Top 10 Tips to Eliminate Homework Problems

What happens when you bring up homework problems? You hear this: Why bother? I won’t need it in “real life”.

This is the question heard over and over again in bedrooms, school hallways and principals waiting rooms for as long as there has been chalk. How to fix student’s homework problems?

No one can tell you what will help you subject-wise in the future but the one thing I can guarantee you is that if you can master self-discipline in learning new things and being able to talk intelligently on the subject afterwards, you will do well in whatever you do.

It’s the process – not the subject

The tips below have been worked on by many of my students who have gone from average or failing grades to 80’s and higher. More importantly, the skills will be helpful in growing in this every-changing world.

Tips to Transform Homework Problems:

1. Those who do not learn from it are doomed to repeat it; they were talking about history but it could be pretty much anything. There is a big difference between beating yourself up about past mistakes and learning from them and moving on. There’s a whole other way to go and that’s denial. Don’t go there. It may feel good at the time but it doesn’t help. Learn from your mistakes and move on. We only get better by embracing our failures, dusting ourselves off and getting back on that exam bronco.

2. In Homework Problems: Sleep helps. Guarantee yourself an easier time to succeed (isn’t this what it’s all about?) by making sure you are well rested on school days. I know you’ve heard it before but make it be something that you choose to do for yourself. You’ll feel empowered.

3. Divide and conquer. It’s all about the notes. Good notes depend on how much of the important notes are in handouts, how much is in the texts and how much is in the class notes. Getting someone who has taken the class to give you the right blend of the three will go along way to having the right notes.

4. Keep your eyes on the prize. Your job is to figure out how to take good notes and to make sure that you can stay focused for the length of any given class. Too many smart students received less marks then they should have because they would tune out 30 minutes into the class. If your class is 45 minutes, find some interesting extra-curricular hobby that gets you to focus for that amount of time; meditation, martial art, discussion groups, debate clubs, chess… anything that gets you to push your concentration once or twice a week to the length of your regular school class. You’ll be amazed at how much better your note taking will be.

5. Teachers can help! The vast majority of teachers really want you to do well. Booking a time to meet with them and to understand what is important to them about their class will save you tons of guess-work and let you focus on what is really important in the class.

6. HTWFAIP – Anyone who knows me knows I rave about this book and for good reason. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a fantastic book that helps you understand how to appreciate people and benefit in your dealings with them. This may sound weird as a homework tip but there are times when stuff doesn’t go right. If you use the principles in that book when meeting with your teacher, you will find the best ways to succeed in any sticky situation. Remember, your parents will gladly stick up for you but you learn the most (for your entire life) by representing yourself.

7. Timing is everything: Paper training. How often have you waited to just before the deadline of one or more projects, only to realize that you also had to start getting ready for your exams.

Simple solution to homework problems:

a) Take the date you receive your project and the end date,
b) Divide those date in half and make that your new due-date.
c) Organize the time from your start date to your new due-date by dividing the tasks that have to happen (research, notes, first drafts, editing, etc.,). This gives you more time to organize your exams.

8. Exam prep.

If you have followed tips one to six, you have the basic prep for a successful exam schedule. Remember, we want you walking out of each of those exams knowing you kicked butt! If it is the only exam in that time period, give yourself three to five days to review and test yourself.

If it is one of a series of tests, do the following:

1) Look over all the exams you have to take,
2) Rate them on difficulty and amount of study time needed,
3) Make a time chart of when you need to focus on the upcoming exam and how much time you need to keep prepping for the tougher exams.

Burnt Brains may be a delicacy in some Indiana Jones flick but they have no place in your weekly note-taking world. If you are fuzzy, you cannot study. Save it for a time that won’t compromise learning: Friday nights, Saturday nights and summers. You may get to the point that many of my students get to that realize it really is never worth not “being there”.

9. Reward yourself!

Pick something you really like; a video game, a movie, a great album – and give yourself a 50/50 treat. X minutes of homework gives you x minutes of your treat. Guess what! I’m using that system right now to write this article.

10. Don’t Panic! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had it right. Of course they were talking about the Earth being made into an intergalactic parking lot and we are talking about your exams. They’re pretty close… except for the end of the world part.

The biggest enemies to good grades are bad prep and needless fears – the roots of most homework problems

Go back in your mind to a great exam that you felt good in and remember how you thought and felt. Let’s call this your “success place”. Whenever you are studying or going into and exam and fears come, recall your “success place”. Especially how it felt.

You are tying your future successes to positive feelings. It works for golfers, boxers, musicians and it will work for you.

There you have it. The keys are in your hands. It has helped many of my students to succeed at their very best. Remember, reward yourself for the good stuff and don’t get too hung up on the bumps along the way. Homework problems can be the key to life-long successes!

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Self-Sabotaging Teens and the Search for Success

There is a group of roughly 20% of our youth who are doing great in school, in relationships and in their lifestyles but for the majority of the young people today, being a self-sabotaging teen is the norm.

So many parents and teachers are finding more and more kids who are non-compliant to the point of failing to thrive, educationally, emotionally and/ or nutritionally. There have always been problems with getting teens and young adults to “get things going” but it seems that this generation is having more difficulty than we remember through the rose-colored memory glasses of our youth. They are the self-sabotaging teens.

What are the stumbling blocks that have so many young people today choosing to derail everything that they are given instead of testing their mettle and what are the remedies?
It comes down to three things:
1) Lack of Inspiration
2) Perfectionism
3) Instant gratification

Inspiration

Challenges for Self-Sabotaging Teens

For most teenagers, school, sports, music or other traditional organized interests offers a chance for them to see adult role models and pick what they want to incorporate into their own lives, but for teenagers who did not make those mainstream connections, there is no adult role model physically present for inspiration.

Remedies for Self-Sabotaging Teens:

Let them embrace whatever they are passionate about and find groups who get together to work on perfecting their craft. It is in the day to day work of things that they love that they shall find the resolve to rise above their personal challenges. There is another way: Find a mentor outside their regular circle of friends and family to help them find their positive power and release their fears.

Procrastination in Self-Sabotaging Teens:

Challenge:
Most people blame this generation’s chronic habit of putting off everything to laziness. In my experience, procrastination occurs from these young adults caring too much about succeeding.
When getting a 70% is not good enough, or any interest in a new hobby is met with pointing out the flaws, the child determines that it is better not to try anything new past the infatuation stage and as for school; if they wait until the last moment to study, they can always live with: “60%?!? What would have happened if you had only studied sooner?” knowing they don’t have to ever worry about it as they have the perfect excuse – “meh, I’m just lazy!”

Remedy:
Minimize focusing on natural raw talent. Let your child know that it’s ok to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes and change and grow from your experiences. In fact, that is where most greatness comes from. It’s too late to undo the desire for Baby Mozart factory-made geniuses but it’s not too late for their genius to flower by learning from mistakes and creating their own structures for success from them. The best way is let them see your mistakes. Own them and show them how you learn from them. It’s all in the process not the potential.

Self-Sabotaging Teens and Instant Gratification:
Challenge:
Young people today will not wait more than 3 seconds for a website to load before moving on. Their average conversations are texted and their group-speak is on Twitter or Facebook. Food is only food if it can be eaten several moments after being chosen. A pot or pan is only an obstruction to getting the “good food” they want.

Remedy:
Make the time for slow stuff in your life. Cook from scratch at least twice a week. It could be chicken breasts in a nice spice with some steamed veggies, or a chili prepared in the morning and slow-cooking until you get home at dinner. Grow something in the garden and take a few moments each day to tend to it. Knit or paint or something else that is slow to unfold. If you are saying that you just don’t have the time – you are back to the challenge. Teach by example and then invite them to show you how they would do it differently and embrace their ideas. Use those ideas and learn together from them, free of judgment. They will learn the magic of the process of creation.

The phrase I often hear from my young clients at some point or another is “if I choose to fail and I do … then I’ve won!” This system that they have perfected over most of their lifetime encompasses every aspect of their lives; from school to hobbies foisted upon them, from therapists that they have learned to toy with so well, to the addictions that give them a false sense of empowerment; their coping strategies are the only ones they have learned to count on to keep themselves safe.

It is the simple things in life from where we obtain our deepest lessons.

Embrace them into your life and see the effect it has on your children.

The work I do with young adults is about helping them find their personal, positive power. I let them know that they will be in charge, making all the decisions, with me being their guide. I may turn them around from a dead end but they walk each step so that they own every victory and defeat, growing from each.

Once they choose to look for a different way and start a daily routine of simple effective steps to find their own positive power, these young adults embrace these new possibilities, showing amazing amounts of courage and fortitude. The best work in guiding young adults is done in team work. They really do possess all the answers.

Passion, process, patience are the keys.

When in doubt, find an outside mentor for young adults.

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The Slacker’s Guide to Success – Introduction

The Slacker’s Guide to Success is Ken Rabow’s method based on his work Life Coaching Troubled Teens, Young Adults and their Families over the past 13 years. Here is an excerpt. Enjoy!

An Introduction to The Slackers Guide to Success By Ken Rabow
So, you know you’re brilliant. Your parents know you’re brilliant. Your dog thinks you’re amazing, then why are so many things not working out in your life?

Hi, My name is Ken Rabow and I work with young adults struggling to find their place in the world. The ones I take on as clients are those who really want to make changes in their lives. Many of the clients I work with come to me when they have…
a) Been stuck in part-time jobs without a future
b) Become addicted to video games; or pot; or magic cards or something else.
c) Failed a course, a term or a whole school year
d) Major sleep or anger “issues”
e) All of the above.
Don’t you just love multiple choice?!?

As one of my clients once said to me:
“I really like staying at home, playing video games all day in my bathrobe…..
but I’m beginning to think that it’s not a great long-term plan”.
Let us call that client Skeeter. At the writing of this blog Skeeter is back in school working on a science degree. In his first semester, he caught the attention of an amazing professor doing ground-breaking research who has hired Skeeter in the lab.
So how did Skeeter go from being a stay-in-his room slacker to an up-and-coming science guy? And why should you care if you are into something else or don’t even want to go to school but have dreams of starting your own business or killer app?
Because! 🙂

Okay, that’s a parent-y answer. The real answer is that what worked for Skeeter can work for you in any field, in any format, in any situation. Your success will come from:
• finding your power
• learning to believe in yourself
• determining how to build habits that guarantee success and
• discovering the secret to success through messing up.

Yes, I’m here to tell you that you can’t really be great at anything until you can get past…. perfectionism.
That’s what this system is all about and it works! Each time. Every time.
I’ve seen so many young people change their lives around. There are a lot of people out there who deserve to learn how to be their very best and do great things in their lives.
I’ve written these articles so you can benefit from this “out of the box” approach that I have refined in my private practice over the years. This process that will enable you to succeed on your own terms. If you follow this method, you will find yourself growing in character and soon enough you will discover yourself achieving successes you didn’t dare dream of. You will find that it’s great to get out of bed every morning, feeling good about
An Introduction to The Slackers Guide to Success By Ken Rabow
doing things that earns people’s respect. More importantly, you will feel good about yourself for your personal achievements
.
You will need to do these exercises with a coach/mentor, preferably someone who is not a close relative or who sees you on a day-to-day basis. You need someone you can talk to, someone who will keep your secrets, someone who will respect you and let you grow at your own pace.
There are three sections in these articles and each section is one full stage of development. The first stage is personal development, the second stage, professional develpment is bringing your personal development out into the world with your new strengths and the third stage, inner development is giving back to the world and growing as a person.
Here is a brief outline of the 13 steps in three stages. Enjoy!
Stage One – Personal Development
1) Investigation: Looking at our strengths; challenges, past patterns; coping strategies and choosing role models and events or ideas as inspirations.
2) Opportunity: Searching for a mentor. Choosing three goals, defining the challenges to those goals and indicators of success
3) Mindsets: Abundance, Poverty Mentality and False Epiphanies.
4) Generativity: Creating your daily routine of a personal meaningful practice.
Finding the blocks that stop you from succeeding and creating remedies.
5) Out Into The World (and back again) Bringing your new skills in to practice in the outside world in a safe and limited way.
6) Setting limits: Learning to set limits gracefully on the time-stealers in your life.
7) Direction. (Following your bliss) Creating the groundwork for a successful, enjoyable life.
Stage Two – Professional Development
8) Out into the world: Putting into practice stage one in a more extended fashion and transforming all you have learned into new situations.
9) Forming new boxes of safety: Using mindfulness and success consciousness out there and seeing how they work in new situations while learning to feel safe.
10) Creating new generative structures. Schedules, coping and new friends.
11) Making your addictions work for you. Using your urges to indulge your addictions as a reward for doing the work you need to get done.
Stage Three – Inner Development
12) A complete life. Learning a sustainable daily practice of being mindful in
learning, work, relationships and even play.
13) Pay it forward: Once you’ve reached this point, your life is richer, you are happier and you will truly want to help others grow in their own way. This step will teach you how to do that.

