When I was growing up, I had a fairly large community of people involved in raising me and my two siblings. My parents both owned businesses and worked long hours, so my grandmother moved in with us to help out, and we often had an uncle or two crashing with us as well. My other family members all lived within 5 miles of us and we were very close with the members of our church community. We also knew our neighbors well and occasionally they’d babysit or just have us over for the heck of it.
Today it’s much rarer that extended family are in close proximity and involved in the day-to-day tasks related to bringing up kids. Parents are doing everything themselves, and in many homes it’s just mom or dad, not both. Yet, it still takes a village, as they say. I believe that the work of raising kids, providing for all of their physical needs, modeling successful ways of being, nurturing their imaginations, and helping them become the fullest expressions of themselves, is a job meant to be shared among members of a close knit community.
That’s why I consider it an honor and a privilege to be involved in the lives of teens and their families as one such member of their community in an albeit different but meaningful way as a Teen Life Coach. My role is to help parents prepare their kids for adulthood. I do this in a few key ways, and in doing so I get to help take the pressure off of parents who are tending to every single part of their child’s emotional, spiritual, physical, relational, and intellectual growth and wellbeing, often at the expense of their own. Not to mention that many parents these days are raising their children and simultaneously caring for their own aging and sick parents. Times have definitely changed and in turn, so has the experience of parenting teens.
So how exactly do I help you prepare your kids for adulthood and share in the nurturing of their wellbeing? Here are 7 primary ways:
Fostering Independence- The essence of a coaching relationship is not to advise but to guide. I don’t tell my young clients what to do and I don’t do anything for them. Rather, through dialogue, I serve as a guide in helping them identify the inner and outer resources available to them for solving problems, accomplishing tasks, making decisions, overcoming obstacles, and achieving goals. Rather than giving them answers, I engage them in conversations meant to draw answers out from within themselves. They learn, through selecting actions steps and being held accountable to fulfilling them, that in order to create change or make progress, it is up to them to take action and that no one can do it for them.
Building Confidence- Coaching exercises and conversations are designed to highlight a person’s strengths, successes, natural talents, and abilities. A lot of emphasis is put on what is already working and how that can be built upon. My clients begin to see how capable they already are and they also come to realize the unique qualities they possess and can use to further themselves, get through hard times, choose the right life direction, and make progress in their lives. But it’s not only strengths and positive qualities that we draw from. We also acknowledge areas where growth is necessary and useful, and orient toward self-improvement.
Becoming Self-Aware- Learning about yourself, I would say, is the core of what coaching is all about. As I am reflecting my client’s thoughts, beliefs, experiences and desires back to them, they are learning and understanding themselves more deeply. Self-knowledge is the root of self-trust, which is critical to establishing a strong sense of self and charting a life direction that is in alignment with who you truly are and what makes sense for you. The more self-aware young people become, the more they trust themselves which enables them to be less anxious and more self-assured as they make the big and small decisions that will shape their entire lives.
Creating Healthy Habits- Taking excellent care of your body, mind and soul are fundamental in my coaching program. I support my clients in exploring a variety of self-care habits and practices so that they can find what truly fulfills their own needs and will be something they are likely to stick to. For everyone I work with, the need for some type of daily exercise, mindful eating, and inner peace generating activity is established at the outset and emphasized in every session.
Being of Service- I help my young clients nurture their self-respect by helping them appreciate the value in caring for and contributing to the lives of those around them. I believe that a thorough practice of self-love includes focusing on and meeting the needs of others because of how rewarding it is to be of service. There truly is more happiness in giving, and I therefore encourage generosity and contribution as ways of nurturing one’s own wellbeing and fostering one’s own sense of pride and purpose.
Relationship Skills- Relationships impact our wellbeing and happiness above all other things in life. Our physical and mental health, length of life, and level of professional success are all connected to the quality of our most valued relationships. A big part of the coaching process is learning what healthy relationships look like and how to communicate, resolve conflicts, set boundaries and in all ways show up in relationships in a healthy and emotionally intelligent way.
Envisioning the Future- I help my young clients articulate and picture their desired future as well as what they need to do to achieve it. Studies show that the more emotionally connected we are to our goals and dreams, the more likely we are to achieve them. I guide the kids I work with into a detailed imagery of what they would like to see happen and to get in touch with the emotional experience that will help make that vision a reality.
In addition to these focuses, I also provide the teens and young adults I work with a safe and compassionate space to express themselves without inhibition and to explore their own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires without fear of judgment or shame. Though a deeply meaningful bond forms between myself and my client, the fact that I am not personally impacted by their choices or direction for their life that they choose enables them to engage with me without worry or concern about how I might feel or react to what they are choosing, experiencing, wanting, or feeling. They know that my primary goal is to see the world through their eyes, and to support their own vision for their life. That safety and trust enable them to really look at themselves and thoroughly consider who they want to become, how they want to live, and what they want to do with their lives.
So, if you want to help your teen have their best chance at becoming independent, confident, self-aware, healthy, generous, great at relationships, and focused on creating a fulfilling future for themselves, why not consider getting them a Life Skills Coach?
Interested in finding out if working with me might be a good fit for you and your teen? All of my coaching relationships begin with a complimentary 45-minute consultation. There’s absolutely no obligation. It’s just an opportunity to meet and greet and see if coaching with me if the right fit for you. To schedule a time, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me through my contact page.
I look forward to connecting with you soon!
Dara helps today’s youth prepare for the responsibilities and challenges of life by helping them connect with themselves, build character, form healthy lifestyle habits, set and achieve goals, overcome obstacles, honestly self-reflect, express themselves, resolve conflicts, manage money, build healthy relationships, and so much more.