Take a listen to the pledge attached to this post. 

We love that the powerful message here is that parenting can be extremely challenging, but we take it on as best we can and most of all, we take it on with full hearts and the intention to love our young people. 

Try sharing this pledge with your young person and let us know how what the outcome is in your home. 

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au  

A pledge to my child, taken from the book “Tricky Behaviours” by Andrew Fuller.

Name it to Tame it

Getting young people to label emotions not only builds upon their emotional vocabulary but also deescalates the power of their emotions.

In order to assist young people in labelling emotions, you might use a phrase like “you seem to be angry?” or “I can see that you might be feeling a little frustrated?”

Utilising language like this, helps young people to find the right words to match the emotion that they are experiencing.  

In carefully selecting your language, you are offering to support the labelling of the emotion, rather than telling the young person how they are feeling.

By deescalating the emotion, the left side of the brain can then come online and support the young person to make more informed decisions, rather than having a response that is completely fuelled by emotions.

For more information on how to implement this strategy  or If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

 

Anger, a source of information

anger tuning in teens

Quite often we refer to emotions as good and bad. By labelling emotions this way, we place a negative connotation on the emotions that may feel unpleasant for us, like anger. 

Reframing the way in which we label emotions can be helpful in removing negative stigma attached to any of our emotions. We like to refer to emotions as pleasant or unpleasant.

All emotions, whether pleasant or unpleasant, serve a purpose and are crucial for our survival, including anger.

If you hear someone screaming and yelling with clenched fists are you likely to listen? 
 
Sometimes, anger can send the message to stay away. Quite often this can be what the person experiencing this unpleasant emotion needs. For the most part, it’s important to acknowledge that anger lets us know that someone has overstepped our boundaries and to feel safe and comfortable we need some space. However, even as we acknowledge this, it’s important to communicate assertively what we are angry about at a time when we are calm and ready to express ourselves respectfully. 

Now that we understand a little more about what message anger may be sending let’s try and practise using the words pleasant and unpleasant when we refer to emotions. This can make a huge change in the way in which we think about certain emotions especially those that feel unpleasant. 

Remember all emotions are OK, they send us a message so we can react in a way that keeps us safe and thriving. 

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Repair

tuning tuesdays repair

There is no denying that at a time like this, there may be some added tension in the home. We are all trying to work, study and be entertained, all under what may all of a sudden feel like a very small roof.  

Of course, our patience is going to be tested & we may find ourselves bickering and arguing about things we never knew were important or those little habits that you are able to tolerate on a ‘normal’ day now feel like the MOST annoying thing in the world.

Have you noticed yourself snapping, criticising or complaining more than usual? Are you then left sitting in those uncomfortable feelings of resentment or guilt after a disagreement with a loved one in the home and wish you could remove the tension or undo the argument? 

Unfortunately, we don’t have any tips on how to turn back time, but we do have some suggestions on how we can ‘repair’ as a family following any kind of conflict. 

First of all, we want to wait for a time when we are all calm to initiate a conversation about what has happened. 
Through this conversation both parties need to have a chance to voice how they felt. We encourage you to use ‘I’ statements to avoid blaming. ‘I felt hurt because…’ I was feeling frustrated when…’ 

Listen empathetically when others are speaking and where you can, take responsibility for the role you played in the confrontation. It can also be helpful to let the person know how you would handle the situation differently in the future. 

This may sound like ‘I am sorry that I raised my voice during our argument. I was feeling overwhelmed and upset. Next time I will take a moment for myself to calm down and then come back to discuss how I am feeling.’ 

It may not be possible to avoid all confrontation in the home, but we can certainly repair after moments of tension. 

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Self Care

Tuning in Tuesday - Self Care

In order to be there and support our young person, it’s important to frame our own thinking.

Our tip for this week is a nice reminder to self-care and be kind to yourself

Our internal dialogue frames our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Be kind, try not to give yourself a hard time.   