Get the book; paperback or Kindle! Click here

Ten Tips For Fostering Creativity In Your Children

If you are a parent today in the western world, you have joined a very special club. A club of parents cast adrift, drowning in self-doubt while dodging waves of pyscho-babble lurching at them from every direction. It’s easy to throw blame around but what is the main question we all want the answer? “How do I help my child unfold to be their very best in today’s world?”

10 Tips to Foster Creativity in Your Children

Encourage your kids to sign up and embrace something that they love. Whether it’s drumming, hip-hop or clown school — give them opportunities to go out, sign up, and then make sure to give them the time and space to choose to do the work required at home.This is a recipe for self-discovery and building self-esteem.

1) Comedy: Join a comedy troupe. Then when someone asks: “What are you? A comedian?”, they can answer: “Yes!”

2) Start a Business: Dog walking. Cat sitting. Lawn mowing. Make something cool that people need like funky knitted hats. Find ways to get customers and learn how to keep them as well.

3) Write a Family History: It could be a book, a video, or it could be a blog. When you combine personal history with storytelling, you end up with a powerful creative skill.

4) Make Some Protest Songs: If you play an instrument you could write songs using your guitar or piano. If not, there are great music-creating software programs out there. Go out and sing those songs wherever and whenever you can.

5) Create Your Own Muppets: Find a character. Do parties. Go to hospital wards and have your new creation meet and greet. (That’s how Elmo started)

6) Knitting or Crocheting: This is huge these days with kids in their teens and twenties. There are knitting raves and flashmob knitting — it’s just a great thing that’s being re-invented. Yarn-bombing around telephone poles. Knitting cellphone covers, wine bottle covers, dog coats and more. This ain’t your Granny’s knitting!

7) Claymation: It’s slow — painstakingly so — but amazing. If you are willing to put in the time, you can create new universes and have them do what you want to do and say what you want them to say.

8) Filmmaking: This is how the great directors started: just doing it on their own on zero or minimal budgets. Sometimes, we can tell the very best story when we are limited in the way we can tell that story. Filmmaking on a budget can do that.

9) Cooking: Some film directors have likened making a film to cooking a meal: choosing your meal and getting the recipes is like the script. Shopping for the perfect ingredients is like shooting the film. Cooking the meal is like editing and the place setting and the food placement is like the theatrical opening of the show. See food that way and open up to a whole new experience in dining.

10) Write and Perform: Make your own musical on a theme that means something to you. This gets you to do some acting, singing, script-writing, set and costume design, marketing and build your organizational skills (when you get others involved).

It’s not important what creative outlet your child chooses, how they do it, or what they can do with it. It really is the process that enriches their lives. It teaches so many skills like patience, perseverance, faith in themselves and most important of all, it teaches them to marvel at the creative process from chaos to completion. A skill that many have lost appreciation for.

One last thing: If you are reading this, you are a parent who cares. Sometimes that may be all you need but never underestimate your child as a resource to guide you in what to do as a parent. Ask them. You may be surprised by their answers. Share in their creative endeavors as an impassioned spectator. Join in their communities and honour their mentors who earn your trust.

Empowering this new generation will give them something that stays with them their whole life. One of the most powerful forces for change is creativity. Nurture this in your children and you will open a place for self-worth to grow. A fantastic opportunity to believe in themselves. You have that power. That may be one of the greatest creative acts in a lifetime. Make it so!

Young Adults Communication Issues

Young Adult Communication Issues: Baby-Boomers and Millennials

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 dread young adults communication issues.

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! Young adults communication issues, work problems, school challenges, etc. 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 ☹ They way you see young adults communication issues is in your parents problems. (they feel the same way btw).

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 and eliminate young adults communication issues.


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.

But wait! There’s more!

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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Troubled Teens and Young Adults who Lack Motivation

For teens with anxiety, millennials dealing with self doubt, the slackers and the stoners who seem to lack motivation; there is one mantra they all share: “If I choose to fail and do… then I win”!

Let me repeat this for the high achieving, hard-working parents out there: Your child’s mantra just may be
” if I choose to fail and I do, I win”. Sends a shiver down your spine, doesn’t it? It should! It’s hard to know what is scarier. The fact that they think this or the fact that they would never tell you this. Yet, this is something I hear from new clients on a regular basis. y

Here’s the good News: They really do want to win. They just don’t have a single clue on how to do it. Let me share with you an example:

Take “Skeeter”.
A pot smoking stoner
who has made the skill of ignoring the outcome of his lack of effort in school, hygiene and relationships into and art.

What is odd is that when you get past all the negative situations that Skeeter has been through and really talk and listen to him, he really wants to succeed but he just doesn’t have a clue how to do that, so he channels all of his desires into self-sabotage. This goes on for so long that it is almost impossible for Skeeter to remember that this was a coping mechanism and not his true nature.

Given the opportunity, most people really will choose to succeed.

So what is the secret recipe. How do I get the self-sabotageurs to get “back on track”.
There are as many answers as there are clients. No two people have exactly the same road to travel but there are some common threads.

The first step is to believe that they really do want to succeed and that it is up to the Mentor to help them find “micro-successes”. Before I explain micro-successes, let me point out that what they have been learning up until now is that no matter what they are told, whatever they try will end up in failure, hurt feelings and self-loathing.

This is what I have to work with when they come to me. So why do they take a chance on my out of the box system? Because I listen. I take whatever they say seriously and I help them unpack their regular chants of “it won’t work”, “i’m just lazy” or (fill in the blank) and find their coping mechanism.

Now for the micro-successes: They are so powerfully conditioned to expect to fail that I must find the smallest little daily successes that they can see, feel, experience and start to consider that their might be the tiniest possibility that things don’t have to end badly.

That is all I ask for at the beginning.

And when things fall to poop (which they will), if we have built up enough trust and some micro-succeses, the will learn how to deal, how to assess, how to learn and finally how to grow.

It works. I feel honored every time I watch the transition and they are always in charge of what we do.

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To check out Ken’s website for helping troubled teens and unmotivated millenials, click 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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Anxiety in Teens – A Parent’s Nightmare

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


There is an epidemic of anxiety in teens these days.

Kid’s Statement: I never know what will trigger it but when the anxiety comes I lose all control and feel lost.
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, averaging two to three panic attacks on other days. Client goes above 9 once bi-weekly and the over-all scale is reducing in intensity. They are discovering that they can enjoy the healthy feelings they are choosing on the anxiety free day and have begun writing brilliant poetry.

Ken’s Comment: There is no way that this sort of issue  can be dealt with by close family members. It requires an outside life coach. Some might be too quick to medicate such a client. Although I am in favor of medication when required.  I do not appear that this client required it and in fact, they didn’t.

Case Study #5 – 11 Yr Old Client. Anxiety – 2 – 3 times per week

The setup for anxiety in teens and the way to avoid it.
4:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. My day off. I hear my cellphone (that I forgot to turn off during our family nap) make the sound it does when someone has left me a Skype text.

It’s Victor (not his real name). An amazing kid. 11 years old. Brilliant. Funny. Some coping issues and he is asking if he can talk to me. “Ken can I talk to you for a little later in the evening if you can I want to talk to someone about a fear and your the best person”. I have worked on these sorts of things many times before with older clients but never someone of this age. I pick up the phone and we talk.

Since he has been very young he has had this recurring fear.


A fear that comes back several times each year. Sometimes an event can trigger it. Sometimes it just seems to happen. On those terror-filled days and sleepless nights, his parents are helpless to release their child from his terrors. They keep building and nothing works.

We spent close to an hour on the phone. The client and I had worked on breathing exercises in the past. Visualization exercises were incorporated to help Victor focus his mind towards positive thoughts. We mixed those up with some simple talk about his fears. His concerns and how they felt in his body when they would begin to appear.

Speaking with someone new on this subject seemed to help him a bit and he asked if he could come in with his mom the next day and work on the issue.


On the next day I met with Victor one on one first. We worked on a breathing technique where he put one hand on his belly and another on his chest. I had him focus on having his belly move on the breath without having the chest move and to breath in on a count of five, hold the breath for a three count and then breath out on a count of five.

This had an immediate effect of letting him focus on something new.

(There is more to the intake as to why I knew that diverting his attention would work).

We then added EFT (Emotional freedom technique). I don’t use this on a regular basis, but I really like the idea of having Victor doing tapping, focusing on breathing, and stating affirmations based on what he really wanted to focus on and had been avoiding.

All this brought him to a more relaxed state. At this point we brought in his mom. We determined that Victor should suggest three things that his parents could do when he was anxious at night that would be helpful.

This avoided all the frustration on the parents part of trying different things that didn’t seem to work. It also avoided the frustration on Victor’s part of feeling that his parents were diminishing his concerns.

We now have a short-term and long-term method of dealing with this and so far things are improving.


None of what I am saying in this article is meant to be anything other than a case study and to show parents and young adults going through anxiety and anxiety in teens, that there are many ways to deal with these things.

New choices must be based on what works for the client. The big question is; are they visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. I find that a great deal of these people are kinesthetic and that is why something that they feel has to be used versus talk therapy to get them to change their “reality”.

I just want you to know that there are alternatives.

2017 – Ken Rabow update on anxiety in teens and young adults.


It’s hard to believe but four years later, even more parents are coming to me dealing with anxiety in teens.

It is hard to know why things are getting worse out there but here is the good news. Mentoring young adults, giving them a place to be heard and not be judged for the anxieties. Allowing them to slowly build up good coping strategies: breathing; visualizations; better communication; and being listened to really works reduce anxiety in teens and young adults.

The wonderful part is when you remind them when they have a once-in-a-blue-moon anxiety event, how it used to be every day. It’s a great moment when they realize how far they have come.

For more articles by Ken Rabow on anxiety, click here

For a free consultation about how Mentoring Young Adults can help with anxiety in teens and so much more, click here.

If you wish to know the pricing for our mentoring courses, click here.

Millenials, Save Yourselves With These Do’s and Don’ts

So, everything you were told was a lie.

You are not brilliant because you could play three strings on a guitar when you first picked it up. Your artwork really was just pieces of pasta, glue and paint… it wasn’t “just like Van Gogh”. It wasn’t the cutest thing when you first passed gas (or the last time in front of Grammie) and most importantly; doing what we did to get a job in 90’s now, will get you S.F.A unless being a barista and living in your parent’s basement is your idea of success. (Yes, I’m talking to you Bachelor in Social Anthropology)

Don’t you feel better now that all that is out of the way? And they wonder why you feel entitled, moody, depressed and full of anxiety.

I have some good news and some bad news

A lot of the Millenials really do act entitled and the amount of people in their 20’s who are barely coping with anxiety is friggin’ scary!

People in their 20’s tend to be “out of the box” thinkers. That means anything is possible if you look at life in different ways. Here are a list of 10 things that you should avoid and 10 things you should embrace. May the force be with you (I mean the Episode VII version, of course).

Don’t Do

10. Don’t settle for a job, waiting for your 76k a year position to fall in your lap… you’re not fooling anybody.
9. Don’t live with your parents. It’s soooo much easier but unless you are doing something to create your own future, you might as well make your own Spock ears and learn Klingon.
8. Don’t buy a crazy red BMW while living in said basement. You will have to bring whomever you pick up and date more than once to your basement, so unless you’ve done in your parents or they are working for Greenpeace with a long Russian layover, the car’s not fooling anybody.
7. Don’t sleep with everything that moves
. It really doesn’t help. Look at the Kardashians.
6. Don’t try to win friends and influence people by your bong-toking prowess
5. Don’t twerk. Just don’t.
4. Don’t measure yourself but how your successful friends live. They are doing the same thing and resenting the hell out of not being Justin Beiber. But seriously…
3. Don’t focus on your flaws. That’s your parent’s job.
2. Don’t make excuses. That’s Rob Ford’s job. (Remember him?)
1. Don’t give up, give in or run away.

Do do (Heh, I said “do do”.)

