Helping Parents & Teens Communicate Free of Fighting

As someone who trains Boomers and Gen X’ers to life coach teens and young adults, I often find that the best examples to explain my work to those wanting to know the secrets of working with Millennials, comes from my own personal practice life coaching teens and young adults. Today’s topic is: Parents and Millennials -from Miscommunication to Co-creation or How to I Learned to Stop Screaming.

Although most people seeking help in life coaching for troubled teens and young adults are usually dealing with school failures, social anxiety, depression, pot or video game addiction (or both), it doesn’t take long until the other shoe drops. Parents and young adults with an equal and well earned disdain for each other. Its not that they don’t love each other, there are just too many war wounds to be ignored. What do we end up with? Each side shouting their “truths” across the room while neither side truly hears the other.

Want to get your child to not do something?
Tell them you think it’s important!
Want to get a parent to nix an idea?
Have their child tell them that they think it’s a great idea!

How did it come to this?
How do we change it?
(You know what I am going to say… don’t you?)
Change comes from outside the family unit… through a professional Mentor/Life Coach.

Here are the tried and true steps I use on a regular basis and that the Mentors I train find immensely helpful (as do the families).

The 7 Steps to Transforming Miscommunication into Co-creation.

Step 1: Parent identifies issues: school issues, home issues, personal mental health issues (anxiety included). This is our first consultation either by phone or Skype.

Step 2: Mentor meets with client (the client is the young adult) and establishes goals, the challenges to those goals and the first sign-posts of success. This usually occurs in the first one hour Skype session, the only time it doesn’t is when clients come to me as the sky is falling (read that as massive school failures that can no longer be ignored). We deal with putting out fires first and the on to the Goals; Challenges and Sign-Posts of Success. Skype is the best way to reach Millennials (vs in person therapy) as you are doing positive, healthy work with them in the place they tend to get messed up the most; their internet portal.

Step 3: Parents are freed from having to play “cop”. You get to let go of the head-butting, enjoy each other and email your Mentor the “issues” that keep coming up. Mentor and client look at each issue, and learn how to put them in perspective, how to communicate and advocate for themselves and how to understand the “other’s” perspective.

Step 4: Poop hits the fan. Both sides knew the calm would be short-lived. Something happens. The parents blame their child. The client isn’t responding to what they are saying but just yells back at the same decibel level: “Call Ken! Call Ken!” That p**ses off the parent even more (really not how I suggested to use the Mentor-in-the-middle get-out-of-jail-free card at all). The Mentor gets the client to hear the parents. The parents get to not want everything that has never been done to be done RIGHT NOW!!!! We all agree on a reasonable incremental way forward that makes sure everyone is heard. Fan de-pooped.

Step 5: The parent confession: This is where I usually get a call or email from one parent thanking me and then calling themselves an awful parent. This is where I tell them the real truth: “You are a great parent! An awful parent gives up, doesn’t care or doesn’t notice. You are a parent who needs support from a Mentor to help you with a child who doesn’t respond to whatever worked when you were parented by your parent. That to me is not only a good parent but a wise parent.

Step 6: The client confession: The Mentors that are now working with clients through us are always amazed that our clients often share their truths about their short-comings and their frustrations in now knowing how to get out of those problems. That is why the system is based on empowering young people and not focusing on the failures. Next.. Client and Mentor go back to work. Parents send emails and the Client/Mentor team incorporate their home issues with the goals the client wanted to focus on. It works. Things get better. The client starts to succeed at school, at their personal issues, and at communicating.

Step 7: A new way of communication is created for clients and parents. “Open Listening”. First the Mentor trains the client in the system. We practice on friends or family members willing to try new things. Finally we show the family how to use it during confrontations. Would you like to know how open listening works? Stay tuned or put a comment here and Ken will answer.

What is co-creation? It’s where both sides share their concerns, each side listens with an open heart to the other and together the create a new way forward. As missteps happen, both sides communicate, evaluate and recalibrate.

Interested in mentoring Millennials? Check out www.MentorsProfessionalWorkshop.com

Know a Millennial in need of mentoring? Check out www.MentoringYoungAdults.com

How To Be Heard By Your Child – Introduction

The goal of these articles is to change your life for the better: How you perceive your children, how they interact with you and how you learn to be your best in the world in the very place where it is most difficult… amongst the people you love. All of that will change for the better!

