Raise them to be resilient: Wisdom from parents of superstars
Read an article recently by a parent regarding the college
admissions scandal – she talked about how hard her mother had worked to afford
her college – and how hard this mom is working to get her teen into “a good
school.” SHE COMPLETELY MISSED THE
If you read and listen to the FACTS about today’s teen
challenges, THE SINGLE most important trait is RESILIENCE and RESOURCEFULNESS.
Helicopter parenting, laissez-faire society, eroding
standards in most facets of life, lack of self-discipline, the retired Stanford
University dean who said “today’s incoming students are THE WORST ever at
self-management.” THEN, on the news - huge
economic downturns, loss of jobs and the now-unemployed “don’t know what to do.”
If you raise your teen to be resilient and resourceful, they
will NEVER be at a loss.
HOW TO? [I’ve said it
all before - - ]
DO NOT prevent failure.
Encourage and support it – praise it – BUT GROW
FROM IT. Sort of like the movie A League of Their Own, “there’s
no crying in baseball.” Well, you can cry
briefly over failure – but, as I learned playing high school football, when you
get knocked down, YOU GET BACK UP!
From coaching teens, I see two great sources of these
Both teach that everyone can’t be a star, life is a team
sport, sometimes you’re “only” in the chorus or sitting on the bench.
I have a Mom friend who required her twin sons to be
involved in high school sports or they didn’t have their car. Makes sense!
But let’s go back:
when they fail, guide them to their own revelations.
Mine was lack of discipline and total unawareness
of goal-setting and self-discipline.
As always, ASK, DON’T TELL. The more you tell,
the less they think.
The more you ASK, the MORE they think!!!
[quote from a sports coaching blog post] -
Win or lose, don't
rehash your child's performance right after a match or meet, says DA Franklin.
swam as a kid, the only things I would ask were:
'Did you do your
'Did you have fun?'
would say, 'Yep, I had a blast,' that was the end of the discussion.
Her father and I
would respond, 'Fantastic! Now let's go get some dinner.'
"I still tell
her, 'Have fun!' before every competition."
When your kid is
ready to talk about the game -- or anything else -- don't lecture, just listen,
says Wanda Durant.
NBA basketball player] knew he could talk to me about anything," says
Durant, who counseled her son as he agonized over where to sign this summer.
"There are still times when he will call and we'll just kind of talk
Raising them to be
resilient: Wisdom from parents of superstars
People’s behavior is
highly predictable - simply by observing patterns of behavior – repeated
Once is happenstance,
twice – MIGHT be a pattern. Third
recurrence probably shows a pattern. EXPECT
IT TO RECUR.
In these Parents pages
are numerous stories of teens doing outlandish, even unnerving or unpleasant things.
And the frequent pattern
is that their parents were COMPLETELY surprised by them.
Any sports fan can
tell you that almost anything the opposing team does – was ANTICIPATED by ‘our’
How is that possible? They review previous games – to look for
PATTERNS – and then they PREPARE for them!!
So what might you,
as a parent of a teen [their coach] prepare for? Following are the usual, frequent issues you may
face. I’d strongly suggest you prepare at least four sequential reactions
or strategies if and when these situations occur. Be prepared!
You may deny that your teen would ever face these issues – and there’s a
VERY good chance you’d be WRONG!
high @ home, school, police station?
from you – emotionally
For EACH of them,
PRE-PLAN, THINK AHEAD of what you might say or do – four steps is probably
good. PROBABLY best to avoid the usual
lecture – they simply zone out the moment they hear that in your voice. As a general rule, ASK far more than you
Be as specific and
graphic as possible. Don’t ASSUME
they’ll understand exactly what you mean if you use colloquial or conceptual
terms. Use PARAPHRASING - which is NOT repeating back, but
instead using their own words to explain. When they’ve done that, they will communicate
to you EXACTLY what they understood – and what they MISSED – giving you the
chance to clarify and reinforce.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF
THESE invites if not requires an insightful, meaningful conversation – a
dialogue, not a monologue - about these issues BEFOREHAND. That provides much
time to hear your teen and let them hear your thoughts on the matter. If you don’t have these conversations before
the situation occurs, be assured, after-the-fact is the WEAKEST possible time.
If you’d like any thoughts in or about these areas, please
That expression is often
trite and shallow – but absolutely true. Any athlete, any coach will tell you
that it directly CONTROLS performance, having SEEN what a positive or negative
attitude can do.
Like so many learnings, it’s
usually one of these that people agree with – and then NEVER LIVE!!!
It’s demonstrated in the
expression “Fake it ‘til you make it”
Fake it ‘til you make it as
almost an Affirmation - a way to re-write the script in our minds. Often, people miss the point that an
affirmation is in the PRESENT tense, not the future. You’re influencing your unconscious
mind to live it, as if it already was there.
Key point: how many times has
your teen gone to bed last night horribly grumpy or angry – and comes to breakfast
happy and upbeat, as if nothing happened!
And in their mind, it probably didn’t!
I had a late mother-in-law, whom I loved, who taught me that you can be
angry at someone and still love them [huge revelation to me back then].
Also, if you are positive and
upbeat at that following morning, BE ASSURED it will have a positive impact on
It can be a struggle, for
sure – but AFFIRM your love and support by and through your attitude, even when
your teen is about as a lovable as hugging a cactus!
Of course, this applies to
most all situations – simply use your best judgement.