10. Do embrace your craziest inner passions. The things that you create that make you forget time when you are engaged in them. Yes, everyone will tell you that there is no money in it but money comes after all-consuming passion and mastery.
9. Do live with your parents! If you have a plan. If you do odd jobs to get the money to make your dreams come true. Just remember to act like a guest. Don’t make messes and show appreciation.
8. Do go after a crazy dream. Invest your time, your money and your heart in the thing you believe in with all of your heart and keep it to yourself until it is a done deal.
7. Do love everyone you meet. That’s easy if they are cool. But I also mean the loud ones, the rude ones, the annoying ones. Send them love (but keep a wide berth).
6. Do win friends and influence people. (Read the book)
5. Do not twerk. OK. I cheated, but it’s for your own good.
4. Do measure yourself in moment by moment micro-successes. Reading that extra article. Finishing that piece of music. Avoiding the extra treat. Cleaning one square foot of the floor in your room.
3. Do focus on your strengths. The ones you earn vs. your God-given talents.
2. Do own your mistakes. Admit them. Accept them. Embrace them. Frank Zappa and Miles Davis were geniuses partly because they weren’t afraid to mess up big.
1. Do not let your fears stop you. Take your passions, your talents, your earned accomplishments and make your dreams come true. Make them big. Make them crazy and don’t stop no matter what.

You are brilliant.
You are your own work of art.
But you must practice it.
Live it!
Be it!

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To check out Ken’s website for helping troubled teens and unmotivated millenials, click 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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Seven Ways to Turn Around Teen School Failure

We always have the best of intentions when we start a new school year. The past is left in the past. New books. New teachers. New attitude (not really). And then the first inklings arrive that things are not going as we hoped they might. This is a situation Ken deals with on a regular basis with his new clients. Learn the secrets to turning around a bad school year and starting to create success year-round! Just click below.

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.

University – What NOT to Do

All right. Check out the pic. Don’t you feel left out?
Isn’t this what your secret dreams were of being on your own and making your own choices in University?

Let’s go over imagining what these people are about and how they are doing. (fictionally, of course… I don’t really know any of them). Now, I’m really against making snap judgments but… it’s soooo much fun… and educational too! 🙂

Toga guy. Misses a few classes … like September to November. Got some great old exams for the classes he was taking the day before exams. Passed out reading them the night before exams. Exams? Oops. Is it too late to drop the classes?

Miss Queen in Green. Always did well in school… before. Anxiety? A thing of the past… except she’s wondering if Toga guy is really gonna call and she may just sit by the phone for a week or two…

Peace sign guy. Quiet student. Always went to class. Did really well. Straight A’s in high school (where he was watched over day and night). Some part of him believes that by getting waisted every night and going to parties, he will end up having many, many conquests. So far, 15 trips to the infirmary for throat infections (too much deep kissing) and a solid “D” average.

Most of the people in this picture were probably doing fairly well in high school and are destined to mess up their first year of school something fierce. Some will have tried every thing they can think of to get back on track (until the next evening’s party) and start to feel “What’s the point? Nothing works.”

Others will try the following:

Organizational Skills:
It sounds simple and it is. But doing it when the proverbial poop has already hit the fan is much more challenging than starting these skills in high school. Having said that, I’ve seen many people who have had a troubling start in University turn their academic lives around by following a few simple rules.

1. Use a scheduler! It can be on your iPhone, Google calendar, a bunch of pieces of papers together by an alligator clip, or one of those old style spiral bound appointment books.
Once you write down what you were going to do each day (and I would start with just your courses, study periods, and anything else that you must go to) you can add realistic study times and make notes about when exams are and when papers are due.

2. Choose your party time wisely! There’s no one to impress now and no one to bargain with. It’s really up to you to figure out what are the good days to “let yourself go” and how much you should indulge, based on what is expected of you and the following days requirements. 


3. Learn from your mess ups and don’t give up! Even when you know what you’re supposed to do, you’re id is going to mess you up, just to see if you’ll give up and say “what’s the point, I’ll never get it right anyway”. Ignore that voice and just allow yourself the opportunity to learn and make mistakes determined that the next time you’ll get it right. If not then, then the time after that 🙂

The work I do with my clients is based on these ideas but goes into a lot more in depth. Whether it is me or someone else, the idea of a mentor who is based on action and not just talk therapy is the way to find your place and your power in the world.

Make it so!

Forget the great start… just finish it. The Challenge of Learning Challenges

There you are. At the starting line. The starter pistol cracks. All the others rush off and there you are… dead last. Starting slow, unsure of yourself and you don’t know if you’ll even make it. To make matters worse, you see all the other doing well and you ask yourself: “why?”. That’s how it can feel to have a learning challenge.

There is something to be said for just finishing the race. Start there. Walk. Run when you can. Ask for help only when you need it and be ok with falling or stumbling. Just get back up and keep going.

I mentor teens and young adults and so many have given up on or have dismissed. Each and every one of them has the potential for greatness. It may be in a small way or in a very big way. it is not for us to decide. It is for them to decide. My work and our work (their work with me for they are eventually in control of the process) is to keep them in the race and let them find their own footing.

Have faith. A good pillow to scream into and find someone who believes in you, will make you really work, call you on your bulls**t, and champion you when you earn it. Don’t let statistics throw  you off. Don’t let labels make you conform. Find someone who sees your child for what they can become and encourages them to strive to be their best.

The people I work with who are labeled with learning challenges have soared, once they have learned to focus on their strengths and create coping systems to rise above their challenges.

Anyone can succeed with some patience, determination and the right mentor for young adults.

Mental Health Issues in Teens and Young Adults

Facts About Mental Health In Our Youth
According to the mental health commission of Canada, in any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem or illness. Only one in four children or youth who experience a mental health problem or illness report that they have sought and received services and treatment.

The Big Question(s) for Parents
The world today is label-happy. Go see a specialist with a troubled child and end up with a fixed diagnosis that may or may not be helpful. It can be the start of true healing or it can become a self-fulfilling label that limits the child’s beliefs and capabilities by thinking that this is all that they are. How do we help our children when they are suffering from what seems to be a mental health problem without stigmatizing them, getting them the help they need and the support they deserve?

There is Too Much Misinformation Out There.
The biggest danger is false or partial information. There are a lot of misconceptions and stigmas about mental health issues. They include but are not limited to:
1) understanding the illness in terms of the impact on the child and the family
2) medications – side effects, benefits and long term use
3) available treatments
4) advocating for your child
5) helping the patient gain insight on their illness
6) helping the patient be part of the healing process
7) how psychiatric forms work (should they be necessary).

The Big Answer for Parents
The big answer is that there are no big answers. We have to look at each individual client as their own person, free of the labels that some professionals would like to box them into. By looking at the total individual, we can come to an out-of-the-box way of seeing them and choosing the proper methods of creating a good mental health strategy. Starting them on a road towards their own successful lives, aware of but not limited by their conditions. With our life empowerment coaching added, you will also have ongoing support on this journey.

Contact us now for a free consultation!

Procrastination = perfectionism?

There are so many things that get in the way of a young person succeeding these days. But the last thing that they need to have get in their ways… is themselves. And get… That is exactly what so many people do. They stop themselves from succeeding before they get out of the gate… by procrastinating.

They have a lot of good reasons.
They range from
“I’m lazy!” to
“I don’t have a good system” to
“I’ll get to it soon” as well as the classic
“It’s not my fault”.

For a great many of these people, the real problem is they are afraid of failing. Even more so, they are afraid of not reaching their very high standards of perfectionism.

It’s not that they don’t care, it’s that they care too much and it cripples them.

Now that I know that, what do I do?

First, just decide to do five minutes a day of something that you need to do before you start video gaming or watching your shows or whatever you spend a great deal of your time on.

Tick it off on a daily chart so that you can see the days that you do this and slowly add a few more minutes every few days of success until you’re doing 30 to 45 minutes a day at that particular time.

Get into the habit of not judging what you were writing but understanding that: “there is no such thing as writing, only rewriting”. That means you’re not supposed to get it perfect the first, second, or even the third time. I have probably rewritten this simple article about 10 times before you get to see it.

The people I work with learn the whole process over a period of six months to free themselves from perfectionism. Even the very best of them have times when things throw them off and they go back to procrastinating (I have days like that too) but once you but once you have the system built in and you know it works, you can always make it work again and again. And it will always work.

How Do I Deal With My ANGER!

Anger in troubled teens and young adults is a huge issue these days. Is it more than other generations? That’s really not the issue if you are someone who has major anger issues. The real question is “how do I feel with not being heard!!!”

As in most things, anger issues are multi-factorial.
Any one, two or three things may push it up the heat thermometer, but it is the aggregate of 7’s, 8’s and more that bring you into the sphere of danger.

So how do we go from: “No! You’re not listening to me!!!” (for the one hundredth time) to smashed walls, kicked-in TV’s and worse? It is all about communication. If neither side feels like they are getting their message across and both sides feels they know what the other is going to say and you’ve heard it all before, then you are in a mobius loop of miserable mood.

Some suggestions for changing the dynamics and having a (sometimes) harmonious home:

Take turns being the listener or the speaker. Whichever you begin with, do the whole process before changing sides.

1) Listen without interruption. Listen with intention. Avoid any non-verbal cues that are anything but supportive. Your goal is to hear the speaker as if you have never heard them before or know their history. 


2) Repeat back what you have heard in your own words. Do not add commentary. Ask if what you heard is correct and let the speaker correct or change as they choose and repeat back again their changes.


3) Empathize on how they feel. This is not about right or wrong. This is about hearing them and their point of view. The truth is, the gap between parents and children has never been greater thanks to the breakneck pace of change the world has entered. 


4) Validate. Let them know how it makes sense how they would feel like they do coming from their state of mind.


This process should take place in an unregular place (like a basement couch, some chairs in the hallway; some place that you guys have never, ever yelled in.
This process should  be tried in calmer times, not when the proverbial poop hits the fan.
Expect it to take around 12 weeks to build the mutual listening skills.
Once it has taken hold, you can try a time out in a heated moment to try the system and if at first it doesn’t succeed, keep trying.

One final note (in case you hadn’t guessed)… in regards to this column’s title: you can control your anger. Start by learning to communicate with others. Start by making situations occur that allow you and the ones who you sometimes feel angry at to both get the chance to listen and be heard.

Want something? Give it. Want to be heard?

Listen.

A Bully’s Inner World of Contempt

I remember when I first met Ricky (not his real name). He was a Grade 4 student in the school yard pushing and yelling with an aura of glee emanating from his face as the two Grade 5 kids (who were actually much larger than him) cowered, looking for a way to get out of Ricky’s sphere of influence.

I was the music specialist for grades 5 to 8 but was nonetheless required to do “yard duty” several times a week. I actually enjoyed seeing the kids interacting without the shackles of class rules and regulations to inhibit them. Usually this was a good thing. Today, I would be the “yard duty police.”

In my most resonant Alpha voice I said, “Ricky, what is going on here?” The question was innocent enough but the tone implied my judgment based on what I thought were clear and obvious facts. Ricky turned toward me, his victims took the opportunity to slip away and suddeny Ricky started weeping.

I tried to help him calm down and asked to him explain what was going on, but he was incapable of doing so at the time. It was only later I found out that Ricky had a series of sweeping emotional challenges. A bright kid who had control issues and major impulse problems.

Another Grade 4 student, Dominic (again not his real name), the Goliath of his group, had a tendency to physically bully anyone outside his circle of friends whenever the teachers were out of view. This was his group’s daily lunch activity (alongside basketball).

Dominic was always polite and respectful to me, yet, I wondered what his thoughts were as he said what was expected of him.

Both students’ parents had similarities as well as great differences. Ricky’s parents were caring, possibly overprotective and always searching for help from the teachers, yet seemed afraid to be rejected for asking of that help. Dominic’s parents (behemoths themselves) seemed to have an air of entitlement about them, yet cared deeply about their child.

I was new at recess duty and left the handling of discipline to others, but one thing was clear: calling attention to aggressive behaviour without judgement worked. Aggressing the aggressor (punishments, berating, etc.) would only bring more waves of aggression building up. I began to see this angst as a physical wave. When I would see either of these kids starting that wave (before it became actual aggression), I would ask them a few questions and have them help me understand a little about my upcoming students (they would be in my class the following year); their interests, their hobbies, etc. As luck would have it, Dominic played drums (as did I) and Ricky was a sophisticated fan of classic comedy (as am I).

I would take these moments to have them share and teach me their thoughts on these subjects and truthfully, I learned a great deal from their different perspectives. I also noticed that the cycle of those waves tended to not only reduce, but the whole yard seemed to have less waves growing.

In my work with troubled teens and young adults, it has become very clear that there is a strong theme of feeling disempowered. A great deal of my articles cover the various reasons, but I would suggest to parents and teachers that they start watching the waves of people acting out. Those waves are their inner worlds of contempt for themselves projected onto others. If you can catch the wave early enough, deflect them and encourage those kids to share their positive passions from a place of strength (letting them do the teaching), we may prevent those waves of angst from crashing down upon others.

