– as have I - grown weary of that expression?
- it may have a lot more immediate relevance and value than we thought.
school for weeks/ months, and if the pandemic quarantine keeps them at home,
these poor kids – and their parents – could benefit from a ‘new normal’
and read and note parent’s annoyance and aggravation by and from their
teenagers constantly. And what occurred
to me after the first few hundred such readings was that, with a moderately
simple “pivot” [there’s another new/ popular term] – any parent can change -
AND IMPROVE! their teen paradox!
CHANGE your expectations!
In far too many instances, parent’s expectations of behaviors and
choices of their teens are simply not realistic in a world far different than
when they were teens. Question your expectations – and even discuss them with
ASK, DON’T TELL. By this
age, teenagers are SO TIRED of being TOLD what to do and when to do it. Why not
reverse your paradigm – make it a dialogue – a two-way, mutually respectful communication. Trust me – it works! [LISTEN to them!]
to get them involved in their own dream goal pursuit. In our coaching of teenagers, we’ve found
that as soon as their focus is NO LONGER what the teacher said, or what Mom or
Dad want them to do – and is replaced by pursuit of their OWN personal dreams
and goals, their self-motivation takes over – and their internal stress and
outward hostility DECREASES!!
what am I saying? Invite or suggest that
they brainstorm EVERYTHING they ever hope to achieve, possess become or
experience – IN ANY AREA(S) of life.
be prepared with several suggested questions and actions they might pursue. As in
all these suggestions – make it a fun project, NOT an assignment. If done right, it’s ALL ABOUT THEM – and that
motivates and inspires ALL OF US!!
great exercise arising from their Dream list – truly for the whole family, if
you’d like: create, develop a Visualization Board.
my first one many year ago – at a sales meeting with more than 100 people in
the room. We had a great time, each doing
his own – but contributing or making suggestions to others - as you should.
interested, we have questions and a process we can recommend – for Questioning,
for Dream List and for Visualization Board - just ask! And of course, there’s no charge nor fee! 😎
HOW YA GONNA GET THERE?
Absolute basic fact learned
25 years ago: the more specific the goal, the easier it is to achieve –
and the reverse: the more vague the goal, the harder it is to achieve.
When we surveyed
parents asking their goal(s) for their teenager, the most frequent reply
was “to be happy.”
With total respect
and appreciation, that's not very helpful. What IS happiness?????
achieving or fulfilling a goal.
Happiness is not
possessions. Those are the rewards of success.
But back to
happiness: happiness requires (!!!) a goal!
So if happiness for
your teen is your goal, what's THEIR goal?
Think about things
type of work,
indoors/ office or outdoors
needed and desired finances/ salary, etc.
family situation, kids if any
where they’ll live - geographic location –
and anything else you consider important or valuable.
Next key issue: ASK,
DON'T TELL. As you consider these things, avoid TELLING your
teen. Make this just subtle, conversation - ask 'softball' questions- not
hard-edged challenging ones. Your role is to guide and coach, not to direct.
facilitate exploration with your teen:
“What do you think you’d want to do with your life?”
“What is it about that interests you?”
“Hmmm, that’s interesting… are there other similar but different areas
you might also enjoy?
“What kind of education or experience will you need to be good at that?”
“I’m not being skeptical, just wondering - what if that doesn’t work out
for you, what else might fulfill you?”
“Again, not being skeptical – can I help – only if you’d like, to explore
other similar careers that might be just as entertaining to you, for you?”
“How can I help or support you in getting there?”
Once you’ve begun
this questioning, gently come back to it from time to time. Very often, the
more you push, the more they’ll back away – so gauge your teen’s reactions and
replies to guide your next steps.
[In ALL these
questions, expect to hear “I don’t know” – a lot! Because in many cases, they’ve never thought
about them before.
One way to help
their thinking is to have 2 or 3 or 4 alternatives in mind when you ask the question. If they negate or reject them - fine! You and
they have learned what they DON’T WANT!
It also helps to
NOTICE what seems to make them happy. Very often, people don’t notice what
makes them happy until later on.
Finally – DON’T make
this a formal pursuit [or “investigation”] – just add it to your parental
knowledge bank, to refer back to in guiding your teenager toward HAPPINESS!!
BUT NEED TO!!! - - - -
years evoke a LONG, often scary list of issues – which FAR too many parents
want to hide from – but we have a solution.