GO FOR IT!!
be because they’re working on the goals YOU told
them they should have – or goals teachers or someone else said they should
be motivated by goals someone else told you that you should pursue? Probably not much!
truly not motivated, it HAS to be because they have nothing to look forward
to! [Skip 2 paragraphs down.]
to ask what motivates them – very few people know themselves! Instead, watch what they do or enjoy – or avoid
or reject. All these will give you
avoid negative comments – it will shut down future communications. If you must comment, ask innocent, naive
questions – just information-gathering questions – that you’re sincerely interested
strategy is to start ASKING them about their dreams somewhere around 12
y.o. They may blow you off – but you’ve
planted the seed AND made them realize – Mom or Dad may be back – so when you
ask again, it won’t come ‘out of the blue.’
will have planted a seed in their mind wondering about and even dreaming toward
– even if they feign rejection! J
teen is ‘older’ -16, 17 or beyond – it’s STILL not too late, but will take
longer – and more repetitions – but you will still plant powerful seeds!!
KNOW that by subtly influencing your teen to think about their dreams and
goals, they will almost always “naturally”
become more academically inspired and motivated. Can’t beat that, can you?
You need a framework to
understand teen behavior - …
What made him/
her do that?
Where did they learn
Was it effective
or successful previously? By whom?
Did they see it
on TV, etc.?
BASIC ISSUE: all behavior is successful – at living out its expectations. Worst
example: a student who acted out so badly to be sent to the principal, knowing
he would receive corporal punishment [paddling]. Whether consciously or unconsciously, he
craved the attention!!!
So when you see an odd or bad
behavior from your teen, ask yourself the questions above.
THEN, be prepared IN ADVANCE
to act or react in a way that will diminish or correct that bad behavior. Will your approach ALWAYS work? Possibly not.
Some “corrections” may take multiple deliveries. But every time you DON’T, you’re teaching
him/her or letting them get away with it, reinforcing it.
No emotion –
otherwise you teach them that emotions rule.
Remove the result
ASK them what
they think their punishment should be [this can be amazingly effective].
Be sure there’s
some ‘takeaway’ –
like loss of phone,
loss of some
loss of ride,
loss of car,
no friends to come
- nor go there.
[fill in your
own, here] ________________.
Another key point: if you’ve
been wishy-washy for most of their lives – and you will now take a stronger stance,
expect it to take several instances. And
if you think you’re being harsh, you’re probably not. Think of it more like a
sports coach trying to teach key elements of their sport. But stay at it. You love them for their life and future – and
allowing undisciplined, unpunished behavior now will impair their adult life –
With all the media attention regarding the college admissions scandal, it’s a great opportunity to give your teen the BEST SUCCESS BOOST possible!!
While positive reinforcement of any kind is good, especially the more specific the better, remind yourself of what REALLY leads to life’s success: not the grades, not the college, not the fraternity or sorority. Results seen many, many times over show us that (o) self-discipline, (o) focus, and (o) rebounding from defeat are the heart of any truly successful person. [yes, I lumped time mgmt and prioritization in with self-discipline.]
But here’s the key: compliment and reinforce the ‘Success Behaviors’ you see more than the end-result:
- “Joey, I really admire how disciplined and focused you were in prepping for that science test.” –
“Susie, I thought you did a great job in all that practice and prep on shot-blocking – before your soccer championship game!”
And along the way, you'll probably strengthen your communication with your teen!! ❤️👍
college admissions scandal in the US is MAJOR news – everyone’s got an
opinion. And your teen might even be
asking “why bother to work hard – if that’s the way it works?”
here’s the saddest result: those students who were wrongly admitted to those ‘preferred’
colleges – haven’t – and may never – learn the joy and pleasure of success.
is a great time to introduce or remind your teen of the joy of success and its’
cousin - happiness!! [remember – from
previous posts – happiness is not success, but is closely intertwined – but UNsuccess
almost always leads to unhappiness]
your favorite sports team – maybe your teen’s HS basketball team or tennis team
– comes out on the court – their opponents sit down on the court – and your
team scores and scores and scores… how silly!
Every star athlete LOVES the competition – overcoming an opponent. Of course, many people will argue this point -
but they’re wrong.
please, take the time to discuss with your teen the joy of success, responding
and rebounding from setbacks – and then continue to work with them to guide
them to their continuing and growing successes [and don’t forget to VALUE their
failures and setbacks –and grow from them.]
A perfect kid
If not perfect, the simplest easiest, most effortless
way to “build” one
First: DEFINE WHAT THAT PERFECT KID IS OR IS LIKE:
I hear you – you don’t “require” a perfect kid – but what areas do you feel
s/he needs to strengthen?]
Then, how to iron out the kinks or
you tired of constantly being told how you should do things differently in your
life? Me, too!
it’s also important to continue to strive to become better [“we’re all either
green ’n growing or ripe ’n rotting – there’s no plateau”]
what DO you [or I] want to do differently?
your teen, what specific challenges or struggles are you facing, right now?
many, many years, we all succumbed to the idea of “that’s just the way s/he is –
that’s all they can be or ever will be…” I was on track teams from junior high into
college. No one ever told me that you
could learn to run faster. I just
assumed – whatever speed you could run, that was it! Long after my track “career”
– I heard that you could improve our speed.
thing with most other forms of human achievement and performance.
I was a school psychologist, administering those darned intelligence tests, one
MAJOR realization was that “intelligence” – whatever that is, measures THE SPEED
at which someone learns, NOT If they can learn.
With enough repetition, we can all LEARN, even to mastery!
please don’t give in to the “that’s just the way they are”
syndrome!!! Yes, we all - even your teen
– can become better – at almost anything!
specific issues or challenges or struggles are you facing, right here, right