When parents contact me to help them help their teen or young adult find their way, the whole family often seems lost and without hope. Once they hear how this system works they often say something like: “this is the first time in a long time when I have felt some hope”.

The system I work from is based on my first book “The Slacker’s Guide to Success – 13 steps to Personal Success in the New Millennium”. It works for almost anyone. Most young people really do want to succeed and do good work while gaining a sense of self-worth (this may sometimes be hard to believe for those who know these young people but not by me). Given the proper tools these teens and young adults find their way to success.

Something very interesting happens as they progress and the parents see the impossible occur. It becomes very clear that the old ways of communication between parents and their children also need a new way to evolve to a richer and healthier way.

This book shall give you the tools to discover your child as the new person they are becoming and they are a new person. Not because of their Mentor. Not because of surmounting their challenges (although both of those things help). They are a new person because that is the evolutionary truth of people. The baby you held in your arms is not the same person that the toddler became. The toddler is not the same person the teen became. The young adult is again completely different again. In fact, look at your own life. Investigate the things you have done at different ages and think about how you would have felt being judged at these different stages by the things that challenged you as a child.

Here is the greatest part of the new skills you will gain: You will meet a whole, happy, healthy person who has been the object of your life since you first laid eyes on them. This new person will bring to your new relationship, new thoughts, new things to share and their own wisdom to enhance both your lives.

Isn’t that worth the price of changing your own habits of being heard and listening in a new way? Yes. That’s right. The title of this book is “How to Be Heard” but (and you can quote me): “If you want to get something… give it”!

The best way to be heard is to learn a new way to listen. That’s what this book will help you do. Give you a great way to be heard by you taking the time to learn to listen. This is the work I do with the parents willing to try something new as they see how well their child and I communicate and how I am able to get their children to do things that they have been hounding those kids to do for what seems like an eternity. Actually, I never get anyone to do anything. I show people things what “others” want them to do. We investigate. We analyze and I listen to the client’s (the young person’s) thoughts and we go from there. To the parents, it seems like I “got” their kids to do what they had always known their child should do but never would do. In fact, I simply laid out options and let the client choose. The difference might seem arbitrary to some but I hope that when you have finished practicing what this book preaches, you will know the difference and it is a country mile apart.

First, I shall share with you the secrets of what your child really means when they say things. Are you ready?

Learning to Speak Millennial

“Fine”.
The ultimate passive-aggressive diss.
Fine stands for f***ed up, insecure, neurotic and emotional.
When a child gives up to your repeated requests and says “fine” what they are really saying is “it is so not worth arguing with you. I shall give you this agreement, which is not really an agreement but my disdain for you, your clothes and the high horse you rode in on”. (Caution: Millennials don’t actually speak that way. This is my translation of them in a way that you can relate to ☺

“I’ve already done it”!
(Translation) “I know and you know I haven’t done it and we both know that if I say I haven’t done it you will yell at me and then I will yell back so, in effect, I have vowed to get this done after I play endless amount of video games… unless I forget… which doesn’t count because I intended to…”

“Yes I will”!!
“My friends are waiting for me online to keep playing the game. You are merely an annoyance and so whatever I tell you now is my nice way of not telling you to f*** off because I want to play. You should appreciate that. Promises void where prohibited by my doing you a favor”.

“I promise”!!!
“Oh my G-d!! Did you not understand what I meant when I said “Yes I will”?!? Read the above translation. Trust me. I am doing you a favor. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”

The real promise:
“I really intend to do whatever it is you have asked of me if I happen to remember it (which is not likely based on past experience) and I do believe that my intention should be all that is truly required of me. The resentment I feel from you reminding me over and over that I NEVER do these things just makes me want to do these things even less. That is all”.

I’m sure you know what we call the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome:.. Parenting.

Here is my promise to you; learn the steps in this book and work on them with your child and others and you will not need those conversations ever again. They will be replaced by communication; cooperation and mutual respect.

How to Use This Book

This book has a companion book written for your child. Please, for the love of Crisco, don’t read theirs’. There’s nothing secret in it but it says soooo much about you if you do read it and so much more about you if you don’t.