What many parents
will see or experience from their teenager:
Lack or loss of focus
Just don’t care
Drug or alcohol use, abuse,
Suicide – talking about,
threatening to, or carrying it out
As in all human
behavior, there are no absolute answers, no cure-alls!!
have found that our process in success-coaching teenagers CAN have a strong, strengthening effect on each of the issues
Here’s how: we
ask our students to (o) brainstorm and list everything they ever want to
achieve, possess or become in life. (o) Then,
they are guided to filter those dreams down to shorter range goals and actions,
(o) then develop a plan – and (o) begin pursuing their dreams!!
KEY POINT: when anyone begins to
focus on their own dreams and goals, their “need” for unpleasantness, drug or alcohol
use or addiction, and even suicide – diminishes
or lessens a great deal.
Further, their focus, self-discipline, motivation and “Just
don’t care” attitude improves GREATLY!!
Again, this is
not a cure-all – but it’s one more tool to help them help themselves.
While we don't yet
have data to support this expectation, we know that every student with whom we
have worked increased their own motivation and academic focus and school
success without our ever mentioning that! Essentially, we are guiding them toward igniting
their own self-motivation and achievement drive!!
If we can help
you to use this idea with your teen, please contact us at CoachSteve@Launh-Your-Life.com
Thoreau said “most men [people] lead lives of quiet desperation”
does NOT describe you nor your family. However,
it SHOULD make us think - - -
WHY BE AVERAGE?
was a popular
expression a few years ago,
is now a book and a t-shirt.
Everyone wants to be ‘the best’ or ‘top of their class’ or ‘better
than the next guy – or gal’ – but most people WILL BE average –
just by definition – [84% of the population is ‘normal’ or average.]
No one wants to be average… but there is a way out!!
There IS a way to get past ‘just average’, to stretch beyond!
One of the best questions you can ask your teenager is ‘what
will you do today that you’ll be proud of?”
Yes, the first time you ask, you’ll get a weird reaction – like
“what book about me are you reading now, Mom?” And that’s OK.
But by asking that question, maybe a day or two later, and then periodically
from time to time, you will have planted the seed for your teen to think about
pride of performance and achievement.
And as in any growth opportunity, nurturing it with positive comments
will help it grow – and probably enhance your relationship with that teen!
By accumulating a long series of “days I’m proud of” – be assured
your teen will excel, surpass their peers and achieve excellence – and along
the way, build that most powerful driver of human performance: POSITIVE
Try it and see –
and report back and tell us how you did!
NOT TRUE! ['just live with it']
Far too many people accept
the false wisdom that that's just the way teenagers are. You can’t do anything about
it – you just have to live with it. WRONG!
With a relatively small
‘pivot’ – you can easily and substantially change the situation, your home life
and your teenager’s life!
Develop a mindset in which you
(b) laugh gently,
if appropriate – OR show no emotion nor facial expression;
(c) ASK, gently,
“I’m not sure I follow – tell me more about why you think that.”
USE that information to more wisely reply and
DISCUSS your reasoning and needed decision.
comfortable in making a solid decision if and as needed – remembering that a
consensually agreed-to decision is always easiest to enforce – because they had
buy-in to it!
that you are REALLY trying to listen and understand – but that your ultimate
concern is their safety and life, even if it’s a painful decision.
consequences of breaking this rule in your mind BEFORE the conversation begins.
the decision or rule is broken, YOU MUST enforce it! If you don’t, they will see you as weak.
If that rule is broken again, administer predefined
MORE STRENUOUS consequences
Be EXTREMELY CONSCIOUS
and aware: with all the freedoms teens have, the more authoritative and domineering
the atmosphere you create, the more defiant they will be.
AND IN OUR NEXT
discuss the most frequent or aggravating things your
teen does or doesn’t do: Laziness; Homework/ schoolwork; Screen time/ games; Unpleasant, possibly nasty; Messy bedroom; Clothes strewn around bedroom, not put away,
Mom or Dad,
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...
Gotcha, didn’t I? You can’t wait to argue, debunk, reject such blarney!!!
naturally achievers. THAT’S SCIENTIFIC
So when someone
acts like or even describes themselves as lazy, there’s a reason.
For teenagers, it
may be attention-seeking behavior!! [it
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.
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
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!
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!
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
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.
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
OR “the soufflé
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!
will give him or her a tool for thinking and discussing issues and questions of
Questions like -
where should I go to college?
What should I
What if I don’t
go to college - what will I or should I do?
What should my
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
It’s your move!
“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
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.”
“yes, I think I see your point – please help me to see it more
“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!
you do see the point of all this, don’t you? 😁