Teenage Angst

bound heartDoes parenting a teenager strike fear in your heart?  Do you dread the teenage times that seem to be fraught with danger and turmoil for yourself and your child?  Are you already in that period of rebellion with your child/children?

In our society, we’re taught that teenagers are rebellious, difficult and will surely cause trouble if we don’t keep them under strict control.  I was with you on that.

In fact, I completely and totally screwed up with my oldest son because I harbored that notion. Good thing it was only a temporary set-back.  We both lived through it and have come out on the other end much more enlightened.

What if I told you that you could create a relationship with your teen that included the two of you enjoying time together, the child seeking your advice and doing as you ask with a good attitude?

That you could trust your child to do the right thing whether you were there to watch them or not?  Farfetched?  Well, maybe for some, but I’ve created it with my four teenagers.

In fact, because my brother had a new baby and my mother was called for duty at his house, my 4 teens ended up at home by themselves for three days while I was out of town.  I wasn’t worried and they behaved themselves completely.  So, the question is, how can you create this with your children?  I’ll tell you…..

It all starts with respect.  Not demanding respect as most parents do, but giving it.  My kids so appreciate that I show them the respect they deserve.  I treat them like human beings, not children who need constant guidance.  I treat them like the young adults they are.

Think of how much more today’s teens are exposed to than we were when we were their age.  With the social media and more open dialogue on TV, they are light years ahead of us in terms of what they know about sex and drugs.  We, as parents, should take this into consideration in our interaction with them.

How does that feel?  A little different, maybe?  We’re conditioned in our society to not respect our children, but if you did, what message would that give the child?  That you love them?  That you believe they have the marvelous capability of making a good decision? That you have their best Interests at heart?  Yes!  It most certainly conveys all of those messages.

So, what does that mean?  Well, the teenage years are years when the child is trying to find his or her own way.  To discover who they are and grow into their personalities.  If we show them that we love and respect them, and that it’s our job as their parents to help them grow those wings with which to fly, they will fly and live up to our expectations.

Instead, many parents cut the wings of their teens to keep them grounded and under control.  The only problem is that this will always backfire and cause problems for everyone.

Give your teen some space.  Allow them room in which to fly and fall.  Allow them to make mistakes that don’t have such huge consequences as the mistakes we make as adults do. Be there to catch them when they do fall.

It helps them learn very important lessons and grow into their decision making capabilities.  You’ll be forever grateful you did when your children become self-sufficient adults.

Happy parenting.



Rising from the Ashes

Recently, I’ve had several clients who had built big businesses during the boom, but now are suffering from the bust.

Everything in their lives is falling apart.  They may be in bankruptcy, losing their house to foreclosure or short sale, in trouble with the IRS, divorced from the stress of it all and not having enough current income to meet basic living expenses.

They tend to be depressed and beating themselves up for failing.  Some are at the end of their rope, contemplating suicide over their failure.  This made me think….

I look at these amazing people who have come to me for help and don’t see a failure, but instead, a success.  Just the fact that they have bucked the norm of “get a good education so you can have a good, safe job”, gives me great respect for them.

There is no such thing as a “good, safe job”.  They get it! Then looking at the businesses they had built from nothing shows me what incredible skill they possess.  They are:

  • Tenacious
  • Bold
  • Fearless
  • Hard-working
  • Willing to risk what they have for what they want
  • Outside the box thinkers
  • Exceptional problem solvers

Yes, they made mistakes.  No, they aren’t perfect.  But these things don’t matter.  What matters is their willingness to step out of their comfort zone and do something.  No one is perfect.  No one is exempt from mistakes.  And no one succeeds without failure.

My role then becomes helping them to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, evaluate what they’ve learned from the experience, clean up the mess, and move forward.  Together we look at the qualities they possess (see the list above).  These are qualities that helped them build nice, profitable businesses to begin with.  Then we look at the things learned from failure.  Wow, what a combination!

They now have made it through one of the most intense, educational MBA training programs available.  Now it’s time to go back out and build another fabulous business.  One that’s much more failure resistant.