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

Life Coaching Young Adults: Creating Communication

As someone who trains Boomers and Gen X’ers in the art of life coaching young adults,

I often find that the best examples to explain my work to those wanting to know the secrets of working with Millennials, comes from my own personal practice life coaching young adults. Today’s topic is: Mentoring Young Adults: Helping Parents and Teens Communicate or How to I Learned to Stop Screaming.

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

Want to get your child to not do something? 

Tell them you think it’s important!

Want to get a parent to nix an idea?

Have their child tell them that they think it’s a great idea!

How did it come to this?
How do we change it?
(You know what I am going to say… don’t you?)

Change comes from outside the family unit… through a professional Mentor/Life Coach.

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

The 7 Steps to Transforming Miscommunication into Co-creation using life coaching for young adults.

Step 1: Parent identifies issues:

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

Step 2: Mentor meets with client

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

Step 3: Parents are freed from having to play “cop”.

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

Step 4: Poop hits the fan.

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

Step 5: The parent confession:

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

Step 6: The client confession:

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

Step 7: A new way of communication

The goal of life coaching young adults is create new ways of communication  for clients and parents. “Open Listening”. First the Mentor trains the client in the system. We practice on friends or family members willing to try new things. Finally we show the family how to use it during confrontations. Would you like to know how open listening works?

What is co-creation?

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

Interested in life coaching young adults professionally   Check out www.MentorsProfessionalWorkshop.com

Know a young adult in need of life coaching? Check out www.MentoringYoungAdults.com

Mental Illness in Young Adults – The Lesson

Do you know where you were when you heard that Robin Williams had died?

I do. I felt like I had lost a family friend. Back in the day when TV meant something, Robin was a breath of fresh air, even on Happy Days.

Mental illness in young adults affects so many families and yet so few feel safe talking about it.

He even made the Fonz look cooler. Then there was Mork and Mindy. His Johnny Carson appearances, including being one of the last two guests to be on Carson’s show.

Robin’s love of Jonathan Winters helped a whole new generation learn about a brilliant, improvisational comedian who had a great influence on Robin. From The World According to Garp, The Fisher King, Good Morning Vietnam to Aladdin, Robin grew and brought us along with him with kindness, humility and a never-ending well of creativity.

Then one of my troubled teen’s parents said to me:

“You know, Robin seemed a lot like your clients” and it hit me. He did seem a lot like my clients. Creative people. Sensitive people. People struggling with life. Some with Aspergers. Some with Bipolar or other mental health issues but they had one advantage that Robin did not (I really wasn’t going to say me, please)… they had not learned how to succeed in life. They were stuck and nothing before our work had worked. The work which did help them was being mentored to use their talents to rise above their challenges. To have a mentor that could discuss their private fears free of the “real world”, friends and family. That is sorely needed when dealing with mental illness in young adults; an impartial ear.

Of course, this made me happy and hopeful for my clients but very, very sad for my lost family friend. Robin. Through his successes, his genius, his drive to push himself into new territories, Robing played the old magician’s trick of misdirection. We were looking at the wrong hand while the other was suffering.

There are three things I will take away from this.

1) Those who can should decide right now to mentor our troubled Millenials. Millenials with addictions, those with anxiety, those with mental illness and those with learning challenges.

2) We must be ever-vigilant to also mentor the Millenials who seem to be successful but underneath the surface are also suffering. Those with the same issues and more who are good at misdirection

3) In a world filled with divisions, hatred, war, gatherings of people wishing to cut off the head of democracy, we must counter that with love for all people, find those young adults who might fall under the thrall of hatred and calls to war and help these Millenials to find how to be great from their powers of kindness, grace and charity. Honor the differences. Mental illness in young adults is not the end, it’s a call to action to help find their greatness beyond the labels.

Here is what I promise to do.

To help mentor young adults with mental illness, I intend to train 1000 mentors by the year 2020, to help young people, focusing on young adults in inner cities and underdeveloped nations to offer the three things I have just mentioned. This I so vow.

Interested in mentoring young adults with mental illness? 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.