As a side note, Ricky would turn out to be a fantastic student and would end up playing well at recess and Dominic is an amazing musician and became a defender of those being picked upon.

Rule #1 If you see bullying, do not confront. Simply ask: what is going on here?

Rule #2 If you have the option — engage young people prone to aggressive outbursts in positive uses of their energies before the wave crashes.

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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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The Teenage Mantra: What’s the Point of Doing This?

So, you’ve asked your teen for the 400th time to do whatever.

(It’s not like he/she’s actually heard what you said — your voice blends in with the background noise, mixing with the sound of text message alerts, video game soundtracks with the slurping sounds of friends drinking Big Gulps while armchair directing W.O.W.)

You scream in front of their “friends.” You’re yelled back at. Doors are slammed and just as the door is about to close, you hear the words: “What’s the point of doing this anyway?!”

The immortal call of the teen. Having been birthed in one of the James Dean movies (how did that turn out for him, again?) it is the modern cry of teenage angst. I guess a bigger question is: when did we become the old, crotchety guy in the cardigan saying, “What’s all this hoopla ’bout slicken yer hair back and yellin’ 23 skidoo?”

I seem to have mixed up my generational angsts.

Back to the 21st century: I was just Skyping with one of my younger clients, a bright, dynamic young lad of 14 who seemed to have the nervous habit of tapping continuously at his keyboard while we Skyped. When I occasionally asked why he was doing this, he responded; “I’m not doing anything! I just like to tap.”

This particular day, I must have said something that caught him off guard as he pressed the wrong button on his laptop and the sound of a snorting beast being zapped by a space ray filled the room. So there you have it, the moment of truth. There were so many ways this could go. I chose (as I usually do) left field.

(First, confirmation)
Me: So, you’ve been playing this game for the last six sessions while we’ve been Skyping?
Skeeter: Well, not all the time.
Me: Most of the time?
Skeeter: Yeah. Pretty much. It’s so addictive!
Me: I can understand that. But, you’ve been telling me that you weren’t doing anything, right?
Skeeter: Yeah.
Me: Can you see where I’d have a problem with that?
Skeeter: I guess.
Me: What do you think the problem with that is?
Skeeter: ‘Cause I was lying?
Me: And what’s wrong with lying?
Skeeter: It’s… Bad?
Me: Why is it bad?
Skeeter: I dunno.

(Time for left field)
Me: What do you know about Abraham Lincoln?
Skeeter: He looked weird, he became president. He got shot.
Me: True. Do you know anything about his life?
Skeeter: He looked weird, he became president. He got shot.
(Sigh)
Me: When Lincoln ran for president, he was an unknown and considered a “hick.” He was running against three of the greatest hopes for the presidency, yet it was he who prevailed.

One of the most powerful legal minds of the time, Edwin M.Stanton, wrote about the new president Lincoln’s governings as “the painful imbecility of Lincoln.”

Lincoln saw a greatness in Stanton that would help the country and brought him into Cabinet in January 1862, defending Stanton against all sorts of assaults by people who wanted him fired. Stanton was often difficult, but Lincoln took it all in stride. When Lincoln was assassinated, it was Stanton who said: “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen… Now he belongs to the ages.”

Lincoln was a man of great character that even his detractors could recognize.

(The Point?)

I’m not going to ask you every time if you are still playing that game anymore. I’m just going to ask you one thing.
Skeeter: What’s that?
Me: Do I have your word of honour that you won’t play the game while we work?
Skeeter: Yes.
Me: Longer, please.
Skeeter: Yes, I give you my word of honour.
Me: That’s all I need. I know I don’t have to worry about that again.
(And Skeeter never did play that game during our Skype sessions again).

So, why do I tell you this story?

Because there is no answer to “What’s the point of doing this?”

There is only the opportunity to find some way to challenge a young person to want to be a person of good character.

I don’t know why we almost never see that in the movies anymore.

I don’t know why we don’t champion that in daily life anymore.

But gosh darn it (he said, bringing the pipe to his mouth while dusting off the simulation tobacco from his cardigan) maybe it’s time we brought it back!

See you in the funny papers!

Teen Pot Addiction

65% of the young clients I treat are dealing with teen pot addiction.
Teen pot addiction is a huge problem for many clients when I meet with them. There may be others out there who do fine with marijuana but they don’t come to see me. The ones that I see have some or all of these factors playing on them at once:

When you put these together with a daily use of marijuana, you have a recipe for failure; drama; and a cycle of hopelessness.

So how do you get them to see “the light”?It begins by having faith in these individuals, that by letting them discover the roadblocks, free of judgment, that they are putting in front of themselves and offering them a simple, effective way to start succeeding at things that they enjoy in their lives, they will seek creative and original ways to self-limit their addictions in a way that make sense to them.

Secondly, we offer these young adults dealing with teen pot addiction the opportunity to choose what they want to create in their lives. To figure out the challenges and the first sign-posts of success. We then create a daily routine. When they start to see the challenges that teen pot addiction plays in their lives, they ask to find ways to begin limiting their smoking. It works best when it comes from the client.

The problem with teen pot addiction is all the mainstream ways that people have imposed on them have not worked.
so they may have given up on thinking that there is a solution. But once they are inspired to look for a new solution, and to realize through simple concrete examples that they can succeed, they choose to succeed.

I have seen this system work over and over again.

Find out more about teen addictions by clicking here.

Interested in becoming a professional mentor for young adults? Click here

Know a young adult with mental health issues? click here

Kids Failing at School? The 7 Steps To Turning Around A Bad School Year

It arrives. The phone call you’ve been dreading. It’s your child’s (pick a subject) teacher, or the vice-principal and they’re calling to tell you that your child sucks and that you are a bad parent. It’s all your fault, not theirs, and what are you going to do about it?

They don’t actually say that, but isn’t that what you’re hearing in your head when you get the call? If you got that call or note, you are in very good company. There are so many people in the exact same situation that it is scary. It’s not about you. It’s not about your child. It’s not about the school. It’s about finding a new way because the old way obviously isn’t working.

Now there are a few anomalies where what wasn’t working may still work, but something extraordinary has to happen (abducted by aliens, a shining light speaking to you, you go into a cave and see Darth Vader), but for most situations, that scary voice of your vice-principal in your head is on the right track… just the wrong solution.

Here are the 7 steps to bring long-term results.

Step 1: Let go of expectations. Telling your child that they have to start working 73 hours a day may seem like commons sense to you, but if it worked they would have done it already.

Step 2: Divide and conquer. Have your child look at all their coming exams, write out the dates and times and include what will be covered on the test and highlight all the problem parts. Write down the number of how many days are left until that exam.

Step 3: Pick a number. Ask them realistically how much time they are willing to study on a daily basis. Anything from one and a half hours to two hours a day is a great starting point. Tell them they can choose one day of the week to not study at all and suggest that they really think about which day would be best as their break day.

Step 4: Less is more-or-less OK. This is not about studying for the right amount of time. This is about giving up on thinking it’s hopeless and starting to take control of a daily schedule and “owning it” for them. If they do 15-20 minutes of each subject and that is 15 minutes more then they would have done, they are off to a really good start.

Step 5: Be their cheerleader, not their jailer. Ask them what they have done in their studies for the past few days, if they are willing to share it. If they missed something, do not react! Just ask if they have figured out how to deal with the lost time or was it just a way to learn to do better from now on. Let them be in charge. The idea here is to let them see what a bit of regular daily self-discipline can do and learn from the outcome.

Step 6: Lather, rinse, repeat. At the end of the first week, suggest that you both sit down and look at the results of the past week’s study program. Ask them if they would like to share how they are feeling about what they have accomplished. Suggest that they increase their study time by a small factor and see how that feels. Let them write out the new schedule and let them go at it.

Step 7: Review. If it is too late for this year, suggest that the next time they do the same process, they begin earlier and include a two week review time. If there is time this year for even one day of review, have them plan to get through all the work with one day of review, even if it is just for one course, and see what it brings them. When kids are asked to offer their opinion in a genuine way, two things happen: they feel empowered and they usually rise up to the opportunity, and you may learn something really good about your child that you never knew before.

What you are building in them is the faith to put down their toys (whatever they may be) for a bit of time each day and build a steady practice of self-growth with the idea that it may serve them well. This is difficult for some people and if you got that phone call or note, your child is probably part of that very large club.

It isn’t really about the marks or the tests, it’s about building character and belief in one’s self through a daily practice. This work, when mirrored back as being worthwhile, will last a lifetime and continue to grow. Focus on the accomplishments even if the outcome sucks and you will have turned a struggling student into someone who can consider taking a chance on success.
May the non-nagging force be with you

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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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Are We Killing Our Kids With Kindness?

If the best way to kill off someone talented is give them everything they want, then why are we doing this every day, in every way with our kids? Think about the over-givers, over-praisers and over-reachers.

Over-givers: A child given every game, electronic gadget, article of “cool” clothing and every form of chauffeuring has no reason to strive; they have it all now. They are living the lives of the rich and famous without having to do anything. “What’s be the point of trying and striving, or (heaven forbid!) failing at something! I’ve got it all now!”

Over-praisers: When a naturally gifted child is praised for the smallest of their natural abilities, they learns that it’s better to flit from one thing to another, showing off their “natural talent,” rather than striving to find what is beyond that gift in the realm of hard-earned mastery.

Over-reachers: Really, does your child have to be the best at everything? What happened to “normal”? (It’s very Zen, you know.) If every child had to be the best at everything, we would end up living in the Village of the Damned (the original, of course, not the remake). Do you want that? I would think not!

So, we know which group we fit into — oops, make that which group our neighbours fit into. Now the question remains: what do we do to avoid this trap?

10 Tips to Nurturing a Self-Reliant Student

1. Feel OK to say no! If children learn healthy limitations, they appreciate what they do get that much more. Sometimes creating something instead of getting something is the best gift of all. They learn to be self-limiting, yet open to infinite creative possibilities.
2. Be consistent. Learning the rules and understanding that they will always be enforced gives a person a sense of safety. Knowing that we do what we say is invaluable.
3. Be accepting. Their choices are supposed to shake you up sometimes. Revel in their individuality! You are here to teach them how to negotiate the world. They are here to teach you about your challenges and the infinite possibilities of love.
4. Admit your own faults and show them how you try to improve on your own imperfections. This will foster in them the idea that it is OK to try things and possibly fail.
5. Give them time to themselves. Walking or going on a city bus to school is a great way to learn independence. Most importantly, playtime without being electronically spoon-fed is quality playtime.
6. A pet that suites their age, maturity and nature (with your help) is a great way to learn self reliance, compassion and unconditional love. Avoid pet stores that buy from puppy mills.
7. Travel! Locally, nationally, internationally; seeing how other people live, eat and socialize teaches young people that there are many ways of doing things and many ideas of how life should be lived.
8. Let them choose their own hobbies — let your child choose what adventures and learning they wish to pursue, but make sure that that prep time, practice time and learning time allows for a healthy, well-rounded childhood. If the other parents are unkind, find a new hobby.
9. Let them direct one or two things a week; make or design dinner or a game. The best way to learn to follow is to learn to lead.
10. Benign neglect. Give them time to find their own way, choose their own goals, make decisions, learn from their experiences and move on. Let them know that you accept their choices and that your advice is there for them whenever they ask for it.

Our actions almost always come from love for our children… yet… we have to learn to mix our wanting to give with reasonable limits. Plant firmly the seeds in your heart of what you believe your children can achieve without attachment, and let them know that you believe in them. Show them what you see in them and teach by example that making mistakes is the better part of learning.

We are either succeeding or we are learning. Trusting in them to learn and grow is the best gift of all, and it never goes out of style.

Using Our Child’s Strengths and Challenges To Succeed

We can change our lives for the better right now!
It starts with looking at the strengths and challenges in our daily life. Through our challenges, we can understand the patterns that keep repeating and the self-limiting tapes running in our sub-conscious. Our strengths can inspire us to rise over these repeating patterns and tapes, leading us to a richer life. I invite you to try these exercises:

Exercise One: C.O.S.
A) Challenges – Write down three things that are challenges in your daily life.
B) Obstacles – Think about what stops you from getting beyond each of these challenges.
C) Success – Choose something that would show you that had been successful in rising above that challenge.

