Turning Over a New Leaf: Relationships With Youth

Packed with fitness resolutions, habit-changing, self-care promises and assorted organizational ‘gotta-dos,’ January is always my reality jolt into what I’ve neglected far too long.

Between my birthday, January 4th and the New Year, it’s a double-whammy packed with angst, reflection and introspection that usually leaves me in a heap of weepy ‘shouldas and couldas’ that I need to bootstrap myself forward into “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it” mode.

That’s right. Yours truly is vulnerable. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. Ruin my rep and all…;-)

Seriously though, I find myself in the uncommon predicament of having tweens and teens look up to me as “living with full intention,” whereas my own daughter rolls her eyes at me in ‘get a life, get off the computer’ jealousy of my relationships with anyone outside of her own circle of friends. So it warms my heart that she’s actually opening up to me these days, (no small feat at 13) to share her angst and confusion in all its rawness.

With this in mind, I’m thrilled to find Please Stop the Rollercoaster by Sue Blaney via her comment on the Weary Parent blog (one of my faves) about New Years resolutions and parenting teens. She tipped me off to New Leaf Touchstone, her certified coach friend Cindy Loughran’s powerful concept that can help “set intentions, change behavior and support an at-risk adolescent girl at the same time…” via “beautiful, hand-made bracelets that are intended as reminders to “turn over a new leaf.” GREAT idea…

Yep…breaking habits via touchpoints and physical reminders is a smart marketing concept, (adaptable for specific organizations, causes, dreamscapes, and various agents of change seeking to improve the human condition!) In fact…

It sometimes puts me in head-banging mode of ‘why didn’t I think of that’ productization to incorporate visual cues with stress management and behavioral change as an ongoing, personal reminder of our commitment to our own goals and outcomes in a tactile, positive way.

These bracelets (multiple looks, colors, meanings, customizable creations) DO feel like a nice ‘reminder’ of self-identity or even a vow to enhance or change a shared goal/New Years resolution in a mother-daughter bond…

Whether it’s ‘remembering who you are at all times’ or a way to overcome a tug in a different direction, or maybe just a touchpoint to stay grounded in your own self-esteem, knowing that YOU choose your response to any given situation, rather than vice-versa.

At the risk of sounding ‘airy fairy’ it’s like saying to a teen, ‘okay, feel it—touch it—carry it with you—If you need me, look down on your wrist and know I’m there for you. Always. Own it. And if you ‘diss it, deal with yourself and your choice. Don’t play the  ‘couldn’t help it’ blame game…Be existential and take responsibility for your own actions, whatever they may be.

I don’t know about you, but my healthy/deep ties to my own parents was  (ok, still IS) a pivotal deterrent for ‘at risk’ behavior in my youth, grounding me in a sort of ‘omg, they’d be so disappointed in me if I did that’ form of self-rein that seems sorely lacking in a media world full of ‘anything goes’ peer pressure of permissions and edgy age compression expectations that puts young kids on the spot in ‘So Sexy, So Soon’ mode.

The owner of the site (Cindy) talks about ‘charging’ the bracelet to give it ‘power.’ So I’m confident she’s not looking at this post and thinking, ‘sheesh, lady, we’re just selling bracelets, don’t get all profound on me’ because it clearly seems that is her intent.

In fact, her design incorporates one or more elements of significance in each ‘look’ specifically:

Faceted (cut) stones: represent the many facets of yourself and your relationships
Clear stone/beads: signifying clarity of purpose and direction
Square stone/silver ‘labyrinth’ bead: symbolizing your journey as you navigate life
Leaf charm: represents your commitment to turn over a new leaf in your relationships and your life

…And…each is packaged with a set of instructions for ‘charging’ it in order to give it its power to help you be your best self. So yah, I don’t think I’m crossing any lines here. Even their tagline reflects this,

Putting the power to change into your hands.

Why not make a bracelet of your own with your daughter as part of the bonding experience?

Well, frankly, you could…And you CAN, if that’s your preference…the concept is certainly transferable…

But know that this also packs a positive consumer pitch with it as well…Her bracelets are made by a group of “at-risk adolescent girls” who are students at The Germaine Lawrence School in Arlington, MA, and they KNOW change is hard…So this helps them, too!

Reminds me of the win-win at Girls For A Change or our Tapestries of Hope posts on philanthropic fun and “girls helping girls” partnerships where teens help others struggling with self-esteem issues and serious physical and emotional challenges to earn money and lift themselves out of the negative into the positive, “turning over a new leaf” by sharing success, joy and triumph!

Finally, in addition to the DISC assessment willpower tools and serious touchstones and interventions she’s cited some very BASIC resolutions and uses from clients, like:

* “I use mine when I’m about to lose my cool with my kids!”
* “I use my bracelet to keep me from interrupting others at meetings;”
* “I use mine to remind myself to take deep breaths when I am feeling stressed;”
* “I say ‘um and ya know’ a lot and I use my touchstone to remind myself to slow down and think before I speak. I’ve cut my ‘ums and ya knows’ out almost entirely.”

Love this idea! Hope her new business launch takes off with teens and moms in a big way…

I’m going to ping Dr. Jenn For Girls about it right now…(might be a nice addition to her pajama party interactions!) and Dr. Robyn Silverman on The Powerful Parent blog too!

Here’s to a New Year of overcoming adversity and thinking forward to tomorrow and the promise of the future, rather than dwelling on the past and the scars and obstacles that maim and deter. Power to her! And to you. And yours…

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