The best way to use this book is to do a quick read of it once all the way through and highlight the parts that are most meaningful to you. Then take each chapter and work on your parts on your own, and with your child when it calls for it, for a month. The whole book will take one full year to go through. (Hello? Hello? Still there?)

Yes. In this world of “three easy things to make your child do whatever you want” (good luck with that), I am saying that the true meaningful way to communicate with your child will take time, patience and determination. Only constant, steady work in small regular doses on your part and letting them work on their part will bear the fruit you seek: To truly be heard.

The Three Stages

The three stages you will experience are:
1) Unlearning
2) Reframing and
3) A new beginning.
There are explanations for each of these at the beginning of each stage.

Every stage is a complete separate entity with four steps to guide you towards completion. The 13th step is about taking what you have learned into all future chapters of your life and acknowledging and honoring yourself for the journey you have taken in being heard and more importantly; learning a new way to listen.

Sometimes we do great things but don’t take the time to acknowledge what we have accomplished. To climb that mountain and not take the time to take in the view from the summit is not have taken the journey in our hearts. Our hearts needs the time to reach whatever physical summits we achieve in life. Always take the moment to let all of you; your physical, mental and spiritual/emotional sides witness the great things in life.

May your journey be filled with challenges. May you overcome each challenge with inner-faith, kind self-speak, grace and humor and may the creative force of life guide your path with a sense of adventure and wonder.

Enjoy!

Ken Rabow

Secret S**t Your Kids Won’t Tell You

There are so many things that teens and Millenials think that are simply not being heard by their parents. How do I get to hear it? As a life coach for troubled teens and unmotivated millenials, I ask the simple, slightly obvious questions that it seems no one asks them or takes seriously.

What is weird is that once you hear the answers they seem obvious and they actually work!
This will be series of short facts and solutions.
If you like them or if you have one you want us to look at please comment at the bottom of this blog.

The following are in no apparent order. Just when they are shared by my clients.

Case Study #3 – Why I Have So Much Anxiety Reason # 12

Kid’s Statement: I never know what will trigger it but when the anxiety comes I lose all control and feel lost. I get these attacks 4 – 6 times a day.
Fact: Most anxieties have specific triggers.
Question: How many attacks to you get?
Response: I’m always anxious. I get many attacks a day. I can have between four and six in a single class.
Ken: Are their times you can control them?
Client: Yes.
Ken: When and how.
Client: When they are not taking over. I can just calm myself down.
Ken: What is the range for your anxiety?
Client: My panic scale goes from 1 – 20. Up to six I can calm myself down. At 10, I’d stay home. 10 – 15 is a no man’s land. I’m a crying mess. At 20 I won’t remember saying or doing things. Over 10 I’m sort of out of control. Between 6 and 10 grounding exercises will help me snap back out of it.

Ken: What if I could show you a way to be anxiety free for one day a week?
Client: I would get anxiety without my anxiety.
Ken: That makes sense. Let’s find something that you would be OK having instead of anxiety. That let’s you feel safe. In command. And that you might prefer.

Result: Client now has two anxiety-free days a week and averages two to three panic attacks on other days. Client goes above 10 only once every one or two weeks and the over-all scale is reducing in intensity. Client is also finding that they can enjoy the healthy feelings they are choosing on the anxiety free day and has begun writing brilliant poetry.

Ken’s Comment: There is no way that this sort of issue that presents itself in this way can be dealt with by close family members. It requires an outside coach. My concern is that certain people would be too quick to medicate such a client. Although I am in favor of medication when self-harm is apparent, I do not feel that such a client, in this case required it and in fact, they didn’t.
Sometimes the triggers are not the first place to go. If the client already has some coping mechanisms, I want to get those “solid” before going back to the triggers. Everything is based on what the client’s strengths are. Rules are made to be broken 🙂

TIP #! Daily Showering (or the lack thereof)
Statement: “I only shower when I need to or if I have worked out or if I’m going out somewhere special”.
Fact: They sometimes smell like a homeless person.
Question: “Why don’t you wash more often?”
Response: “It dries out my skin”.
Ken: “What do you wash yourself with”.
Client: “(A commonwealth country) spring”.
Ken: You know, its close to impossible to really tell if you smell ok or nasty at least 1/2 the time. If I got you a quality shower soap, that didn’t have toxic crap in it, had moisturizers and didn’t have you smelling like a tart. would you try it?
Client: Sure!