Exercise Two – Strengths:
A) Talent – Write down something that you are good at.
It may be what you know you do well or it may be something that comes easily to you but dismiss because “anyone can do that”. They are both strengths.
B) Inspiration – Think of a person, past or present, who you find inspiring.
When you find yourself in a frustrating situation, ask yourself:
“What would they do?”
C) Power Place – Imagine a situation that makes you feel powerful.
It could be something you’ve seen or heard about.

It could be something you hope will one day happen.

Try to make it feel real through your strongest senses.
Imagine what it would feel like to be experiencing that right now.
Something very powerful happens when you write down your challenges and strengths.

By choosing an indicator for success, you are allowing your mind to consider success.

As you move forward in the 13 steps to success for young adults,
you may find that you end up modifying what you have written down in these first exercises. That is to be expected.

A great film director was once asked what the most important quality for a leader was.

He responded that it was the ability to make an immediate decision.
It didn’t matter if it was right or wrong, that could be corrected, but once the crew sensed that decisiveness, they could relax into their jobs, knowing there was direction.

The same is true of our sub-conscious.
It is that crew waiting to be led and our will becomes the director.

What will these exercises do for you? They will create a direction.

Will your answers change? Probably.
Are they the perfect choices? Time will tell but they are a great start.

Here are some things you can do starting today with these exercises:

Daily Practice:
1) Choose the challenge that you wish to work on first.
Reflect on the obstacle that is in your way.
Choose three things you can do to “soften” the obstacle.
Decide to work on one aspect of this a day until you begin to see your indicator for success emerging.

Then move on to the next challenge.
It sometimes help to have an outside person work on this with you.
A mentor can often be very helpful.

2) Each night just before falling asleep, imagine your power place.
Live it as if it was happening to you right now.
Take in every feeling of it.
Decide to let yourself be open to things that happen during your day which bring you closer to making your power place a reality.

3) When you wake up, take a moment to reflect on one quality that your inspirational person has.

It could be one you have used before or a new one. Decide to implement that quality today.

4) Keep a journal.

The longest journey begins with a single step ……Lao-tzu

Delayed Gratification in the Entitlement Generation

Being a teenager is about living in the now. This is a double-edged sword.
We spend our whole lives trying to live in the now and give our teens grief for doing it way too much.
The main difference is that we have the experience and they have the conviction.

In the late 1960’s, a psychologist named Walter Mischel invented the “marshmallow task”. A four year old child would be asked to pick between a treat of marshmallows, cookies, or pretzel sticks. They were told that they could either eat one treat right away or, they could have two treats after the researcher returned in a few minutes. If they felt they couldn’t wait, they could eat one treat but would lose the bonus treat. Then the examiner left the room.

kid and marshmallow ourkids.netSome kids ate the treat the moment the researcher closed the door, others struggled to resist and ended up eating it within three minutes and about a third of them successfully delayed gratification until the researcher returned 15 minutes later. They found a way to resist temptation.

Revisiting with these subjects a decade later, time had shown that the low delayers (who ate the marshmallow immediately) tended to have all sorts of problems, from behavioral, social to lower S.A.T scores, while those who waited did better across the board.

It was not “will power” but the “strategic allocation of attention” that made all the difference. Mischel commented: “The patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek, or singing songs to themselves.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place. If you can deal with hot emotions, then you can study for the S.A.T. instead of watching television, and you can save more money for retirement. It’s not just about marshmallows.”

Studying people in grade 8, researchers found that the ability to delay gratification was a far better predictor of academic performance than I.Q. test. The study showed that “intelligence is really important, but it’s still not as important as self-control.”

Character matters for success. In the early years, parents should create rituals that help their children to delay on a daily basis. Encourage your child to wait and make waiting worthwhile. According to Mischel, even the simplest childhood routines such as not snacking before dinner, or saving up your allowance, or holding out until Christmas morning—are exercises in cognitive training: we’re teaching ourselves how to think so that we can outsmart our desires.

For teenagers, I have found that creating a daily routine which includes the following can be truly life-changing:

a) quieting the mind (meditation)

b) exercising (walking, yoga or playing a sport)

c) some sort of creative outlet (music, writing, dance, painting, etc.,)

d) keeping your workspace organized

Using these daily tasks as ways to give yourself rewards (video game time, texting with friends, some new internet site that has become the rage while I was writing this article) builds character. I have a client, let’s call him Ishmael and he has a dilemma. Ishmael, has an amazing new role playing video game (RPG) that will be coming out in December, during his end of term exams.

“The problem”, says Ishmael, “with an RPG is that it becomes difficult to take yourself back into the real world. It is good to have something immersive in your life but only if it’s done appropriately.

“I have some tools now that I put into place in my previous school term that I can call upon; (reward system vs procrastination) so I intend to do my schoolwork first and then get my video game reward breaks. To get to sleep at a reasonable time – I have a cut-off time”. There was a time when cut-off times were a hypothetical idea rather than a reality but now… Ishmael is able to honor his cut-off time by putting school “as my first priority”.

“You have to keep things in moderation. It’s ok for your thoughts to be of video games or magic cards as long as it doesn’t interfere with your daily stuff. You have to believe that finishing school is more important than finishing the game. I choose to find the middle path”.

I’ll leave you with Ishmael’s final thought which transcends the use of delayed gratification:
“Moderation in all things”. How very Zen!

Stress – A Good Thing or …Not?

What? Stress? A good thing?
I’m here to tell you… Stress is good!
It’s what you don’t do with it, that makes it bad.

As a very dear friend of mine often says:
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”

It’s easy to say, “well, they don’t know My stress”!
Whatever stress you are going through can be true major stress but how you go through it and whether it gives you any equivalent benefit, depends on what coping mechanisms you have been taught. But, of course, your were taught to deal with stress in school, weren’t you? 🙁

There is so much that I would love for people to be taught in school. How to deal with stress is a really big one. Here is some stripped down versions of things I teach my clients in our classes. It can also be found in my book “The Slacker’s Guide To Success”.

There are two secrets to dealing with stress.

Breathing and 2. Mindfulness.

Let’s start with breathing.
Next time you’re walking down a busy street, look at people’s heart/lung meridians. It’s the area between the shoulders (in front) above the nipples and below the neck.

When someone is really stressed you can see it as they walk down the street. They breathe shallowly. Which means all of their breath is happening in that heart/lung meridian area.

This is called distressed breath and it alerts your system to kick into fight or flight mode. Your adrenaline will increase. Your nostrils may flare. And “being chill” is not an option at this point.

Now, if you are in a quiet place, lie down, put your right hand just below your belly button and your left hand on your heart/lung meridian. Try taking a few deep breaths into your right hand (below your belly) without having your left hand (H/L Meridian) move.

This is deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing and gives your body the all-clear from danger. Allowing your system to begin to relax and work more efficiently.

2. Mindfulness. 
As you find yourself becoming stressed, notice where the stress is in your body. Be aware of your breath. Pay attention to the words you use to yourself.
Now choose to relax the breath. Try to relax the stress points and finally use words that are meaningful to yourself in calming yourself down. Getting this to work takes a Mentor but you can do a great deal of it on your own.

So how can stress be a great thing. It is a motivator to action. it is a power within ourselves to push beyond our comfort zone. Once you can control this power, with breath and mindfulness, it will become an ally in many situations: public speaking; pushing beyond what is comfortable in projects; and so much more.

How weird is it that the thing that seems to be our greatest foe holds the seeds to our greatest powers?

Anxiety – The Quiet Demon

4:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. My day off. I hear my cellphone (that I forgot to turn off during our family nap) make the sound it does when someone has left me a Skype text.

It’s Victor (not his real name). An amazing guy. Brilliant. Funny. Some coping issues and he is texting through Skype if he can talk to me. “Ken can I talk to you for a little later in the evening if you can I want to talk to someone about a fear and your the best person”.

I have worked on these sorts of things many times before but each time is unique. Every person’s anxiety is different. I pick up the phone and we talk.

Since he has been very young he has had this recurring fear. A fear that comes back several times each year. Sometimes an event can trigger it. Sometimes it just seems to happen. On those terror-filled days and sleepless nights, his parents are helpless to release their child from his terrors. They keep trying but nothing works.

We spent close to an hour on the phone. We had worked on breathing exercises in the past. We had also done some visualization exercises to help Victor focus his mind towards positive thoughts. We mixed those up with some simple talk about his fears. His concerns and how they felt in his body when they would begin to appear.

Speaking with someone new on this subject seemed to help him a bit and he asked if he could come in with his mom the next day and work on the issue.

On the next day I met with Victor one on one first. We worked on a breathing technique where he put one hand on his belly and another on his chest. I had him focus on having his belly move on the breath without having the chest move and to breath in on a count of five, hold the breath for a three count and then breath out on a count of five.

This had an immediate effect of letting him focus on something new. (There is more to the intake as to why I knew that diverting his attention would work).
We then added EFT (Emotional freedom technique). I don’t use this on a regular basis, but I really like the idea of having Victor doing tapping, focusing on breathing, and stating affirmations based on what he really wanted to focus on and had been avoiding.

All this brought him to a more relaxed state. At this point we brought in his mom and we determined that Victor should offer three things that his parents could do when he was anxious at night that would be helpful.

This avoided all the frustration on the parents part of trying different things that didn’t seem to work. It also avoided the frustration on victors part of feeling that his parents were diminishing his concerns.

We now have a short-term and long-term method of dealing with this and so far things are improving.

None of what I am saying in this article is meant to be anything other than a case study and to show parents and young adults going through anxiety that there are many ways to deal with these things.

New choices must be based on what works for the client. The big question is; are they visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. I find that a great deal of these people are kinesthetic and that is why something that they feel has to be used versus talk therapy to get them to change their “reality”.

I just want you to know that there are alternatives.

Help! My Teen Won’t Get Up Before 3 pm!

Help! A parent contacted me the other day concerning her recurring summer problem with her teenager. “I practically never see my teenager from June to September! They refuse to come to dinner, never speaks to us and they have wasted every summer since turning 13 with their friends; playing video games (doing who knows what else) and going to sleep when I am getting ready to go to work at seven in the morning! No amount of discussion will get them to change their ways”.

Just the facts, Ma’am: Researchers have recently discovered that while most adult’s melatonin levels (which help us fall asleep) start to be produced at 10 p.m., teenagers tend to begin producing the hormone at around 1 a.m. How much of this time difference is due to changing hormones and how much is due to the disruptive effect from the lights of computer monitors and TVs over-stimulating their minds? While the melatonin issue makes a good case for later start times in high school classes, it does not justify going to bed at seven in the morning.

Crisp or Mooshy. A teenage client of mine calls it the cereal effect. The less he would do during the summer, the more soggy his brain became making his September brain mooshy. The more he engaged in stimulating summer activities the more “crisp” his brain was when he hit the school season.

10 ways to a crisp brain for the new school term:

1. Three days a week (at around noon) some sports; weights, tai chi, ball hockey etc.
2. One day a week – (same time) a creative class; music; comedy class; writing; etc. (plus 15 minutes a day of unmonitored practice).
3. One day a week – personal power class; public speaking; sales technique etc;
4. One dinner a week – The teenager is in charge. They choose the meal and cook it as well. Help is welcomed but the teen is in charge. Same evening each week.
5. One topic a week – The teenager chooses the dinner-time discussion; any world event, idea or philosophy that interests them.
6. Weekends off! No time constraints from Friday night to Monday morning.
7. Space is the final frontier. Give them some.
8. Trips – they’re great! But give them one day off for every 3 days spent as a family.
9. Rethink the pod. Have them choose ways to change the look of their room that reflects the best of their positive interests.
10. 10 minutes a day – 5 days a week – some sort of mindful meditation.

You will end up with a teenager walking up around 11:00 am, five days a week, which, as most of you know, is pretty good for the summer.

One More Thing: 
Giving people the time to discover their own interests and to pursue them for self-growth is an opportunity that few people take the time to do “until they retire”. The best inspiration you can be to your teenager is to go after something that is personally rewarding for yourself. The more challenging, the better…… and let them see you sweat.

Time-Stealers: The Enemy of New Year’s Resolutions

The perfect New Year’s resolution — You found it! You made it! What could stop your desire to make it happen? What could challenge your resolve?

Now meet your greatest challenge. The time-stealer. He (or she) is fun, charming, great to be with, someone you are happy to do things with, gets all your jokes, just all around great to kill time with. Yes, the time-stealer is a time-killer. You never get it back and yet you value the time spent with them.

What is their name?

To read more, click here

Why Do Some Teens Never Seem To Achieve Their Goals?

Have you ever heard someone say this? “Stop crying, it’s nothing!” or “Don’t worry, it isn’t a big deal that you (fill in the blank).” Or “What are you upset about? It isn’t as if you (fill in the blank).”