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

For more information and more tips visit:  https://youthwyndham.com/tint

Photo Credit @stacieswift

Emotional Resilience

resilience

This week we are encouraging you to tune in to emotional resilience. This will help your young person to manage those strong emotions like change, fear, worry and disappointment.

As we know, talking about emotions around failure can be really difficult and it’s important for us to tune in to these feelings with a trustworthy and reliable adult.

A little reminder is to remember to role model this so that our young people can observe and learn. It’s important to acknowledge emotional resilience in ourselves and our young people to ensure emotional growth.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Image Credit: Tutor Doctor.

Adolescent Development

There’s no denying that adolescence is a challenging time for both young people and those around them. 

It can be helpful to acknowledge that there are a wide range of developmental factors that are at play which often cause confusion, lack of understanding or frustration towards young people. 

Sleep is one area that is often misunderstood. 
Have you noticed that your teen, all of a sudden has very different sleep patterns in comparison to when they were a child?

Staying up later, fatigued in the morning unable to concentrate on tasks, does this sound familiar?  This can be due to the decrease in melatonin or more commonly referred to as the “sleep hormone,” across adolescence. This decrease can make it more difficult for young people to get to sleep and often lead to them falling asleep later in the evening. 

Often the understanding that there is something physical behind young peoples’ behaviour can help us to develop more empathy and understanding around this distinct stage of life they are experiencing and the behaviours they may display. 

We often have parents asking us “why is it that my teen now relies so heavily on their peers rather than us as parents? This can be difficult for parents and carers to adjust to. 

Have you noticed that suddenly, your young person is almost like a lawyer in a courtroom, debating absolutely everything that they possibly can? This can be extremely frustrating for parents and carers and super difficult to navigate. 

During adolescence the teens brain is going through some important growth and changes. Apart of this growth is that they are developing their logical and abstract thinking skills. This often means that teens will begin to think differently causing the onset of a wealth of questions and demanding answers as to why things are the way they are. This might sound familiar especially when it comes to challenging the boundaries set by parents and carers. “Why do I have to be home before dark?” 

One way to help parents and caregivers through this stage is to pose the question. “What type of adult do I want my young person to be?” If the answer is independent, self-confident, open minded, responsible, or creative, then we want this abstract part of the brain to develop to its full capacity. Part of this development involves practising these news skills and ways of thinking. What better place to practise these than in the home where it’s safe?

Sometimes the reframe of our thinking can help us to feel less escalated when our teen challenges the world around them including the boundaries we set. We might switch our internal dialogue from “Why do they have to question everything all the time,” to “they’re developing their ability to be curious about the things that affect them in their world.” 

Adolescence is a huge transitional time for young people. They are trying to navigate their identity in the world around them. As parents and carers, we often feel the same, trying to navigate our way through a challenging time in life, the teenage years. 
Understanding the difficulties and challenges faced by our young people can often lead to us feeling exhausted, confused and frustrated. Its important that as adults in teens lives we take the time we need to self-care so that we can be the best versions of ourselves. 

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Self-Care

This week, we encourage you to practice some self-care, not only on your own but with your teen.

Try doing something they like at the start of the week and then something you like near the end of the week.

This is a great time to have some conversations with your teen around emotions and how they make them feel.

Use this as an opportunity to discuss what they are feeling when they are needing self-care, this will help in the future when you may need to support them and their mental health.

Remember your self-care is important too!  😊

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program or would like to contact us; feel free to email us at: tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au

Self Care and Reframing Thinking

Self Care and Reframing Thinking

Quite often our internal dialogue can get in the way of having a positive interaction with our young people.

Have you ever thought prior to engaging in a conversation with your young person “I’m not good at this emotional stuff, I’m not going to do it right!”

We encourage you to shift that internal dialogue to be kind to yourself. You might reframe that thought with “I’m going to give this a go, I’ll do my best, I come from a place of love and support.”

