It has been well-documented how difficult the teenage years can be, not just for teenagers but for the parents of teenagers. It is a challenging developmental period because teenagers are learning to navigate the physical, cognitive, and social changes that come with the transition from child to adult.
As teenagers work to build their own identities, seek autonomy, and learn about relationships, what also comes with the territory is a healthy dose of teenage angst. Let’s face it, being a teenager is hard, making parenting no walk in the park.
As a child, I liked to watch Superman and have always remembered these lines from the show. “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! The infant of Krypton is now the man of steel: Superman!” Your teenager isn’t Superman or Superwoman, but they tend to think they are. And they are indeed bigger, stronger, faster, intelligent…and a little crazier, taking parenting to a different level.
If you are a parent of a teenager struggling in your relationship, you have done one or maybe all of the following to turn things around.
- Tried to do it on your own – which consisted of doing more of the same, just doing it harder. You vacillated between approaches ranging from implementing your power and control to letting go and relinquishing all control to just giving up. When things didn’t get better you…
- Consulted or talked with friends and family – They gave you advice, typically what worked for them… or what they think would work for you. Sometimes this advice made you feel like an incompetent parent, sometimes, it made a difference, and things improved…for a short period. So, you keep searching and…
- Got on the internet searching for answers – You read articles and blogs on how to deal with a difficult teenager. You probably purchased a book or two, either didn’t read the book or struggled to apply what you learned consistently, so you…
- Turned to the professionals – You got into therapy or counselling…or tried to get your teenager into therapy, but they didn’t want to go because, in their mind, you were the crazy one. Even if you got into therapy, things stayed the same and worsened.
How do I know this? I know this because this is the story of many parents I work with as a parent coach. Can you relate to any of this?
I am also confident that very little time was spent thinking about or asking yourself, “should I hire a parent coach and grow my parenting skills so that I can strengthen my relationship with my teenager?”
Like many parents I coach, you probably just “stumbled” upon my website while looking for answers on how to deal with a teenager driving you to drink or engage in some other maladaptive coping strategy.
What I hope to do for you in this article is share my story as to why I became a parent coach specializing in parent/teen relationships, share my philosophical views about why parent coaching works well for parents of teenagers, and why you may want to consider parent coaching with me.
I have been a parent coach for 17 years. Additionally, I have worked with teenagers and parents for almost 30 years in various capacities, including residential treatment, in-home family support, and crisis intervention. I came across the idea of parent coaching by accident while doing in-home family support work with families.
I quickly learned that teenagers had a much different perception of me despite how cool and hip I thought I was. To them, I was just another adult aligning with their parents to tell them how to live their life. Most of the time, these teenagers would reluctantly attend scheduled meetings at the house, and more often than not, they would hole themselves up in their bedrooms, go hang out at the mall or hang with their friends. Anything to avoid the adults.
Honestly, my only option was to work with the parents. Fortunately, I saw how parents interacted with their teenagers, especially in times of crisis. I learned that parents needed skillsets, mindsets, and strategies tailored to parenting a teenager.
I could teach these, and as I did, something interesting happened. Things got better, and relationships improved. This is how my parent coaching business started.
The Change Starts with You
If there is anything that I have learned over the years, it is this:
Things change when parents change, not the other way around. Parents who wait for their teenager to change first might be waiting a long time.
Parents can get so fixated on changing their teenager that they never take the time to look at how they are contributing to the challenges they are experiencing with their teenager.
Rather than asking, “how can I change or fix my teenager” a much better question is, “how can I be a more effective parent for my teenager.” In addition to this question, ask, “how can I grow and strengthen my relationship with my teenager?”
A parent’s power lies in managing themselves while raising a teenager into an independent, self-sufficient, and responsible adult.
Parent Coaching with Ken
I call parenting teenagers the “big leagues” of parenting, and the big leagues require an upgrade in parenting.
This is the missing link. I firmly believe that parents must evolve and enhance their parenting to meet their teenager’s unique personalities, temperaments, and developmental needs. Parent coaching supports this process.
For many parents, the idea of parent coaching is a foreign concept. They don’t link parenting and coaching in the same sentence. They associate coaching with sports or for high-performing people in sports, entertainment, and business. Many people in these industries hire personal coaches. But why? They hire coaches because they want to maximize their performance. They continually strive to improve their craft, and coaches help them do this.
Parenting is a craft. Some parents call it a job and describe it as the most challenging job in the world. I don’t see parenting as a job. I see it as a huge responsibility. Don’t you want to maximize your parenting potential regardless of how you define parenting?
My philosophical views on parenting teenagers and how I coach come from years of study combined with personal experience as a stepdad and coaching parents from all walks of life.
While every parent and teenager is different, I have learned what works and doesn’t when parenting teenagers. This is the knowledge and expertise that I bring to the table. My mission is a simple one. To empower and equip parents with the mindsets and skillsets to have a great and rewarding relationship with their teenager. I believe this is what every parent wants. I also think it is what every teenager wants and needs.
To accomplish this, I help parents grow in the 3 C’s:
- Calm – parenting is not logical. It is profoundly personal and highly emotional. Because of this, parents must work on effectively managing their emotions. It might surprise you that it is not usually the teenager’s behavior that is the problem. Often, a parent’s emotional reaction to their teenager’s behavior is the problem. I call this emotional reaction “the crazy,” and every parent brings their unique brand of crazy to the relationship, and it is this crazy that parents must learn to tame.
- Confident – there is nothing like a difficult teenager to erode a parent’s confidence. Parenting is about leadership, which requires confidence in one’s ability to lead and make tough decisions. I call this developing a “backbone,” and coaching helps to re-establish a parent’s confidence in their abilities as a parent.
- Connected – a parent’s ability to guide, coach, and parent a teenager is very much dependent on the health of their relationship. This doesn’t mean that it will be peaches and cream. That is naïve. You can have conflicts and disagreements and still be connected. Coaching will not only help parents stay connected to their teenagers but strengthen the relationship as well.
I understand that when it comes to finding the right resources for you and your family that there are many available. This article introduces you to an option you have yet to consider. If what you have read resonates with you, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss how parent coaching can help you.