What do these sayings, said over and over by well-meaning guardians, have to do with never achieving one’s goals? In trying to protect the youngest of people, we often diminish what they perceive as powerful moments. By telling them their emotions are meaningless, we create false epiphanies in them: “Well, if it’s nothing then I’ll show them! I’ll never succeed and they’ll be sorry.” These things are rarely said aloud except in moments of extreme angst, but they are often repeated over and over in our subconscious mind.

So, flash forward 12 years… Now that teen has these false epiphanies firmly ensconced in their noggin. What can they do?

To read more, go the Huffington Post article by clicking here

Sharing Your Old-Fashioned Passions With Your New-Aged Kids

 

What if you could future-proof your child?
Get him or her ready for a time when everything we know will have changed. Where practically all the jobs we now know of will be gone and will be replaced with jobs in fields we cannot even conceive of in today’s world. And what if I told you that this scenario may come to pass in the next 10 years?

Ever heard of nanotechnology?
How about molecular manufacturing, singularity in the 21st century or tipping points in the biosphere? They are real ideas right now. Some will become what they promise to become and others will fade away. You can be sure that something from left field will change the course of everything we know again… and again with regularity and greater frequency.

How do we inspire our children in such an ever changing, unknown world?

To read more click here

Ten Tips For Fostering Creativity In Your Children

If you are a parent today in the western world, you have joined a very special club. A club of parents cast adrift, drowning in self-doubt while dodging waves of pyscho-babble lurching at them from every direction. It’s easy to throw blame around but what is the main question we all want the answer? “How do I help my child unfold to be their very best in today’s world?”

10 Tips to Foster Creativity in Your Children

Encourage your kids to sign up and embrace something that they love. Whether it’s drumming, hip-hop or clown school — give them opportunities to go out, sign up, and then make sure to give them the time and space to choose to do the work required at home.

To read more click here

The Slacker’s Guide To Success Podcast – Introduction

So, you know you’re brilliant, your parents know you’re brilliant and your dog thinks you’re amazing! Why then are so many things not working in your life? The opening lines of Ken Rabow’s book: “The Slacker’s Guide to Success”. If you want to know the system of real life coaching, get the book!
But first… listen to Ken read the introduction right below.

Schizophrenia in Teens and Young Adults

Schizophrenia in Teens and Young Adults is often a kept secret by the families dealing with a young adult with Schizophrenia.

So many people feel shame when given a mental health diagnoses. I am here to tell you some of my most outstanding clients are young adults with mental health diagnoses. Mental Health diagnoses including Schizophrenia in teens and young adults.

Very often these young adults suffered in their early years with “voices” that they could control. At some point those voices became more and more challenging. What happens in a great deal of the people I see is that at some point, the young person couldn’t handle the voices anymore. They seek a way out and often chose to use some sorts of drugs to escape how they felt.

What happened then?

The voices had an effect they hadn’t expected. It disinhibited them and the “voices” had the upper hand. These young teens soon to be diagnosed with Schizophrenia had an “event”. They then ended up being hospitalized.

If they were lucky, they ended up with a great Psychiatrist who knew their meds. That psychiatrist took the time to find the right medications for this young person. For the first time in a long time, these young people feel that the voices no longer have a grip on them.

Voices? I don’t hear no voices!

One of my clients who had been through that whole process (we only work with people dealing with mental illness once things are stabilized) preferred we didn’t call it “voices”. He call it either controlled thought or uncontrolled thought. For him, Schizophrenia in teens and young adults was about control over these thoughts. They are still there but he has control now.

What then for Schizophrenia in Teens and Young Adults

The world is their oyster. Once they realize that we are not limited by labels, they are free to work with our Mentors for Young Adults and pick goals and long term things they wish to do. The have no limitations but we do find that we have to build up their abilities to work in the mainstream world more slowly and cautiously. Schizophrenia in teens and young adults is no longer a stop sign to success.

You are not your labels.

If find those given diagnoses with Schizophrenia in Teens and Young Adults incredibly compassionate and understanding of others with issues. They tend to have more patience to help others and the ones I have had the honor to work with are a credit to their communities.

If your child is in serious mental health crisis, please look into it immediately. This link is a good staring place. Click here.  When things are more settled, life coaching can be a great addition to a complete program.

 Check out Ken Rabow’s blogs on mentoring young adults. Click here

Know a young adult in need of mentoring? Click here

Interested in training to be a professional mentor for young adults? Click here.

Asperger Syndrome in Teens – Dealing with Rage and Anxiety

Asperger Syndrome in teens is often the perfect age for life coaching young adults with Autism.
Dealing with rage and anxiety can be truly surpassed in ways that neither the young person nor the family can imagine.

Case Study – Stephen – Aspergers Syndrome in Teens: Anger.
So, it was time for my Skype session with Stephen. Stephen prefers to call himself Autistic and before the DSMV, he would have been labeled Asperger’s Syndrome but if he was happy, I was happy. But right now, Stephen was not happy.

You would have thought he would have been. Instead of a Florida vacation, as a reward for doing great in school in marks, class participation and interactions, his mom had given him the dream vacation of his choice. 8 hours a day of D&D.

Situational Challenges of Asperger Syndrome in Teens:
Unbeknownst to Stephen’s mom, there was a kid in his group that Stephen called an “ass-hat” who constantly annoyed Stephen and another kid from the moment they got their until the moment they left. Furthermore, instead of the nice drive in Mom’s Audi, they were going home by subway. (Wait it gets better). The subway cars were stopped and everyone had to leave due to a jumper on the tracks. (Wait it gets better).

Now after waiting for the bus or the streetcar for 30 minutes, both come at the same time and they are full of p—–off people, lots of sounds, smells etc., Stephen and Mom get home one minute before the Skype session with me is about to start….

The Chat with Ken Rabow
Skype does its little Skyp-ee tune. Stephen is not on the screen. It is Stephen’s mom. Behind her is Stephen screaming: “I don’t want to do it! I’m f***ing fed up” (etc). (I have not heard what had gone on at this point.) Stephen’s mom says the we shouldn’t have the Skype session because Stephen is in his ‘out of control fit” phase.

(guess how it turned out)
to be continued soon!

Have questions? Contact Ken.

While you are waiting, Stephen and I put together an article which ended up in the Huffington Post about his issues with people trying to “make things easy” on people with Autism. Its a great read and got great response. You can read it by clicking here. If you like it please click “like” and share it.

Interested in mentoring young adults? Click here.

ADD/ADHD in Teens and Young Adults – The Easy Diagnosis

Why is it that’s diagnoses for ADHD have gone up by multiples of a 100 in the past two generations?
There’s no question that it is easier to medicate a problem then it is to change a way of thinking.

Before I go on to share an alternative treatment that I’ve used with great success on a lot of teens and young adults who have been told that they have ADHD, let me say that for a certain percentage of people, medication can have a profoundly transformative effect.

Here’s the odd thing; 9 out of 10 people who come to me, claim to have some form of ADHD. What I often find are creative, inquisitive, multi-tasking minds, bereft of discipline.

How do we help young people who have been trained through the use of Internet, online chatting, texting, video walk watching, done all at the same time while gaming to not focus and supposedly “Multitask” to learn to focus?

We first have to understand is that the human mind is incapable of multitasking. What we do is, in effect, jump back-and-forth from one area of interest to the other virtually training our minds to be deficient in a linear attention span.

We have a natural ability to focus on things that grab our attention. But there is a natural ebb and flow to that ability. Filmmakers have used this ability and played with it through the use of tension and resolution. Just watch an Indiana Jones film for the brilliant use of tension and resolution (the calming scenes and the high-energy scenes) for how the push between these two forces to keep our interest.

In this art is the key to our own ability to enhance our attention to anything for longer and longer periods.

A Case Study

First Contact Email:

Ken: hi there. I am (name withheld)’s partner and we spoke back in the summer about my son “J”. “J” is still struggling and he has said that he would meet with you. Unfortunately, he will only be home from late today until the morning of the 27th. Is there a day you could meet with him before Christmas and then if that works, continue with Skype sessions when he returns to Queen’s?

“J” did very well in high school, getting straight A’s but always had attention problems. When he reached grade 10 he started smoking pot and his marks went downhill from there. He suffers from low self-esteem and never seems to finish what he starts. He takes on too many projects and then gives up when the going gets tough.

Now in University, he keeps having to let go of courses to not fail them. He started with five courses and is now left with two, of which he is getting a C- average.

First Session:

“J” and I met and there was a good connection. I noticed that as long as I changed gears (in ideas and themes) every six to ten minutes, “J” was focused and completely “there” for every part of the discussion. When I showed this to “J” he was extremely pleased with himself as he had completely bought into his inability to keep his attention on any one thing.

We created a study regimen in three 5 to 15 minute sessions with 15 minute breaks in-between.

Six weeks (12 sessions) later
The study regimen is at four 5-30 minute sessions with 5-15 minute breaks in-between.
“J” is generally keeping to 25 minutes of solid focus and his tests are coming back in the high 70’s, low 80’s and one 87.5!

We have also used visualization exercises as a way of getting control of his thinking process. Staring with a seven minute mp3 used 4 times a week and progressing to 12 minutes a day.

Finally, “J” has minimized his coffee intake and his chocolate intake (of his own choosing). In his particular case, this has seemed to have a very positive effect.

Tips for Teen School Failures Transformations

For the students suffering Teen School Failures:

So, your coping strategy to avoid teen school failures is you’ve been hoping and buying into “the dream” that somehow, by keeping your science book under your pillow, it will all seep in. Or maybe, they will have some information on the Peloponnesian wars on the Family Guy marathon. How about, “I study best under pressure”? Or that tried and true classic “French is easy! All you have to do is sound like Inspector Clouseau when you say “duz yor dogue bat“? (“He’s not mah dogue“).

Well, we know how this ends up. You’ve received your mid-term marks, some of them squeaked by and some of them looked like you had a chimp take the exam (and not that clever one from Rise of the Planet of the Apes).

You have two choices to deal with teen school failures:

Plan A: Continue to see your school future flushing down the proverbial toilet and say (to whomever you choose to blame) “well, if you believed in me more I’d do better,” or make a new plan. Let’s try Plan B, shall we?

Plan B is about knowing your strengths, knowing your limitations and building on micro-successes. Successes so small most people won’t notice, and you will get the time you need to believe in yourself without being overwhelmed.

Let’s face it, if you’re in this pickle, you are facing teen school failures, your study habits are probably non-existent

and your parents’ expectations are something like: since you have so little time left you should be spending every waking and sleeping moment studying till you can’t stand it, then sit and study some more.

But you know and I know that faced with that option you’re sure that your head will actually explode (like that guy in Scanners) and if you could have done that (minus the exploding head part) you would have already done that. So, that ain’t happening.

Here is how to build a last-ditch effort to save your exams and create better possibilities for the following terms.

Five simple steps to change your exam destiny and avoid teen school failures:

1) Do something you can hold yourself to.
You may catch yourself saying things out loud that you know you will never do (“OK, I won’t work today but tomorrow I’ll do twice as much!”) Try figuring out what you can actually do; Maybe two one-hour sessions with a 10 or 15 minute break in between. When you are working on something and you start to be really annoyed by it, go do something else for a while and come back to the offending subject later. It will seem less annoying.

2) Push it.
It is important to come back to it. You are teaching your inner-self that you can go further without the head exploding type of incident. Try adding 10 per cent more time each day until you get to a study time that is just too much. Then go back to the previous day’s study time. (Basically 10 per cent less.)

3) Poke into your “comfy time.”
At this point, you have figured out when you will do your study time each day and I’m guessing the rest of your home time is made up of all the stuff that drives your parents nuts. (Because you aren’t spending every moment studying.) Let’s call this time your “comfy time.”

Just a little suggestion:

Somewhere in the middle of that time, go back and work on one task, taking up either five minutes of time or one problem. Then you can go back to comfy time. This may not seem like much to an outsider, but it has so many benefits for you. First of all, if you can do this (tell yourself that it really will take just a little time and don’t let your inner id-self take over) you are beginning to take control of your future higher-character traits. Second, some part of your brain will believe that it has to stay on guard brain-wise, and will keep all the new info in your noggin’ with a bit more clarity. Third, there are benefits that no one can explain to you until you have done it — but it really helps.

4) Push some more.
On a given day, ask yourself the following: will an extra half-hour of gaming change my life? Because an extra half-hour of studying can.

5) Do it for yourself.
You are the main one who will benefit from this process. Do it to feel better about you.

