So here’s the thing: for most teenagers, the future is incredibly scary. Coaching teens to embrace the future with confidence is critical. Time and patience is required, especially for
those parents who have a strong vested interest in the success and future of the child.
I see it all the time, teenagers stressed to the max because of the uncertainty the world provides. No longer does a university degree guarantee a job. Academic success is no longer a good indicator of a young person’s employability, yet many of our schools continue to focus on such outcomes. Thankfully this is shifting and coaching teens toward other attributes is becoming of equal value to the academic goals.
Coaching teens isn’t hard
…but there are a few tricks that make the whole experience more pleasurable. These tricks aren’t just for experts or professional coaches but anyone who has regular involvement with young people will benefit.
Here’s 5 ways you can help embrace coaching teens who feel overwhelmed:
- Remind them that “this too shall pass”: When a teen is in the midst of a really tough time, it’s easy to think that this problem or issue will last forever. Obviously it won’t, but the young person may not know that or believe it. So encourage them to lift their eyes, help them see the broader purpose to what they’re going through and that their struggle may have a silver lining—provided they’re able to see it.
- Invest time into the teenager: this may be tough, especially if you and the teen are not used to spending time together. BUT at some point, this needs to begin to change if helping the young person have a bright future is important to you…which hopefully it is. Time begins to create an environment where mutual engagement can occur. Invest in it.
- Live in the present, hope for the future: even though the future is scary, uncertain and filled with challenges, there are also elements of excitement and the ability to ‘determine your own destiny’. Coaching teens to embrace their present moments and be thankful for what they have can quickly change current circumstances and create a sense of anticipation about what the future may bring.
- Remind them of who they are, not focus on what they can do: when a person is stressed or uncertain about the future, reminding a teenager they have worth simply because they are human is powerful. Lumping on them more shame and guilt because of their inability to perform academically or otherwise helps no one. Keep them focused on who they are and reminding them their self-worth is based in their personhood, not scores on an assessment paper or approval from peers.
- Bless them: no, not with holy water or after they sneeze, but with gifts, words or other means that allow them to truly know how much they are appreciated, loved and cared for.
Coaching teens, in reality is pretty simple. I spend loads of time with teenagers, listening to them and hearing their hearts, and as I do, themes of approval, identity, hope and understanding are always present. So often we unfairly lay upon teenagers the rules of modern society (which are broken by the way) that require a young person to live into the treadmill, performance driven, 9 to 5 lifestyle we’ve created for ourselves.
The faster we collectively remove the baggage and expectations laid upon a teenagers shoulders and help them set simple and achievable goals, the more ready they will be to lead themselves, and our world into the future.
Let’s join together and spend some time coaching teens in our midst to free them up to be the people they’re designed to be.