Client now washes (almost) every day.
Ken’s comment. Up until now the discussion between parent and child stopped at you smell like a homeless person.

TIP #2 Reasons NOT to study – Reason #372

Kid’s Statement: I always intend to study and the day just slips away from me. Before I know it, the day’s done.
Fact: You know you’re not going to study and we know you’re not going to study.
Question: Why aren’t you studying?
Response: I just can’t seem to get organized.
Ken: If you started doing three 5 – 15 minute sessions of study a day, do you think you could handle that?
Client: I think that is do-able.
Ken: Let’s just start with that and figure out in each day the best time to get those sessions in and see what happens. Tick them off in a chart so we can figure out your best patterns.
Client: I can handle that.
Result: Within one month, client is doing three 15 – 25 minute sessions and learning how to take brakes (and what kind to take) and get back to studying.
Ken’s Comment: Parents pointing out the problem or telling them to “just do it” only reinforces the child’s self-condemnation. It’s kind of like the Chinese finger puzzle.

Stay tuned for more Secrets!

Boomers! Millenials! Do These 7 Things to Survive Each Other

Baby-boomers. You thought you had it all together, man! Like, you were totally prepared! The right retirement savings plan, paid off the house early, avoided Bernie Madoff and even had time to live a healthy enough lifestyle to enjoy your retirement but…

The one thing you could never have planed for,
the one thing that makes Madoff look like a shmear at Carnegie deli reared it’s uncoiffed head… Millenials! If we were prone to metaphors, we might liken them to hurricanes on cyprolex… wiping out people’s savings, destroying homes (at least making them very messy), going into a rages or depressions without warning and sleeping really late while texting… so much for the metaphors.

Now here you are having to continue to work to pay for a 2nd or 3rd university education to prepare your 20-something to work as a Barista (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Millenials: You thought you had it all together, bro.
You had it totally planned. If by planned you mean buying into the ‘rents song and dance about education, hockey and
showing up for Christmas (and actually talking), avoiding the great recession by … oh wait… you didn’t ☹

The one thing you never planned for
, the one thing that makes the great recession look like a bad socio-economic hair day is the dreaded… Boomers! If we were prone to metaphors… OK, so I like metaphors, get over it! It would be like a big needy Kangaroo on Prozac, sucking up all the fun in life and sitting it’s big ass down on that place in line called “the gravy train”. Sucking up all that gravy, while letting some of it drop onto it’s gravy-stained golf shirt. Slowly, it turns back to the millennial stuck behind them in the next Kangaroo pouch and says “suck it up princess, its your fault I have to keep working”.

But wait! There is a way out of being stuck in the gravy-train line to nowhere-ville.
Here are the seven things Millenials and Boomers can do to survive each other.


1. Avoid really talking to each other!
Talking is vastly over-rated. All it does it force you to actually hear the other’s side of things and that can only lead to understanding. which makes resentment much more difficult.
2. Eschew finding things you have in common. It’s soo hard to mock someone when you have common ground. Stuff you both like can really challenge the best reasons why everything is the other person’s fault.
3. Circumvent occasions for pleasantries. Nothing good comes from giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. They have a better opportunity for “winning” and you have missed the best opportunity for a cheap shot.
4. Sidestep teaching moments. Your job is not to teach by example, your job is complain why they aren’t doing what they should be doing.
5. Circumnavigate the cesspool of “sentiments”. Hey if showing your vulnerabilities would help, Oprah would be a multi-millionaire by now.
And exactly how could showing your vulnerabilities ever help the other side to do anything but take advantage of you. Better to be a dork with a cork then take the chance of sharing your deepest feelings.
6. Duck danger with disbelief. Believing in them? What is this, the land of the lost boys? Nine out of ten scientists have proven that showing lack of faith for each other is a great way to enjoy the day… of course they also said that about cigarettes in the 50’s.
7. Unconditional Love? We don’t need no stinkin’ unconditional love! It’s so messy. It makes you feel things and let’s face it, most of the times in the past when you opened up your heart to them, they didn’t just step on it, they ground their heel in it, through in some chipotle mix, a can of refired beans and then made a meal out of it. Why would anyone take the chance of unconditionally loving someone when things have gone wrong in the past?

