For 2 years we have been developing, delivering and refining a mindfulness programme for teenagers. As with the Youth Mindfulness Kids programme, which is aimed at primary school children, we are working to make the Youth Mindfulness Teens programme engaging, meaningful and deeply beneficial for 12-16 year olds.
Adolescence is a time for young people to explore, to develop a sense of self, and also for figuring out what they want to do with their lives and the kind of person they want to be. In many cultures, adolescence was traditionally a time where young people would go through rites of passage to support their transition to adulthood. Today, we have, for the most part, lost these practices and have few methods for aiding young people in understanding what is most important to them and in learning how to live in accordance with their deepest aspirations.
Further to this, concerns about the perceptions of peers and the rates of anxiety and depression increase dramatically in adolescence, and yet as a society we offer little in the way of suggestion for how to deal with such challenges. The Youth Mindfulness Teens programme aims to support adolescents in developing a mindfulness practice that can be of lasting benefit as they navigate the challenges of growing up. The programme shares many similar themes with the Youth Mindfulness Kids programme but in addition we support students in more deeply exploring their values and developing a sense of purpose. We are currently refining the programme and will offer teacher training in the near future.