You Haven’t Failed If You Are Still Trying: Teens Failing School

As a life coach / Mentor for teens failing at school, young adults and their families,
a great deal of my work is with teens failing school. Teenagers in jeopardy of completely failing their school year or Millenials now living at home, playing video games all day, who have given up on life after failing and dropping out of University. So maybe it’s best to say that me and the Mentors I train are turn-your-life-around coaches.

Each time we meet with parents, there is an unspoken question in each of their minds, followed by what I imagine is an even harsher version of inner self-flagellation and screaming in their minds: “I am a bad parent!” The truth is: If you are still trying, even if your child’s life seems down the crapper, you are a good parent. Bad parents are those who have given up and accepted failure for their child.

You are a good parent – you’re here to help!
Every person is a person with potential, many of those young adults whose talents do not catch on fire from the standard models can do great things in life. No therapy; micro-managing; freedom or meditative chanting: “go do your work!… go do your work!! …. go do your work!!!” will help.

You have done your work. Loved them, nurtured them and allowed them the space to find their own path and guess what? Many of our most inspirational leaders were exactly these kinds of people; Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and many more. I wonder how their parents felt in the rocky school years.

What should you do for the young adults for whom counseling did not work? How will this help teens failing school?
In fact, what these young adults need is someone outside their circle of friends and family to create a safe space for them to stop their whole world twice a week, help them take a deep breath, exhale their fears and self-doubts and look at where they are in their lives. Getting them to ask themselves if they are truly ready to make meaningful changes in their lives one micro-success at a time. It rarely works with people too close to them. Think of all the people we have always had around us in tribes and families throughout time. These were the Mentors. We have lost those mentors for the most part but there is a new solution: Professional Mentors. Instead of going down to the village hut, you bring the Mentor to the young adult through Skype on their computer, changing the place they run away from the world, which is why we have so many teens failing school, to a place they go to for personal growth.

It is proven over and over without a shadow of a doubt that so many of the parents have done great parenting once these young people show that they are now ready to consider empowering themselves in some positive, but alternative way. Just by considering it, their lives are put on a better path. Once you have found that good mentor for your child, make sure that, with your permission, they contact your child allowing a greater likelihood of your child considering it. You child has heard too many parental promises of the perfect, guaranteed “fixes” that have just led to the opposite of success. (Who is to blame?)

The path of teens failing school are not carved in stone,
it is carved in silicone. Their greatness lies in the fact that although they live in the on-line world of the Internet, they are so much more than that. Their minds are open to so many possibilities and it is the older generation’s duty to teach them how to interact and translate their on-line greatness in to the “real world”. This is the job of professional Mentors.

Once the Mentor and client start to choose goals towards their growth, they begin a bouncy path, two steps forward, one step bong until that young adult is ready to find the keys towards success; at school, at family; at life.
Suddenly, teens failing school becomes the first step towards a better way.

Not everything is supposed to be done inside the family unit. It’s OK.
Let me share with you a Rollo May quote:

Tell the child,
“Look, I love you, I believe in you.
I know you are going through a lot of upset the only thing that counts
is that in the long run, you find out who you are and you live it.”

Here is my challenge to you: Go find a mentor who will heal the family dynamic, and like the pied piper, play a tune that inspires the child and unlike the pied piper creates greatness in the child and harmony in the family. It can be done. Just believe and if you believe… you are on a new and better path.

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

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

Teen Mentoring Programs: Volunteer!

If you ask a Millennial what they want to do this summer, most teens and young adults really want to see summer as a time to play the most video games, go to sleep just before the sun is up and possible smoke their brains out. Can you blame them?  The idea of teen mentoring programs such as life coaching young adults seems unnecessary. But what about those dealing with school failure, bad sleep habits, pot addiction, low self-esteem, anger issues and more?

How do we inspire young adults to make wise choices for the summer?

I have always found that when given proper motivation and a true understanding of the benefits, most young adults will choose the best things to help themselves grow. “Because I said so” rarely works and never helps in a long-lasting way. In our teen mentoring programs we promote new ways for young adults to seek personal growth.

What if it is too late to find a job?

The two places to look are jobs and volunteering in an area that interests them. Teen mentoring programs like our for mentoring young adults is a great way to help encourage teens to grow and challenge themselves.
If your focus is that summer can become a time that could change your child’s future job prospects in an ever-changing world versus keeping them busy to not get into trouble, you have started on a good path.

Our new summer goal in Teen Mentoring Programs: Widen your child’s horizon.

The more a young adult in today’s world widens their horizons, the richer their lives become and the greater their potential for a good living becoms. Summer is the perfect opportunity for this through the experience of volunteering. Lots of young adults bristled when I use the word “volunteer” seeing it as merely “working for nothing” (i.e. where’s the money?!?!). Our program which mentors young adults is a great example of teen mentoring programs built to encourage new ways to look at summer volunteering.

