Firstly, let me say thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your precious child. My promise to you is that I will take the very best care of them during our sessions, and will respect them and work with them how I would expect someone to work with my own children. I have three teenagers, a twenty-one year old step daughter and a younger son.
When I was a teenager, I made a lot of poor choices that led onto more poor choices. I don’t advertise this to the teenagers I work with, but there is a reason I am sharing this with you. I lost my way as a teenager. Completely. There were many reasons why, but the main consistency I felt throughout my teenage years, was being unloved, unheard, and misunderstood. My family and teachers all tried to reassure me, but now as an adult, I see how imbalanced words and actions can be, without even realising or intending it.
As children (even teenagers) it’s difficult to understand that our parents are in fact human beings with their own world of issues, worries, life to contend with. Similarly, as parents it’s difficult to understand how our children don’t see or can’t empathise with this, but it is this very miscommunication and misunderstanding that leads to the feelings of being unloved, unappreciated, and unheard, oftentimes by both parties. The difficulty is we, as adults, can or have learned to empathise with our children, however they are still figuring out many emotional boundaries and roadblocks they have never had to contend with before, including but not limited to their relationship and understanding with their parents. It is unlikely they will see the caring or protective nature as their parent firmly guides them. Instead, they see themselves as having fun, or exploring the world and there is someone simply trying to ruin that for them.
As their parent it is easy to feel confused by this – surely they know you love them and would do anything for them? But why would they? They haven’t become a parent yet and therefore don’t understand the love a parent has for their child. They understand a kind of love, as a child to a parent, but that in itself is a different love. Children also have a natural feeling of being entitiled regarding love, they believe they deserve it (rightly so), but they can often feel the parent doesn’t. (The phrase “I didn’t ask to be born” wasn’t plucked from thin air).
I ignored my teenage inner cries for help. I attempted suicide at 14 and I tried and tested almost everything after that – am I proud to tell you that? Not at all! I spent years punishing myself for the mistakes I made and still continue to feel a little embarrassed by some of my poor choices back then, but I have since spent decades understanding and harnessing what my inner teen needed, attention, love and listening to. It is something as a parent myself, I know would be extremely hard to hear, but should be understood – no matter what you say your teen feels you have an ulterior motive when you try to encourage them to make better choices. They feel you’re judging them, and each time you try to make it better it is like that old saying about digging a hole – it simply gets deeper and deeper, and you get further and further away from reconnecting with your teen.
How do I make things better for you and your teen? I am the unbiased, non-judgemental ear for them to bend, shoulder to cry on, and I help them to understand and see the responsibility and consequence behind each choice. I show them how respect is a two-way street, and that if they are being misunderstood, we work on their delivery (or you may better know this as their attitude).
Next, is the hard part – doing the same with the parents! It is the hardest thing in the world to feel like you can’t be everything to the one person that means everything to you, I know I have four of my own children who I have come to realise I cannot help in the same way I offer to others. Why? Because no matter how hard I try, I will always be biased. I will always want what is best for them and because I know them so well and love them more than anyone ever could, I think I know what is best for them. I will always be in denial that they would make mistakes. I also know I would never consciously do anything to hurt my babies, but sometimes unintentionally I say or do something they take a different way than intended, and I have offended them. I wish I had someone to tell my children, without being on either side, how it was really intended to come across. That someone for you, is me.
Why have I chosen to coach teens and their parents? If I could go back and do things differently, I may not, but I do wish I had the guiding hand of someone that was unbiased about my actions, non-judgemental to help guide me or advise me of the choices I wanted to or was about to make. If I can help reconnect families in the way I wished my family could have connected to me, I feel I am fulfilling my purpose, and all of the pain and trauma I suffered would have been meaningful in some way.
I believe my purpose in life is to help teenagers that feel a little (or a lot) lost, to find their way back to their roots, their home, their family. And I know that by helping them in a way that would have helped me will change their life as well as improve relations with their family members.
From the offset I would like to establish and set boundaries with everyone I work with and whilst I have great, professional relationships with all of the family’s I work with I like everyone to know where they stand from the start. If a parent is seeking coaching sessions about how to understand or communicate with their teenager, without any involvement with the teenager, the parent is my client. If the parent has sought me to help coach their child, the child becomes my client, and the parent is the sponsor. Therefore, whilst I always work closely with the family as a whole, my responsibility of service is with the best interests of the client.
My role as a teen life coach does not mean that I will instil a set of beliefs or instruct them to follow orders that I don’t believe are beneficial to their own development. Ultimately, they are my client and I have their best interests at heart, therefore my aim is to help them understand and take ownership of their own responsibilities, consequences of choices or actions and so on. If at any time I feel a parent is trying to instruct a biased objective that goes against the free will or best interests of their child (my client) I will discuss this with the parent first to explain how this goes against my working ethics and then I may help coach the parent on ways they could best approach the situation instead.
I have a 100% success rate at helping parents reconnect with their teenagers, have a deeper understanding of one another and a mutually respectful, improved, loving relationship.
I really look forward to working with your family.