Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Sally Ann Gray: Shifting mindsets

Published:Sunday | March 7, 2021 | 12:06 AMShanna Monteith - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Sally Ann Gray is pictured with her parents Selburne and Marjorie Sharpe.
Sally Ann Gray is pictured with her parents Selburne and Marjorie Sharpe.

It is true that parenting a teenager is never easy. As your child gets older and finds their own identity, they often begin to assert a level of independence and experience behavioural changes that can easily come off as rebellious and borderline disrespectful in the eyes of the parents.

While some teens quickly bounce back from this chapter, which can lead down a hopeless road, there are those who never really recover.

Mothers and fathers, especially those who are first-time parents, often do not know how to respond to this phase of their children’s life and require additional guidance.

Among the best to share with people on strategies to help their teenagers overcome their dark stage and achieve success is educational consultant Sally Ann Gray, who often tells the story of how she overcame rebellion to accomplish much.

Giving a quick synopsis of her younger years and road to success, she said, “I’m adopted, was diagnosed with ADHD at 15 years old, and then I was kicked out of high school. When that happened, I started pulling my life together and ended up going to teachers ‘ college and university. I did my Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, and the same school that kicked me as a teen was the first to hire me. I was their first special ed teacher.”

On a mission to share the same tools and strategies her parents employed to help her as an adolescent, Gray, who is an award-winning author has penned a book called Wayward Teen to Transformed Queen: Strategies to Help Your Teenager Succeed.

The guide, which was published by Dayelight Publishers and which is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, is approved by the Ministry of Education for use in parenting programmes and is also being used as a tool in partnership with the Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Assessment Centre under the purview of the University of Technology.

“This book has been helping parents to shift their mindset around how they can approach parenting during teenage years, utilise an individualised success plan to coach their teenaged child to success, uncover simple, practical, and actionable steps that they can use now as they guide and train their teenager in a number of areas and discover the effects of what is referred to as the hidden curriculum in the home,” said the special-education trained teacher.

She continued: “I was considered the out-of-control kid. So the wayward teen to transformed teen is me, and the strategies to help your teen succeed are things that my parents used with me and then things that I used with my students in the classroom once I became a teacher that I know work.

“So because I’ve lived it, and I’ve been that child that was labelled wayward, I know that transformation is possible. The book is an eight-step guide for parents of teenagers. Your child does not have to be out of control for you to get value from it based on the feedback I’ve been getting from parents.”

In a tribute to other parents, Selburne and Marjorie Sharpe, who parented Gray, wrote: “We know it is hard. We were once where you are today, but the good Lord is able. Develop a relationship with Him because there may be some very dark nights that only He can help you out of.

If your teenager is out of control, get a support team in place. I cannot tell you how much the support of trusted friends helped prevent looming nervous breakdowns. Understand that you cannot share everything about your teenager with everyone ... .

Continue loving your child. Remember that like you, he or she is the image of God. Seek professional help. Family Life Ministries is a great place to start. Always pray. Irrespective of what you see now, know that better can come from your teenage child. Be encouraged. God turned it around for us. He will turn it around for you, too,” Gray’s parents said.