Transforming the Parent-Teen Relationship Through Coaching

"Help my teenager is self destructing!" was the cry down the phone line from an exasperated parent.
This is an common cry for help that I receive in my coaching business. I specialise in coaching parents around finding and developing their true potential as a parent and in assisting their teens in building a life of confidence, courage and compassion. I coach teenagers to discover their passion and potential in life.
The parents' perception of their teenager's problems cover the entire spectrum from: "Help, my teenager is driving me crazy"; "How do I make them more responsible?"; "Why don't they talk to me anymore?"; "How can I say 'no' without feeling guilty?"; "How do I discipline my teenager without yelling at them?" to desperate cries like, "My teenager is self destructing!" My response to the parent was," Rather than forcing change onto your child, let's apply some coaching around your issues with your teenager. Let's learn some coaching skills so that you become the Parent as Coach."
The Parent as Coach Model
The Parent as Coach model helps us as adults to examine our own core beliefs enabling us to respect the rising beliefs of our "emerging adults." Instead of teaching how to manage and control teens, being the Parent as Coach helps us to appreciate the unique perspective of our teens and to express respect, understanding, and support for who they are right now. A Parent as Coach does not dictate how to grow up. A Parent as Coach will guide young people to their own solutions, inherent gifts, and show them the path to a meaningful and purposeful life.
A Case Study
When, continuing the case story, both parents took up a joint ten session coaching program with me, we began with them determining their desired outcomes for the 3-month period. Their main concern was that their 15-year old teenager, who had been expelled from two schools and was now smoking marijuana on an almost daily basis, was on a path of self destruction. After some explanation and application of Choice Theory, they realised that as much as they tried they could not control their teenager. Their controlling behaviour had created fronts and moved the boy further away. Each week we worked on the parents gaining an understanding of who they are and how they show up in the world, particularly in the eyes of their teenager. This newly found knowledge assisted them in seeing their teenager's point of view. We worked with a model "The Seven Ways to Coach your Teen" developed by the Academy for Family Coach Training.
With the application of this model and being coached around their new behaviours, the parents were able to respect their son for his qualities, really listen to his point of view, understand that he was not his behaviour alone, appreciate his differences, and give up rescuing him. They learnt to show support instead and started assisting him in developing his level of responsibility, striving towards his independence.
The Results
One of their greatest breakthroughs came after only three weeks, when they began using their new listening technique. The teenager had been refusing to come to the dinner table, and was not open to any conversation. When he talked, he argued. That night: with new listening skills honed, the parents had a one hour conversation, which the mother had said, had not happened for a couple of years! During that conversation, the parents spent more time listening than talking, they did not give advice or tried to fix or solve anything the teenager came up with. In that conversation the boy developed the idea that he might just give up some of his bad habits and would look to finish year 10 at TAFE. The parents offered to support him. The result further down the track: he completed year 10.
With continued coaching and support for these parents using "The Seven Ways to Coach your Teen", their relationship with their teenager was transformed over time. Their son is now a chef's apprentice and no longer on the path to self-destruction.
Relationships between adults and young people are rewarding - fun - endearing and energising!

Tracy Tresidder MEd, PCC is an ICF professionally certified coach. She specialises in working with parents and teens Parents - learn how to assist your children to build lives of confidence, courage and compassion. Discover the seven simple steps to create a mutually loving and respectful relationship with your teenager. Go to to see the programs that are available now. Tracy is also the Director of Professional Standards for ICF Australasia and an ICF Assessor and Mentor Coach. Visit the website to see more of what she has to offer. Tracy Tresidder Website

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