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how to get a teen interested in fixing posture?

L K
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how to get a teen interested in fixing posture?

My 14 year old's posture has gotten worse and worse over the past few years.  She was active and I believe had better posture when she was younger.  But with all the technology more time is spent sitting.  Eating at the table makes me cringe because her tail is under and she is poking her head forward to get food with each forkful instead of bringing it up to her head and bending forward at the waist.  

i have read and watched everything you published.  I have implemented your techniques and feel so much better. i feel taller and feel my scoliosis is improving.   But if I try to tell her about it, she just says "No thanks", or gets up from the table quickly so she doesn't have to adjust sitting.  It breaks my heart.  I try telling her it will improve her health, and look better, etc but since it's mom, it has no impact. she immediately rejects as soon as I start.   I know she can adjust and would love it the new way if she would just open her mind to it and try it out.  

Hours on the couch with no good support is damaging and the other position is on her belly on the ground propped up on elbows watching the iPad.  This is dumping into the neck, and too much curve in the back.  

Any tips on how to engage kids like this?  I am at my wits end and the more I try the more she withdraws.  The fact that we are quarantined and little outings doesn't help.  At least she is not at school with the heavy backpack they lug around.  

I am considering buying a firmer couch and need recommendations, but if she doesn't know how the right spinal shape should feel, I don't know if that would help her sit correctly.  

Please any help is welcome!

 

 

lisagarden
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07/17/2020 - 9:38pm

I don't have any great Gokhale Method-specific ideas for you but I wanted to let you know that I feel your pain and I hope someone here can help. The one thing they say about trying to talk about tricky topics with teens in general is to try to have the discussion not at the moment the issue arises but at the moment that you sense they would be the most receptive. At that time you could try saying something like, "I noticed that it's hard for you to listen to me when I try to tell you about how you can take care of your spine, what's up?" Then really dig to make sure you truly understand where she is coming from. Maybe if she beleives that you are truly listening to and understanding her concerns, she will become more receptive to listening to yours. I am pulling from the work of Ross Greene, who has developed a collaborative problem solving approach that may be useful to look into. I hope someone else has some more Gokhale Method specific info for you because I would love to know about that too. 

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Hi LK,

I'm sorry it has taken so long for you to receive an answer. It sounds like a really tough situation - I'm hearing that you are wanting to help your daughter protect her back and neck, and get all the benefits of a J-spine, but she is not interested in coming on board. That must be very disappointing and frustrating for you.

I wonder if the most effective approach would be to make it fun? As Dr Laura Markham says, kids only follow our lead when they feel very connected to us. Is there some activities you could do together, or already do together, that you could weave a bit of posture discussion into? Watching movies together on the iPad and talking about the actors' posture? If you are still in lockdown it makes it trickier, but going to art galleries together or looking at photographs of her great-grandparents might help open the conversation. Is there something she particularly likes to do? A sport or activity? You could find J-spine examples in people she admires.

It's interesting that you say the more you try, the more she withdraws. The topic of posture can come with a lot of baggage. With teens, especially, it's important to only focus on positives - avoid any language that could be construed as critical or nagging, and try to steer clear of body image too. Maybe there's something she already does with an element of healthy posture? Focus on making comments about that thing, and nothing else. Talking about your own posture journey (with no agenda re your daughter's) might help too: "I tried glidewalking today and I was able to walk so much faster". Can you enlist your partner to give you (authentic) positive feedback at the dinner table? "Wow, you look so poised when you sit like that". Maybe she'll want in on compliments like that, too!

I have this couch and cushion from Ikea that support healthy posture:

https://www.ikea.com/au/en/p/karlstad-three-seat-sofa-knisa-light-grey-s19132699/

https://www.ikea.com/au/en/p/sommaraster-cushion-white-multicolour-20426035/

Wishing you luck. Let us know how it goes.

Tegan Kahn
Gokhale Method Teacher, Canberra, Australia

L K
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Thank you very much for your reply.  These are all good ideas.  Especially getting my husband involved as she values what he says.    The problem is she already has it in her mind that I am correcting/criticizing her and she considers anything I say  a "trick" to make her sit a certain way.   Mentioning posture in the middle of another activity, like a movie elicits sighs or leaving the room.  I need another messenger.

Question:  Do you have any programs that would be appealing to teens?

I shared my screen of a session of 123 move , but my girls see all the participants in the current zoom meetings are adults 30 - 70+ years old and dismiss it immediately.    Have gokhale ever had something for a younger audience to make this "cool" for them?  

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