Mindfulness is when you allow yourself to fully experience the moment you are in. You are aware of the thought, feeling, or body sensation you may be having. For example, a teen is sitting with their significant other and starts to feel nervous. When the teen is able to be mindful in that moment, the teen has more control of how they want to move forward in the situation.
As a parent, the teen comes home and shares the experience they had with their significant other and a parent may start to feel protective. By noticing you are having that feeling, you have more control in providing an effective response.
Distress Tolerance skills are the skills you turn to when you are in a hard situation or high emotional pain that won’t go away right away. For example, a parent and teen are having a conversation and the teen wanting to talk about having sex for the first time. The parent may become angry and start yelling at the teen. At this point, the teen may be having a high emotional reaction to the parent yelling. Rather than the teen turning to isolation, self-harm, or a substance, the distress tolerance skills are there to get the teen through that moment. Some of the skills include but are not limited to distraction, talking to a friend, or splashing cold water on their face. These skills are meant to get you through a difficult or emotionally intense feeling.
Walking the Middle path skills are used to find a way to balance and accept change in relationships. Validation is of the greatest importance. Validation means being able to accept or understand how another person sees a situation even if you do not agree. An example, a teen goes to their parents and shares that they feel attracted to the same sex. The parent may have a different view of same sex relationships than the teen. The parent being able to provide a space for the teen to share their experience even though they may not agree with it is validation. Validation is powerful because it tells the other person that you hear them, and you are with them.
Emotion Regulation skills help us control our emotions and take hold of them. Emotions are important for us to have because they tell us how we feel about the experiencing we are having. When teens and parents are communicating about sex, identity, or orientation emotions may be high. It’s incredibly beneficial for the teen and parent to be able to recognize the emotion they are having, regulate them, and to not ignore or avoid them.
Interpersonal Effectiveness skills are helpful in keeping relationships and lessening conflict while maintaining self-respect. This skill set is incredibly helpful for teens and parents. Particularly the GIVE skills that encourage us to be gentle, interested, validating, and communicating in a gentle way. And the FAST skills that encourage us to be fair to yourself and the other person, to not over or under apologize, stick to your values, and be truthful.