There you have it. The secrets to surviving each other in a challenging time.
Let me know how it worked for you. Did I mention I have some swampland for sale?

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Go to the Home Page of Ken’s website for helping Troubled Teens and UnMotivated Millenials, RealLifeCoaching.ca
Want more Ken Rabow articles? Click Real Life Coaching Blogs
To contact Ken for a Free 15 Minute Consultation Click Contact Ken
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Communication, Millenials and The Curse of Social Media

So, my iPhone 5 went on the fritz. 🙁
I called AppleCare and got a really professional, organized, thoughtful millennial who helped me. We did a diagnostic on the phone and it was clear it was fried 🙁 🙁 🙁

He was so helpful that towards end I told him about what I do for living. It was clear from the way he responded that something was bothering him. Considering the stellar service he had just given me, I said he could ask me any one question and that I would try to answer it for him.

He said: “I really wonder about my overuse and my friends overuse of social media. I feel like we don’t communicate anymore except through Facebook, texting, Etc.. Friendships have been ruined. I find it’s hard to keep friends and if I wanted to approach someone, Truthfully, I locked the confidence to do so.

I’m really not sure how we should approach one another. Especially if you want to go on a date. I’m not sure how I should ask her out. Text her? Facebook? (I notice he didn’t consider phoning her). I really believe that relationships are being ruined by social media and I’m not sure what to do about it. What should I do?”

So many people these days are commenting on the fact that teens and millennials really are losing the ability to know how to communicate in person with each other. What is more alarming is that when you going to a restaurant people of every age are sharing a meal while spending most of the time communicating with people that are not in the room.

I paused for a moment… and then I said to this vexed young man from AppleCare:
“you represent a great quality in millennials these days. You were searching and not accepting the status quo. I think social media is a great tool. But as with everything, things must be in moderation.

Before I talk about some things you could do to deal with the communication, I would suggest we talk about how to deal with the overuse of social media. I would recommend “micro-Sabbaths”, “mini-Sabbaths” and “major-Sabbaths” as a great starting point.

In my definition of “sabbath”, I am referring to the idea of break from everything electronic. No phones, no computers, no means electronic communications or electronic games.
A “micro-Sabbath” would be A 30 minute up to two hours a day of electronics free time.
A “mini-Sabbath” would be a 2 to 4 hour time period on a given day free of electronics.
A “major-Sabbath” would be A full day from waking up to sleep of electronic free time.

The next question is what to do with this time.

You could use it to read (I think they still make books).
You could use it to go for walks.
Paint. Play music. Sing. Dance.

… or you could practice an ancient ritual called…
communication.

Communicating with family, friends, business people and loved ones.
Communication is an art. The goal is to learn about someone’s passions, someone’s pleasures and someone’s peccadilloes. In short, Great communication should be about sharing one’s heart.

How do we do that?
Ask them a question about something that is important and meaningful to yourself.
Really listen to their answer. Try to understand their response from their perspective and share how that makes you feel.”

The gentleman from AppleCare and I were expected to converse on the simple and rudimentary level but upon seeing A fellow human being who cares and is searching I took the opportunity to communicate.

Here is my challenge to you.

Take one of these Micro sabbaths and tweet me how you used that time and I will share it with everyone I know and ask them to do the same.

Let’s see what happens.

Communication: How to Con Your Parents into Listening to You

Okay. Lock the door. Pull down the shades (do you have shades?) and cozy up to a truth every teen knows: Parents never really listen! You know that, your friends know that, that guy with the crazy hair down the street says his parents listen but he’s home schooled. So here’s the big question: How can teens and young adults teach their parents how to listen?

But first, let’s look at some of the complaints teens have about their oblivious parents:

Teen: Mom, I’m taking the bus to school today.
Actual meaning: I made a huge dent in the side of the car last night.
Parent: That’s okay, dear; I could use the car for shopping this morning, anyway.
Complaint: Like, didn’t she get it? Oh, she will. She will.

Teen: Dad, can I stay at my friend’s house and play more video games?
Actual meaning: We’re too bloated on cheese doodles to move.
Parent: Well, as long as your friend’s parents are okay with it, I guess so.
Complaint: Like, I guess if his parents don’t know we’re pigging out, we’re fine. So, why does Dad mind I’m covered with cheese doodle paste… and so are the sofa cushions… and the carpet… and the dog ….

