My late wife, in her last months, required oxygen to maintain her balanced emotional and cognitive processes. Sometimes the flow was a bit ‘off.’ When I mentioned what she was going through to a nurse friend of hers - a psychiatric nurse - she came right over. Within about three sentences, she had my beautiful wife settled, calmed and peaceful.
My point? How you approach someone in the midst of emotional upset or turmoil can change the entire situation INSTANTLY.
It's not that your teenager is anywhere close to that but if you change your approach and your response you can instantly change their reaction and help the entire situation to improve, not worsen by ‘fanning the flames’ even higher.
As in so many difficult circumstances, PAUSE, then say something supportive or information-querying.
Regardless of the source or cause of Covid-19, like any other crisis in life, after surviving it – or during - we should LEARN from it!
There are two powerful elements which parents should ROLE-MODEL and teach their kids: (1) Resilience and (2) Resourcefulness. Regardless of what else happens in the world or their life, those two skilled traits will enable them to survive and flourish – almost anything!
#1 - Resilience is the ability to bounce back from failure or a setback, get back at it and fight!
And the ONLY source of Resilience is failure!!!
I have seen gifted kids who coasted through most of school and life and when they hit the challenges of college ad fail, as one example, they collapsed emotionally and attitudinally because they’d never faced adversity before and had no idea how or what to do.
The same thing happens with helicopter parenting! Those parents prevent their kids from experiencing failure and setbacks and hence their kids never develop any capacity to deal with ANY setbacks.
· THE KEY, however is for a coach or a parent to be there to guide or instruct and to caringly uplift that young person from their defeat - and teach them what they may have done wrong or what they might or should do in the future.
But let's not forget - without that failure the lesson would never have been learned!
#2 – Resourcefulness is the ability to find a different path or approach to achieve a goal. Current example? Classroom learning is only one way to education, NOT the only one.
Creativity is very closely linked to resourcefulness. Creativity is defined as combining two or more thoughts or ideas not previously connected.
How to do that?
Challenge or broaden their thinking!
· Encourage wild ’n crazy, goofy thinking. I KNOW of an instance in which a truck driver made a suggestion to stop breaking off taillights every time a truck backed in to load. His idea didn’t work – but another driver 100 miles away, same organization, took his idea, modified it a bit – and won a national award!! Without the first “failed idea” – the 2nd one may never have occurred!!
· Ask a lot of ‘what-if’ questions…
· Point out things you see and ask – “how could we use that at home or in the pool or under the house, etc.”
· Ask “how else could we get that done [some task] if we didn’t have the tools we usually use?
· One other great one: reverse and use your two-year-old’s stage of asking :”WHY?” over and over and over…!!
If you enhance and reinforce your teen’s strengths in those two areas, you will develop crucial life skills – AND EVEN their self-confidence and self-esteem!!
MAKE IT FUN – AND ASK, ASK, ASK!!
· Drug addiction
· Poor grades
· Loss of control of your teen
· College failure or ‘the 5-year plan’
· No job/ no career/ no future
The large majority of teenagers will NOT experience the first three – but as you go down the list, the possibilities INCREASE! Like it or not, we are a society IN DENIAL – “no, that will never happen to me – or my teen” – and yet, during a TV interview, I asked the reporter – in his interviewing parents of teenage drug deaths - how many parents EXPECTED their teen to overdose? The answer? NONE! No parent expected it.
My purpose here is not to scare you – but to at least open your eyes to possibilities – and an approach we follow which we believe will DECREASE the PROBABILITY of all these
In our coaching process, we ask our teens to:
1. BRAINSTORM their dreams – the wild and oddest the better [these are NOT goals]
2. Boil them down to 2 or 3 dream GOALS [now, they’re goals!]
3. Develop A PLAN to achieve those dream goals
4. IMPLEMENT that PLAN in small micro-steps WEEKLY and DAILY
We power walk over the old “I’m gonna” approach – because that NEVER works.
5. We encourage, support and re-inspire them along the way [we all lose motivation sometimes – don’t you?]
6. We emphasize small, daily micro-goals, small enough to COMPLETE that day. That daily completion builds momentum, belief – and SELF-BELIEF!!
A couple key/ critical factors:
· By getting them to focus on THEIR OWN dream goals, their self-motivation automatically increases.
· For the same reason, their focus and self-discipline also strengthens.
· AND they almost always become fr more attentive regarding the importance of their school academics – and that emphasis increases also!
And oh, BTW, because they’re moving toward their own goals, each of the fearsome items at the top of this article DECREASES in probability!!!!!!!!!
IF YOU’D LIKE HELP OR INSIGHT INTO HOW TO DO THIS WITH AND FOR YOUR TEENAGER, PLEASE EMAIL US AT CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com