When we shift our internal dialogue, we challenge our negative thoughts. By challenging these thoughts, we can shift our emotional experience toward certain situations that we often shy away from or feel we don’t have the skills to navigate.

This is an excellent way to self-love which is something we often forget to do.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program or would like to contact us; feel free to email us at: tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au  

Credit: Brene Brown

Emotional Intelligence

As an emotion coaching parent, we can support our teens to developing emotional intelligence.

But why is emotional intelligence so important?

Emotional intelligence is considered a good predictor of outcomes as I.Q. This is because Teens with a higher degree of emotional intelligence have shown to have improved in areas such as emotional, social, behavioural and academic outcomes. It is also known that they have lower levels of physiological arousal which helps them cope better with physical changes of puberty and they then grow up to be more emotionally intelligent adults.

As emotionally intelligent adults, this results in higher life satisfaction, better relationships and lower rates of psychological difficulties.

What kind of adult do you want your Teen to be?

Learn to be an emotion coaching parent through the Tuning into Teens program and email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au to register or visit https://youthwyndham.com/tint

Mental Maps

Tuning in Tuesdays: Mental Maps

This week we encourage you to be interested in having a mental map of your teen’s life.

A mental map is having an idea of what your teen’s day to day life is like. For example, they may have an exam coming up or a couple of parties. 

The great thing about having a mental map of what our teens have going on, is that we can support them in times that could be stressful and helping earlier rather than after situation occurs. For example, if we know about the exams coming up, we can understand that they may be more irritable and studying more, then we can check in and see if they need some extra support.

We want to avoid being over-controlling yet know enough to be able to help support our young person. This will help your teen know you are there for them and are understanding ,allowing you to tune in easier next time.

Wonder

Tuning In To Tuesdays - Wonder

This week we want to challenge you to ‘wonder’

We want to encourage you to not only wonder but literally add the word to your vocabulary when talking about emotions with your young person.

The word wonder allows us to explore our young people’s emotions and initiate deeper conversation.

We can say “I wonder if you’re feeling…?”or “I’m wondering if we…?”

By wondering, we show that we have interest in what our young people are doing and feeling. This can help open opportunities to turn towards our young people in the future.

This may feel odd at the start, but we encourage you to try new ways to communicate and see what works best for your family. This is a great way to role model how emotions can be discussed in the home.

Have a great week and keep wondering!

Building in a Pause

Building in a Pause

When young people present in a highly emotional state to parents and caregivers its often difficult to respond with empathy especially when the situation that is causing their heightened state makes us feel triggered as well.

This week we encourage parents to build in a pause before responding to their young people who may be heightened.

When we build in a pause, we might take some deep breaths or make a cup of tea before sharing our thoughts with our young people. This gives us time to down regulate our emotional experience before responding, giving us a better chance of being able to respond with love and empathy.

When our young people share an emotional experience it’s important our own emotions don’t get in the way or over shadow their experience.

Credit: The Gottman institute

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au 

Problem solving with your Teen

At times, teens approach parents with a problem that is causing them stress. The biggest challenge for parents is to stop themselves from jumping in to solve the problem for their teen. Teens learn to become great problem solvers when parents support them to solve the problem themselves.

Parents can support their teen by:

  • Listening to the feelings behind the verbal statements or body language. Notice the emotion, connect, acknowledge, show understanding and perhaps find out more
  • Tell them that you have confidence that they can work out what to do; “You often have great ideas, what do you think would work?”
  • Ask an open question about what they could do; “Can you think of anything that could make things easier or better?”
  • If they can’t think of anything, suggest that maybe together you can come up with some options; “Hmmm, that’s tough. How about we put our heads
  • together and see if we can come up with something? Is now a good time?”
  • Tell your teen that you support their solution.

Also note that as the parent, you may need to negotiate boundaries around some solutions.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at tuningintoteens@wyndham.vic.gov.au 

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