Now, for the parents,

here’s the hard part for you: it is so easy, as you see the exams coming around again and seeing your child about to make the same mistakes as last time, to freak out and try to strong-arm them into study submission. This never works. Never!

It might work one time but there can be no follow-through, and what will happen when you aren’t there anymore to strong-arm them? Show them these five steps and then (here’s the hard part) let them make their choices. Right here, they have the keys to make differences that won’t be stellar, but will be incremental, self-empowering and permanent.

One last thing to the students:

Your job in life is to rise above the people that came before you. It’s OK to do that. The best way is by challenging yourself and the easiest way to do that is in micro-movements of success. Pretty soon, it will be your standard equipment.

You can do it!

Know a young adult dealing with teen school failures in need of mentoring? Click here

 Check out Ken Rabow’s blogs on mentoring young adults. Click here

Interested in training to be a professional mentor for young adults? Click here.

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!

Learning Challenges: Where Is Your Child in the Race?

There they are. At the starting line. The starting pistol cracks. All the children rush off and your child is last. Starting slow, unsure of him/herself and you don’t know if they will even make it. To make matters worse, you see all the other kids doing well and you ask: “why?”.

There is something to be said for just finishing the race. Start there. Walk along side of them. Cheer them on. Help only when you should and let them fall, stumble, get back up and keep going.

I work with teens and young adults that many have given up on or have dismissed. Each and every one of them has the potential for greatness. It may be in a small way or in a very big way. it is not for us to decide. It is for them to decide. My work and our work is keep them in the race and let them find their own footing.

Have faith. A good pillow to scream into. And find someone who believes in them, will make them work, call them on their bulls**t, and champion them. Someone outside the people they see on a daily basis. Don’t let statistics throw you off. Don’t let labels make you conform. Find someone who sees your child for what they can become and encourages them to strive to be their best.

The people I work with who are labeled with learning challenges have soared, once they have learned to focus on their strengths and create coping systems to rise above their challenges.

Anyone can succeed with some patience, determination and the right mentor.
You are not meant to have to do it all alone.
Find someone who helps you create a support team for both you and your child.
You both deserve it!

Teen Anxiety – Fear of Fear Itself

Teen Anxiety: So many young people come to me these days with different levels of fears.

The effect of these fears range from stopping them from succeeding all the way up to almost complete debilitation. Teen anxiety is rampant.

Teen anxiety = Fear. These are some of the fears I come across in troubled teens and young adults on a regular basis:

Fear of failure;
Fear of humiliation;
Fear of large crowds;
Fear of sleeping alone;
Fear of learning to drive;
Fear of life itself and basically fear of seeking new adventures.

The clients who come to me with teen anxiety have tried all sorts of things to overcome these fears:

talk therapy, medication, CBT, hypnosis and all traditional and some non-traditional modalities.

My success rate in overcoming these fears is between 90 and 95%. It has very little to do with me or my process but it has everything to do with tapping into the inmate positive powers that rests within each and every person.

Daily Routines to overcome teen anxiety

I cannot deny that teaching some breathing techniques, some grounding techniques and some visualizations to create a “safe place” no matter where they are or what is happening is of great benefit, but the real transformation comes from taking whatever talents/strengths they have and starting a daily routine that involves doing the things that they have a connection to: (Writing, playing an instrument, dance, photography, Etc.).

Using something that they feel a connection to, we create a daily routine that helps them focus on the strength and power of doing something on a daily basis, rather than focusing on their fears. Each challenge is seen through the lens of how can we get back to their daily routine, free of judgment.

Rising Above Teen Anxiety

After a while, the client learns how to take any situation, analyze it and figure out a way through the challenges.

We then incorporate the strengths of current success to approach medium to minor fears, slowly building up the skills of: solid foundation, belief in oneself, good communication skills (Within and without), and “true grit”.

By focusing on what works, we teach these young people that you amplify what you focus on.

The fears are approached from every angle possible in their newfound confidence helps dissolve those fears.

 

Life Coaching Young Adults Failing School

Young Adults Failing School? Why are parents the last to know?!?

It arrives. The phone call you’ve been dreading. It’s your child’s (pick a subject) teacher, or the vice-principal and they’re calling to tell you that your child sucks and that you are a bad parent. It’s all your fault, not theirs, and what are you going to do about it? Why are so many talented, capable young adults  failing school?

They don’t actually say that, but isn’t that what you’re hearing in your head when you get the call?

If you got that call or note, you are in very good company. There are so many people in the exact same situation that it is scary. It’s not about you.  Not about your child. Nor is it about the school. It’s about finding a new way because the old way obviously isn’t working.

Now there are a few anomalies where what wasn’t working may still work, but something extraordinary has to happen (abducted by aliens, a shining light speaking to you, you go into a cave and see Darth Vader), but for most situations, that scary voice of your vice-principal in your head is on the right track… just the wrong solution.

Here are the seven steps to bring long-term results and avoid young adults failing school.

Step 1: Let go of expectations.

Telling your child that they have to start working 73 hours a day may seem like commons sense to you for failing school, but if it worked they would have done it already.

Step 2: Divide and conquer.

Have your child look at all their coming exams, write out the dates and times and include what will be covered on the test and highlight all the problem parts. Write down the number of how many days are left until that exam. You may be able to change the trajectory of failing school to passing.

Step 3: Pick a number.

They know they’re failing school. You know they’re failing school. Ask them realistically how much time they are willing to study on a daily basis. Anything from one and a half hours to two hours a day is a great starting point. Tell them they can choose one day of the week to not study at all and suggest that they really think about which day would be best as their break day.

Step 4: Less is more-or-less

OK. This is not about studying for the right amount of time. This is about giving up on thinking it’s hopeless and starting to take control. Creating a daily schedule and “owning it” for them. If they do 15-20 minutes of each subject, that is probably 15 minutes more then they would have done. They are off to a really good start.

Step 5: Be their cheerleader, not their jailer.
Ask them what they have done in their studies for the past few days, if they are willing to share it. If they missed something, do not react! Just ask if they have figured out how to deal with the lost time or was it just a way to learn to do better from now on. Let them be in charge. The idea here is to let them see what a bit of regular daily self-discipline can do and learn from the outcome.

Step 6: Lather, rinse, repeat.

At the end of the first week, suggest that you both sit down and look at the results of the past week’s study program. Ask them if they would like to share how they are feeling about what they have accomplished. Suggest that they increase their study time by a small factor and see how that feels. Let them write out the new schedule and let them go at it.

Step 7: Young Adults Failing School – Review.

If it is too late for this year, suggest that the next time they do the same process, they begin earlier and include a two week review time. If there is time this year for even one day of review, have them plan to get through all the work with one day of review. Try it even if it is just for one course, and see what it brings them. When kids are asked to offer their opinion in a genuine way, two things happen: they feel empowered and they usually rise up to the opportunity.  You may learn something really good about your child that you never knew before!

What you are building in them is the faith to put down their toys

(whatever they may be) for a bit of time each day and build a steady practice of self-growth with the idea that it may serve them well. This is difficult for some people and if you got that phone call or note, your child is probably part of that very large club. The club of young adults failing school.

It isn’t really about the marks, the tests or even young adults failing school.

it’s about building character and belief in one’s self through a daily practice. This work, when mirrored back as being worthwhile, will last a lifetime and continue to grow. Focus on the accomplishments even if the outcome sucks and you will have turned a struggling student into someone who can consider taking a chance on success.

May the non-nagging force be with you.

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Know of young adults failing school who are in need of mentoring? Click here

Want to read more Ken Rabow articles mentoring young adults? Click here

To contact Ken for a Free 15 Minute Consultation Click here
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Creating The Perfect Job and Being Richly Rewarded For It

Don’t let the picture fool you. It don’t grow on trees. But great ideas do. Throw out all the things you were told about what is practical. Get rid of all the doubts you have about messing up. It’s in the messing up, trying things out and “going for it” that you will find your perfect job.

You may end up working for someone but don’t rule out creating a whole new way to make money. How do you do that?
By not caring about the money.

This is what Apple CEO, Tim Cook had to say about the whole idea of being driven by passion versus “making the bucks”.

As a part of the question-and-answer period during Apple’s third quarter earnings call, Tim Cook was asked by Steve Milunovich of UBS about whether the company takes Wall Street into account when creating new products, or if Apple ignores fiscal metrics when creating things.
Cook challenged the idea of a dichotomy between focusing on products and focusing on revenues. His philosophy is that creating a strong product leads to fiscal growth, and that focusing on hitting financial targets rather than creating a solid product can end up backfiring.
“We start at the product because we believe that the most important thing is that the customers love the product and want them,” Cook said. Otherwise, you end up creating a product that the customer doesn’t want, and won’t sell well as a consequence.

How does this translate to you? Start with something you would love to see available in the world. A product, a service; an app etc., Make something that the person buying it would love and desire and the money will come.

Passion. Fearlessness. Commitment.
These are good things. Embrace them. Make that your job.

Preventing Self-Sabotage in Young Adults

Self-sabotage in young adults seems to be standard operating procedure these days.

Why are so many young people willing to self-sabotage every aspect of their potential future? Not participating in class, not doing the required studying, staying up late, sleeping most of the day away and missing more and more school. For quite a few, video gaming and/or substance abuse is another big factor. Self-sabotage in young adults is happening everywhere and it’s not from nature, it’s from all the things they see around themselves.

The most frustrating part of this is that these same people are very often gifted in some way and yet here they are ….. off the tracks.

Many teachers are doing great work in classrooms, helping all sorts of different learning styles but how can teachers know how to work with people who don’t show up to class, don’t submit their work completed and don’t seem to care? Living with self-sabotage in young adults is become the norm in classrooms everywhere and this creates a chasm between learning and fear of failure.

Could it be, that the keys to transforming self-sabotage in young adults are the same ones that have allowed mankind to thrive for millions of years?

Through evolution, we have been hard-wired to work as social tribes, offering our children the opportunity to learn from a wide range of elders.

Most young people today are able to thrive or at least get by in a nuclear or single parent family,

learning from their care-givers and finding other elders to learn from at school, sports, dance or music, etc. These young people grow through the ritual of daily tasks of homework, tests and projects. Graduation becomes their right of passage. But what if your child does not connect to such a system?

In dealing with self-sabotage in young adults you’ve tried it all;

traditional therapy, behavioral therapy, conditioned response, pharmaceuticals, begging, pleading, tough love and some of it worked for a while and some didn’t work at all.

It may seem hopeless sometimes, feeling that your child will never grow up and take responsibility but it has been my experience that some alternative approaches can make a world of difference. Once your child goes beyond their regular world filled with all the trappings that keep him/her where they are and finds a support system with a mentor who is non-judgmental, on their side and open to thinking “outside the box”, that child will become motivated to start the process of getting back on track.

Tips for transforming self-sabotage in young adults into success

1) Finding a professional Mentor for Young Adults

1) Find a mentor to work with your child, someone not from the immediate family, preferably at their office, on Skype or the phone and have the mentor ask the student these pertinent questions:
a) Are you happy with how things are going in your life?
b) Do you see your present way of being as a viable long term strategy?
c) If you could be doing anything with your life, what interests would you wish to take on?

2) Creating Daily Routines

2) The mentor and the student put together a daily routine based on the student’s interests i.e. Meditation; Yoga; Tai Chi; Weight Lifting; Biking; Jogging; Playing an Instrument (or singing); Reading; basically all the things we were told that have no real financial benefit. Start with two -twenty minute routines to be attempted 5 to 6 days a week. Slowly building up to as many routines that the student feels they can comfortably handle. (Five is a good final number) Make a weekly worksheet that divides the tasks into columns with room for the student to write the duration of each daily exercise (0-20). The goal of these exercises it to empower the student, these exercises are self-motivated without help from the family.

Meeting with your mentor twice a week for real change

3) Bi-weekly meetings discussing progress, looking at existing obstacles and exploring solutions to these obstacles in a non-judgmental way.

Creating Goals with Your Mentor

4) During these sessions the mentor asks: 
“If you could do anything at all with your life, without concern of how you would make it happen, what would you choose?”
With this answered (this can take some time) the mentor and the student go about finding ways to put their toes into the pond of these life purpose quests. It could be a 12 week workshop, a college class, a volunteer position or starting a small business. This time is used to help the student to bring his “daily work” training into these new situations and enhance his successful patterns accordingly.

I have heard many young people come to me stating that up until this time in their lives, their home has been their box of safety,

which they find wonderful and yet limiting… not a good long term strategy.
With this mentoring system, an important goal is to help these powerful people create the tools they need to feel safe going out into the world succesfully. Creating mini-boxes of safety for them to thrive in. Places where they can learn to be self-empowered. Without exception, students who go through the entire process choose self-empowerment over self-sabotage. They not only succeed but most often become examples of leadership in their chosen vocation.