The thing is, most of the time teens are fine with not being listened to by their parents. But here’s the problem: What happens when you really need them to? You see, all your training in getting them to ignore you isn’t going to come in handy. You’re, like, the kid who yelled woof! Or barked, or something.

So, how do you get your parents to listen when you need them to?
Well, here’s the bad news. You can’t. They’re too old to change their ways and they only get smart again when you’re around 25. But here’s good news!. If you start to listen to them, they will start listening to you! I know, I know, it’s a lot of work, but let me tell you: it’s worth it.

Try this at home folks! Next time your parents are blathering on about something, pretend that it’s important.

Take mental notes of what they’re saying and see if you can make sense of it in your superior teen mind. Then say it back to them, to make sure you understood what they said, but in your own words. If they tell you that was exactly what they meant, then act like you care. Tell them how it would make you feel if that had happened to you. Try to imagine what it would be like.

Tell them it makes sense to feel the way they do (All the things you never hear). But now, get ready for the sick part: It actually feels really good to do this sort of listening. Only a teen could do it so well. But you never know, sometimes parents can learn new things before you are 25.

Also, if you try this listening thing out on friends, they actually start listening back. Whoah! Before you know it, you may find this stuff is habit forming. Listening and being listened to. It doesn’t suck!

Mentoring Young Adults Can Help Your Child

To know why mentoring young adults may be the proper way out of the challenges many parents face these days, we must look at where so many families find themselves. There are so many parents of troubled teens and young adults who are at their wits end, not knowing how to deal with their children. Communication is an issue. Hygiene is an issue. Sleep is an issue. Video gaming and overuse of the Internet is an issue. Let’s face it, there’s a lot more of issues than anything else! Let’s look at why mentoring young adults may be the solution for your child.

Finding Success through Life Coaching Young Adults
People seek a life coach for teens and young adults when they come to a certain realization. It’s okay to have an outside party be there to create something more than medication or talk therapy may achieve. That something is a slow and steady concrete process. One that will bring hope back to your child. One of earning their own belief in themselves. To be successful and rise above challenges and failures. To learn that failures and mistakes are the route to their greatness. Most importantly, to learn the value in day-to-day simple disciplines. Disciplines based on things that they would enjoy doing, bringing a rightly earned self-confidence to them.

The Proven Method
My book “The Slacker’s Guide To Success” chronicles the entire 13 step process, but to put it in a nutshell: a young person needs to seek out a life coach that they are willing to trust and be open to trying new things with. They must then be willing to look at their goals and their challenges to succeeding and finally to start a daily chart of the small successes that will instill in them a sense of the possibility of succeeding in the real world.

How Some People Limit Struggling Teens and Young Adults
I meet so many young people that so many have said of them that they will never be able to succeed. Often, all the family and relatives were hoping for was for things to not get worse and yet these young people have soared and have found their greatness.

The ones who did not succeed, did not succeed because the expectations from their family and friends were for an immediate fix. The kind of profound inner changes I am speaking about in this article are slow and steady. But if all those concerned take the time, have the patience, determination and certitude to see this through, the rewards will be immeasurable.

Remember This:
Do not give up hope. Do not think that you are alone. Reach out for someone to help you and the changes will come. They may be slow but they will be astounding…  Ken Rabow

Update by Ken Rabow – Dec 2017
Here it is four years later and I find that in life coaching young adults, I am still finding so many teens and young adults with anxiety, sleep issues, communication challenges and more. The good news is that working with this system, mentoring young adults really does help these young people AND their families have successful lives where they can hope again for a great future.

What does it take? Find the right mentor to mentor young adults. Taking the time to let them learn the system, to create positive daily routines and grow as a young adult. To fall on their butts, dust themselves off and try again.

Mentoring young adults is not a fast solution but if it works for your child, it is a long lasting solution. Mentoring young adults can help them throughout their lives. It requires the same work to un-mess up someone as to help them find their greatness. Most parents come to us bereft of hope. They want to help their child not fail. As people mentoring young adults, we seek how to help them not only not fail but to soar to greatness. Each person has greatness in them. Sometimes a mentor is the best way forward.

To learn how to become a professional mentor for young adults, click here