29.05.2020
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Dear Mom or Dad, "If you always have the answer, you don't.  You can best help me to grow and 'become' by listening - listening to my thoughts, ideas, struggles- and NOT jump in and tell me what I should do.  That gives me a far better chance to become the me you’d hope for. We learned in school that the most powerful communication tool and skill is to listen... Love you,  Your kid"
19.05.2020
launch-your-life
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Gotcha, didn’t I?  You can’t wait to argue, debunk, reject such blarney!!! Read further! Humans are naturally achievers.  THAT’S SCIENTIFIC FACT. So when someone acts like or even describes themselves as lazy, there’s a reason.  For teenagers, it may be attention-seeking behavior!!  [it happens!]  The more probable answers: they may just be TIRED.  They’re going through immense physiological changes – their bodies are literally growing – and that takes energy.  It’s much like a surgical patient recovering in the hospital, not allowed to go home yet – their body is rebuilding. Avoidance or procrastination [almost the same thing but not quite] – is basically FEAR.  It occurs because (o) “they don’t know how” [to perform or complete the task] – and they may be ashamed to admit it, or (o) there’s some other fear-like reaction going on inside their head. In some people – adults and teens, there is actually a FEAR of SUCCESS – which shows itself as laziness, procrastination or avoidance. Might there be deep-seated psychological issues? Yes – but not as often as you might think. And if there are, the solutions are pretty much the same ones listed here. And, there may be several other causes going on – but simply labeling it as laziness evades the question, the issue, the cause. Bottom line? Laziness is a defense mechanism – they’re hiding something – even though they may not consciously realize or understand that they’re doing it! What to do?  Use patience, empathy, support, GENTLE encouragement, DON’T MAKE A BIG ISSUE of it.  The bigger you make it, the more defensive they’ll become. In reacting – show no emotion.  And when you see “movement,” progress, got off the couch or whatever, – what BF Skinner called ‘successive approximations’ – compliment that action or movement - without making it a HUGE thing. And as always with teenagers – stay the course and ‘soldier on’ – with faith in your heart and a thick skin!
14.05.2020
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Launch Your Life!: BREAKING THE BOREDOM and SAMENESS (I): PLAYING CHESS WITH AND FOR YOUR TEENAGER If you think about it - every single instance of winning and succeeding in ANY field - sports, s...
14.05.2020
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PLAYING CHESS WITH AND FOR YOUR TEENAGER If you think about it - every single instance of winning and succeeding in ANY field - sports, science, medicine, business, etc., etc. happens because the individual saw 2 or 3 or 4 steps ahead of the situation – and anticipated and pre-planned possible alternative actions. And that's what makes a good chess player.  And before you minimize or reject the idea – be assured – it’s not just an intellectual’s game.  Huge numbers of people of all ages and intellects enjoy and play chess! The mindset development from chess is perfectly transferable and applicable to all of life. It's a magnificent tool to teach your teenager. In a gentle, adult-conversational manner you will accomplish several goals and see multiple benefits: (o) it will give you and them something to do together, (o) it will give them something novel and different to add to their often boring current lockdown, (o) it will give them a thinking tool – of great value FOR LIFE! (o) you will begin to further strengthen your relationship with your teenager [and probably more…] The heart, the core of it will build their ability to foresee WHAT HAPPENS IF... - huge insight for life.   “WHAT IF…” could be – “what if I ask ___ to “go out with me” [if that’s the current lingo] and they say No” – or “What if the other team does something unexpected?”  OR “What if the teacher asks _____? Will I be prepared?”  OR “What if – the sky falls”, OR “my car won’t start” OR “the soufflé falls” OR “my favorite clothes shrink in the dryer” OR “my beloved girlfriend/ boyfriend drops me”  and on and on…  Very often, teenagers are so muddled by their current circumstance, that their ability to see down the road is either too idealistic [“oh, that won’t happen to me”] or completely clueless – they just don’t know!    Secondly you will give him or her a tool for thinking and discussing issues and questions of life. Questions like - where should I go to college? What should I major in? What if I don’t go to college - what will I or should I do? What should my career be? And the list goes on and on and on. The ability to foresee, think about, consider, ponder and decide for or against is a huge tool for the duration of their life. If you make it a game-like situation now - you will hopefully enjoy the experience and you will gain and grow and develop them beautifully! It’s your move! 