Here is a different way to view volunteer work:

In our work mentoring young adults, our teen mentoring programs focus on ways to get new experience:

Try and get a job without experience or training at the zoo and you will probably end up scraping bird-poop off the glass enclosures. Volunteer at the zoo and you may have a chance to be up close and personal with the animals. Learning things few people get a chance to learn.

This is where one of my most favorite books comes into play: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I still read this book once a year and have found it
training Millenials to use the Carnegie principals immensely useful in getting my clients through many a closed doors and getting them the volunteer positions they wanted. Read this book!

Picking the proper area to volunteer in is a fairly easy exercise once you know how.

As Joseph Campbell said: “Follow your bliss”.

First choice should be something you know tons about just because you love it; animals, reptiles, stamp collecting, rock climbing, motorcycle repair, gardening … whatever you love; if you know all about it, take advantage of that knowledge to volunteer with people who do it for a living and see your passion through a professional’s eyes.

Second choice could be something you were always curious about. If you have great people skills or sales skills or are good with your hands, there are all sorts of organizations that can use those skills over the summer in a volunteer position.

Saving the best for last:

Most noteworthy: Work with a local community political cause you really believe in. We got Brexit and Trump because Millennials were not engaged and felt un-empowered. You are not. You are the future. Consider volunteering also at a pet shelter, a homeless shelter, a food shelter, a summer camp for at-risk youth or one of the many organizations that help third world countries. Your life will never be the same.

Volunteering: Widening your circle of knowledge and people. Learn how different people who are passionate about their lives work. Making a difference in the world. These “summer experiences” are the beginning of becoming a renaissance person in the 21st century. There is no price that can be put on that.

Interested in more articles on mentoring young adults? Click here.

Know someone in need of mentoring? Click here

Know someone interested in being trained to mentor young adults? Click here

Top 10 Best and Worst Father’s Day Gifts for Dad from his Teenager

Ah, Father’s day!

The smell of pig-skin, power tools and sawdust wafts through the air mixed with the beaded Dad-sweat of uncertainty. What shall the Father’s day “gift” be this year? Should I practice smiling in the mirror?  Will I need shots or is their a pleasant surprise waiting for me today?
Here are some things Dad may want to ponder, just to be prepared.

10 Worst Father’s Day Gifts

10: Socks.

9 A paisley tie.

8 A papier-mâché ashtray made up of forged absentee notes.

7 Borrowing dad’s car to get the gift … a coupon from Brian’s dent and
fender repair shop

6 Dollar store aftershave that seems to attract raccoons.

5 A raccoon named “frothy”.

4 Second hand bowling shoes with the name “Bubba” stenciled on.

3 A mug saying “World’s 2nd Best Dad!”

2 Waking up to a gift wrapped carpenter ant farm
– in a broken case.

The number one worst gift for dad from his teenager:

A certificate saying “Worlds’ Greatest Dad” – stuck in your printer.

10 Best Father’s Day Gifts

10: Spending time with dad
(lying in front of the TV with headphones on while texting doesn’t count)

9: Acting Happy for a day – 24 hours mood-free!

8: Two words – Cordless Power Tools

7: Sit and have a conversation with Dad
that doesn’t start with “I need” or “I broke”.

6 Having friends over who aren’t named for their felonies.

5 Hugs all day long – (even when it gets annoying).

4 A promise to be home on time for a month… no, seriously.

3 Breakfast together.

2 A can of ant spray (see worst gift #2)

The number one best gift for dad from his teenager:

Anything they make for you.
Some food, a card, a song and its always perfect!

Active Listening with a Millennial and a Gen Ex-er

Here is a recipe to completely turn around the next year in communication between your teen and yourself:

The Challenge:

You know what your teenager is going to say. Your teenager knows what you are going to say. Before anyone says anything both sides are ready for the post-yelling repercussions.

Here’s a Father’s day suggestion:
Pretend!

Pretend you have no idea what the other is going to say.

Then what?

One person is the listener and the other the speaker for 5 minutes, then switch roles. The listener asks one of the following questions:
Why are you here?
What makes you happy?
What would you like to see changed in the world?

Here’s the tricky part, the listener should do the following;
Do not comment or add to the listener’s story, do not give any verbal cues (mmm, ah, oh!) and don’t give any visual cues. Simply take in the speaker with love and acceptance.

Each speaker gets approximately 5 minutes to speak.
Please email me and let me know how it worked. ken@wwym.org

Happy Father’s day to all the dads, all the teenagers and the Moms who put up with them!

Thanks to all the people who inspired this list!