Help your child go from self-sabotage in young adults to finding their inspiration and getting on track for a successful life.

Know a Millennial in need of mentoring? Click Here

Interested in training to be a professional mentor for young adults? Click here.

Check out Ken Rabow’s blogs on mentoring young adults. Click here

Video Game Addiction in Young Adults

Video game addiction;
Help! My kids eyes are glued to the screen! Well, if they really are glued to the screen, their sibling probably got crazy glue for the holidays. But, more than likely, they just disappeared into their rooms, coming out only occasionally, bleary-eyed, to grab some food and then return back to their cave. Welcome to the wonderful world of video game addiction.

How bad is incessant video game addiction?
I think it’s all about duration and intensity. When combined with multi-tasking (texting, BBMing, Facebooking, or watching a movie at the same time), I believe your child’s noggin is being trained to be three miles wide and one inch deep.

What do we do about video game addiction in young adults?
One of my clients calls it the cereal factor. He has noticed that during school time, his brain is crispy like new cereal that is ready to eat (mmmm, cereal). But when break time comes, the brain ends up looking and acting like cereal that has been in the milk or soy-based substitute way too long. We get mushy brain.

The holidays are one thing, now it’s school time!
In a previous article, I did make some suggestions on how to get your kids through the holidays mush-free (click here to see it), but now they are back in school and every moment that they are not at school, they are at their video games.

How do you approach this?
Find a mentor for young adults!
It could be a music teacher, it could be a neighbour, it could be a professional life coach for young adults (that’s what I do most of the week), but it should not be the child’s parent. Insight rarely comes easily from someone too close.

Seven steps for coming unglued from video game addiction.

1) Have the mentor help your teen look at their weekly schedule of classes.
2) Break it down with a scheduler (iCal or Google Calendar are good) and write out their whole week, including start and stop times for classes, transportation time, outside commitments (hockey, music lessons, etc.) and social time.
3) Include the amount of time (including start and stop times) presently spent doing homework.
4) Ask your teen to estimate the amount of time required for home study on each subject. Then ask what the teacher’s recommendation is and take both and meet them halfway.
5) Look at sleep prep time, sleep time (approximate) and waking time and include this as part of the schedule.
6) Take a look at the free time available for gaming. (It’s never enough, is it?)

The tricky part:
help determine how much increased time will be spent on school work and have the teen commit to it. This can be done one of three ways:

a) A weekly report in a chart where the student writes the daily work and the duration of practice.
b) A daily email to the mentor giving the same details
c) Texts after each section in a day is completed. E.g.: jst did 40 min math — my brain hurts ☹

The Result:
If your young adult really wants to do well, this should be enough to help them start to take control of the scheduling and get back on track. If not, when the first tests come in, go over the whole system and ask the young adult to figure out where they could have done more work or study more efficiently. Then implement step seven in reverse; going from c to b to a when appropriate.

The allure:
Video games have a magical quality to them. There is some good in them, no matter what you read about them and it probably will become a big part of most people’s future. We do want to live in the real world, however. Having gentle limits that are guided, but ultimately come from the teen, are the ones that will help them when they are out on their own.

A recent study found that older men were actually playing more video games then their younger counterparts.
Moderation and self-limits, these are the keys.

Now where’s my Angry Birds app?

Interested in mentoring young adults? Click here.

If your child is in serious mental health crisis, please look into it immediately. This link is a good staring place. Click here. When things are more settled, life coaching can be a great addition to a complete program.

Young Adults Failing at Life

How many incredibly talented young adults have we known who never seemed to get out of the starting gate  

Or  young adults who start new things brilliantly but never “go the distance”? Basically smart young adults failing at life.

The majority of the clients I work with on a weekly basis are young adults failing at life. They are clever, well spoken, considerate and fun to be around. They also really know how to play any system put in front of them and yet, here they are in my office through Skype, wanting to find a new way. This is a great starting point in their self-growth. At this point, I tell them they have a condition. Their ears practically perk up in alarm. I tell them they have “Norman Jean Syndrome”.

When people reflect on one of the 20th century’s most electric movie stars,

Marilyn Monroe, most focus on all of the things she had. She had fame, money, public adoration, success in the movie business, as well as people who cared for her. Yet each time she would have to leave her trailer to film another scene she would be paralyzed with fear.

She worked hard to be where she was but what she was most admired for was her looks and the way she “sparkled”. To her, these were things that had come easily. Things that come easy are often discounted by us as being without value. When people praise these easily obtained things, we end up feeling like imposters because no real work was done to achieve that praise.

But that praise is addictive, especially to young adults failing at life.

These young adults failing at life are constantly lapping up the easily won praise, shunning the hard work that would have to follow. Going from one project to the next, from one mentor to the next, drinking from the cup of quick praise and then running from the bitter taste of  “going the distance”. This becomes a way of being.
And so it was for Norman Jean, Marilyn Monroe’s real name and probably the person hiding in Marilyn’s trailer.

Norma Jean Syndrome is essentially the feeling many naturally talented people have when they are praised for their facility at doing new things. It feels so good that they end up staying in that “start-up state”. The fear of having to prove themselves and of being an impostor begins to rule their decisions. They end up living their lives in their own version of a trailer; their room, their home or their addictions.
At some point, these people must seek out someone who understands this phenomenon and can give them what they need to rise above the formidable walls of their trailers of safety.

It is the simplest of tasks to begin. 

Start with a daily set of exercises that are generative, something that adds to the quality of your life. It could be meditation, reading inspiring stories, walking, painting, music, sculpting or anything that would enrich your life. I suggest starting with three different daily tasks and working your way to five.

By working on these exercises daily and seeing what obstacles stop you from working on them, you will find ways to carry on. Then you will begin to have control of a part of your life that is there just for you, free from outside feedback. You will have gone through a side wall in that trailer and out to a less threatening world, free of fear.

It is these exercises that will liberate young adults failing at life.

Warning! Be on guard. A million “reasons” why you shouldn’t do them will come to you: “What’s the point?” “I want to be doing my life’s work now!” “This isn’t the real world!”  “What! Futurama’s on?” Your job is to put aside these reasons and do your daily work and slowly over a matter of weeks you will find your power. Within a matter of months, you will find your path and within a year you will begin your success.
Should you end up running away, remember, you can always start again.

No one ever said it would be easy but you will slowly get what you wanted and it will work out.

Interested in mentoring young adults who are failing at life? click here
For people with serious mental health issues, please check click here

How Do I Control My Teen’s Anger Issues?

So many parents and teens find themselves in constant conflict these days.

One of the first questions I get on a regular basis is how do I control my teen’s anger issues? Anger is a huge issue these days. Is it more than other generations? That’s really not the issue if you are around a child who has major anger issues.

As in most things, anger issues are multi-factorial.

Any one, two or three things may push it up the heat thermometer, but it is the aggregate of 7’s, 8’s and more that bring you into the sphere of danger.

So how do we go from: “No! You’re not listening to me!!!” (for the one hundredth time) to smashed walls, tv’s or worse?

It is all about communication. If neither side feels like they are getting their message across and both sides feels they know what the other is going to say and you’ve heard it all before, then you are in a mobius loop of mood. Your teen’s anger issues just seem to increase.

Four Steps for changing the dynamics from anger to communication and having a (sometimes) harmonious home:

Replacing your teen’s anger issues with better communication.

Take turns being the listener or the speaker. Whichever you begin with, do the whole process before changing sides.

1) Listen without interruption. Listen with intention. Avoid any non-verbal cues that are anything but supportive. Your goal is to hear the speaker as if you have never heard them before or know their history.

2) Repeat back what you have heard in your own words. Do not add commentary. Ask if what you heard is correct and let the speaker correct or change as they choose and repeat back again their changes.

3) Empathize on how they feel. This is not about right or wrong. This is about hearing them and their point of view. The truth is, the gap between parents and children has never been greater thanks to the breakneck pace of change the world has entered.

4) Validate. Let them know how it makes sense how they would feel like they do coming from their state of mind.

Implementing the process of transforming teen anger issues:

This process should take place in an unregular place (like a basement couch, some chairs in the hallway; some place that you guys have never, ever yelled in.
This process should be tried in calmer times, not when the proverbial poop hits the fan.
Expect it to take around 12 weeks to build the mutual listening skills.
Once it has taken hold, you can try a time out in a heated moment to try the system and if at first it doesn’t succeed, keep trying.

One final note (in case you hadn’t guessed)… in regards to this column’s title: you can’t control your teens anything but you can inspire them to communicate by letting both sides be open to listening.

Ken Rabow’s Update: Dec 2017.

Well. Teen’s anger issues are still in the top five concerns of the parents we meet with for mentoring young adults.
The good news is that good communication, having all parties let go of the triggers and allowing a third part (your Mentor) to help rebuild healthy ways for the whole family to work together truly ward of young adults and teen’s anger issues. Do they disappear. Probably… when they have kids of their own 🙂
But your teen’s anger issues will seem like a distant memory and good communication will be the order of the day.

Interested in more articles about good communication and eliminating your teen’s anger issues? Click here

Young Adults Wondering why bother?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many young adults wondering why bother? So many young adults have given up. Too many parental promises: “Try this! It is guaranteed to work!” (It doesn’t…again) . No one would be surprised that you have given up hope.

Although there’s a chance that you are here at this site because one of your friends told you about it, the safer bet is that your parents suggested you check it out.
Either way is OK with me.
I have something to share with you.
I have seen for myself with countless clients, that no matter how messed up your life has been, no matter how many “issues” issues you may have had, you can change your life for the better starting right now.
(sounds like one of those detergent commercials on TV, eh?)

Experience has show me that: it’s the people who don’t quite “fit in” who have the best chance of starting new and really making it work, once they find a system that is made just for them. That is when they begin to stop saying why bother.

The problem with a lot of systems is that they are forced upon people, they work for people who are “straight ahead”, but if you are at all a bit ”out there”, those systems may not really speak to you.

So, how does the system work?
The system is fairly simple, in itself, and I will explain in a minute, but what makes it special is what we bring along with it, or really, what we don’t bring along with it.

We don’t bring along your “history”. We don’t bring along your mess ups. I had one parent spend an hour telling me all the things that her kid did wrong. When I finally found a space to speak, I asked the parent “what are the things your child does well?”

The parent was very happy to go onto this entirely new tangent of all the really cool things that her child did. They were awesome things and I knew that I could work with that.
If you have even one thing that speaks to you; you love music; you love animals or little kids; you’re funny; you love the arts; (fill in your thing here); then mentoring young adults can work with you and we can do something great!

So now, back to how the system works 🙂

You pick three goals that you would like to work on.
Feel free to make up your own that make more sense to you but for the moment:
Let’s use one from one of my most recent clients;

Client: Skeeter Peterson
What are three goals you would like to work on:
Stop sucking at school.
Do something about the amount of weed I smoke.
Have my parents yell at me less.

You might find Skeeter’s goal choices a little weird, or they make make complete sense to you. Your choices would be based on you.

Once we’ve made those goal choices, we look at what are the challenges to making those goals work.

Finally, we ask you what would be a first indicator of success. Nothing huge. Nothing magic. Simple first signs of victory. Once you can choose or imagine first sign-posts of success, you no longer will be that young adult wondering “why bother”. You will become a young adult ready to investigate ways to learn, grow and develop as part of a team. Your mentor and you with you in control.

What you find out is, a great mentor doesn’t really care if you mess up working on your goals or not. We care about figuring out why you you met one are all of your goals one day and not the next. If we can figure out what inspires you (it could be the weirdest things that might not make sense to anyone else but you), then you learn how you best work and how to inspire yourself with things that will make sense to you.

So now, back to the first question; why bother?
Why not? 🙂

But seriously, if you tried everything else and you’re not happy with how your life is, you really have nothing to lose. So why not bother. Or just say “bleep it”. Try it and see what happens. No expectations. No pressure. But a chance that this may be the thing for you.

There you have it. It’s a little different. But it really works.
Please feel free to email me any questions you may have.

Thanks for reading!

Ken Rabow 2017 update. I think I should mention that after you have chosen your goals, identified your challenges and picked sign-posts of success, the next part of mentoring young adults is creating a daily routine. “You can only do in your life what you can do in a day”. There are so many reasons why it is hard to get the “good things” into your daily routine. An experienced mentor will know how to let you live your life and still succeed in going towards your goals with a few things each day.