06.05.2020
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“There are two kinds of people” – how many times have we heard or said that?  Here’s one that can be most effective with your teenager – and normal people, too! In conversation and discussion, people very often reply to a comment with either “Yeah, but…” OR “yes – I see your point - and can I add…?”  If you’ll notice, you’ll see that strong and frequent trend in communicating, from many people. Apply that Yes concept to your teen and you can bet your communications will improve!  And conversely, if your usual and common mode is to say “Yeah, but…” – the argument and disconnect starts right there. If you immediately reply to correct and negate, you are SETTING THE TONE for a disagreement.  The true success of any communication is consensus – which BTW is NOT acquiescence – not giving in, just to get along.  It’s two or more people coming to an agreement that all can live with. Is that always possible? No, but it’s certainly worth pursuing.  And even if you DO have to pull rank and force a decision they don’t like, they will see that you tried for consensus and agreement. And if your first reaction to what you just read is “Yeah, but…” – that’s the point! Regardless of the issue - if your reply is “yes, I understand - please tell me a little bit more.” Or “yes, I think I see your point – please help me to see it more clearly.”  “Yes, you have a valid point. Let's discuss it further so I better understand what you're saying.”   “Yes, I understand why you want that.  Let's talk about what the other elements or considerations or reactions might be.” And So It Goes. Another BTW:  you will notice that the silent thread that runs through this entire line of reasoning is respect.  Even if they don’t respect you, respect them – take the moral high ground.  They WILL remember – maybe not now – but some day … If we start by acknowledging their thinking with ‘Yes…” and then build from there, you will go dramatically further, faster and agreeably rather than instantly rejecting their no! YES, you do see the point of all this, don’t you? 😁
14.04.2020
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[usually, I try to suggest parenting strategies toward teens – this one is a family strategy]  We hear that people are becoming more and more stressed – as they are ‘locked in’ at home.   I have been in the business and success coaching field for a L-O-N-G time [I’m now adapted to success coaching for teens] – and I can tell you ABSOLUTELY that the best ‘immediate’ strategy I know: when ANYONE is feeling overwhelmed à MAKE a LIST!!  Then, with the top priorities, MAKE a PLAN. Even if the plan isn’t finished, the fact that you have one gives you an almost instant feeling of having re-established CONTROL.  That list could be anything – even complaints and negatives!  Getting them down on paper provides an instantly clearer idea of the issues – which almost always turn out to be far fewer than you thought – and allow you to begin to work through them easily and quickly.  If you think this only applies to business, you are absolutely wrong.  It works FOR LIFE.  And if you’re here for teenagers – works perfectly for them, TOO! Questions you might ask, Lists you might start – yourself or your family: [probably choose just ONE] ·         List everything I’m doing that annoys you ·         [then, I will] list everything YOU do that annoys me ·         List all the reasons curfews don’t work ·         List all the reasons your hounding me about studying or grades or school doesn’t work   ·         List all the reasons I shouldn’t have to help clean the house ·         [then] – all the reasons I SHOULD help clean the house ·         List all the reasons that what you do annoys me no end!!! ·         List all the THINGS I WANT [you – each family member] THE NEXT STEP is to begin creating a plan to address each issue.  AT THE SAME TIME, just deciding (a) which one(s) to work on, and (b) who will decide what steps or actions we’ll follow – will be interesting! BE SURE to go into this with a sense of humor and willingness to adapt and LAUGH and CHANGE!!
07.04.2020
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We believe that the essence of ALL human lives is to be of service to others… whether nurse, first responder, truck driver, teacher, cashier, cook, waitperson – we are all there to support and be of service to each other. That’s why LAUNCH-YOUR-LIFE exists: to be of service – to teenagers and their parents – as they evolve and strive through those often-explosive, often troubled teen years. We don’t ‘know it all’ – but we have many years of experience in guiding and coaching success and teenagers. ANY TIME we can help YOU – whether your teen is troubled, unmotivated, unfocused –or already pretty darned good!! – We can help and elevate – since all of us are striving to get to “that next level” in our own lives. Please be in touch: CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com or Launch-Your-Life.com
31.03.2020
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What if you could effortlessly focus your teenager on their own future and well-being, AND take advantage of this pandemic time gap forced on you?? During these seemingly LONG times - - - why not turn them into huge growth opportunities?  Take advantage of this time to build, strengthen and accelerate your teenager’s future success – and decrease your own stress – FOR FREE!! In our teen success coaching program, we start our students on their own Master Dream List.   We’ve found that when students (1) begin to identify and then (2) work on and toward their OWN dreams, their focus, motivation, self-discipline – and even happiness – INCREASES!! And now, you can have that Master Dream List FOR FREE – with our compliments – no charge – to help build and energize your teenager’s life! Clearly, this is only a starting point – but it’s a meaningful and powerful one – which a huge percentage of teenagers DON’T HAVE!! Simply email us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com and we will immediately forward the List and instructions to you!       
23.03.2020
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You are probably now in the midst of the toughest, weirdest, most problematic time of your and your teenagers life! Here's a strategy to occupy and build your teen’s future during these challenging or possibly boring days – to STRENGTHEN your teen’s future!! The two most crucial life traits your teen SHOULD possess are Resilience and Resourcefulness. Take advantage of this OPPORTUNE time [yes, it is!] to build on their existing resourcefulness by encouraging their creativity!!! That creativity will be their ticket to great success in life!!!  Any employer, any business owner or manager is ALWAYS looking for people with new and different ways to do anything at/ on their job or business. If your teen has that capacity, that will lead to raises and promotions. Getting your student redirected and focused on something more positive and constructive [NOW!] can only be a good thing for your time together as well as their thinking skills. Use this possible array of questions and any others you like to guide, enhance and evoke their thinking:   ·     What do you think really created this pandemic? ·       What could have been done to prevent it? ·       What should we do to prevent its ever occurring again? ·       What inventions do we need, to prevent the future need for o   social distancing and sheltering in place and o   cancelling school and ·        creating, finding, optimizing alternative learning modes? ·         What other or different changes to society or school – or anything – do you think we need? Then, use second- and even third-level follow-up questions leading to exploration and wondering, even pilot-testing their ideas and replies.    Always have "Why...?" as your fallback or further question: "I wonder WHY that didn't work" - or "I wonder WHY that will work?" - or "HOW we can make sure that works [or sells, on Shark Tank]?" – “What if this approach fails – HOW ELSE might we overcome it?” It is TRULY these 2nd and 3rd level questions which will lead to ‘the gold’ – much like 10,000 attempts by Thomas Edison, to find a light bulb filament that worked! Accept almost anything they say, even rejection and hostility. Allow that, [remain calm] and ask a follow-up question such as... “Tell me more – I’m not sure I follow that yet…” The goal is Resilience and Resourcefulness – to build a winning and successful teen AND ADULT!! Soldier on, powerful and nurturing parent!! 
18.03.2020
launch-your-life
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This nationwide ‘shutdown’ has some pretty wide-ranging impact on families!!  One thought you might consider: much like a corporate retreat, why not take this time to ‘step back’- survey the horizon of your family, ask their input – REGARDLESS of age.  I LOVE the idea of asking a 2-year-old these questions. You will probably get some great laughs AND some wonderful insights. Be sincere and as basic as needed – but draw out their thoughts of ‘How are we doing as a family and as your parent?’   And LISTEN! PREDICTABLY, some will think you’re wacky, or you’re ‘up to something.’  Weather the storm, assure them of your sincerity – and maybe ask some leading questions – maybe about meals or bedtime or school or [my favorite] – ‘how could I do better as your parent?’  and, if you haven’t said it before – how much you love them but “boy, this parenting is hard work – “I get so tired” – and pause – and wait for their reply  Let them say anything – and listen. I GUARANTEE you will learn things you’d never expected. Some of your kids – maybe even your partner – will think this is a silly waste of time.  [IT’S NOT].  I sit here and ponder what any downsides of a family retreat might be – I can’t see any.  Even if it erupts with anger, that’s mostly venting – which you may or may not have heard before – but again – great information!! You may want to open with some ground rules – like – “no personal attacks,” or – “If you leave the room in anger, you must come back w/in 5 minutes”  and others you might consider.   BTW, remind yourself that any parent who is unwilling to acknowledge to their kids that they may have made a mistake is a setup for failure. Be willing and open to that but mostly be willing and open to improve as one-on-one parents and as a family unit. Maybe this is one outgrowth of this pandemic that will be a positive!  Who knows? Go for it, valiant parent!
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