As a life coach and mentor for young adults and their families, a great deal of my work is with teenagers in jeopardy of completely failing their school year or millennials now living at home, playing video games all day, who have given up on life after failing and dropping out of university. So maybe it's best to say that me and the mentors I train are turn-your-life-around coaches.
Each time we meet with parents, there is an unspoken question in each of their minds, followed by what I imagine is an even harsher version of inner self-flagellation and screaming: "I am a bad parent!" The truth is, if you are still trying, even if your child's life seems down the crapper, you are a good parent. Bad parents are those who have given up and accepted failure for their child.
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Every person is a person with potential. Many young adults whose talents do not catch on fire from the standard models can do great things in life. No therapy, micro-managing, freedom or meditative chanting ("Go do your work! Go do your work! Go do your work!") will help.
You have done your work. Loved them, nurtured them and allowed them the space to find their own path and guess what? Many of our most inspirational leaders were exactly these kinds of people: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and many more. I wonder how their parents felt in the rocky school years.
What should you do for the young adults for whom counseling did not work?
What these young adults need is someone outside their circle of friends and family to create a safe space for them to stop their whole world twice a week, help them take a deep breath, exhale their fears and self-doubts and look at where they are in their lives. Getting them to ask themselves if they are truly ready to make meaningful changes in their lives one micro-success at a time. It rarely works with people too close to them.
Two steps forward, one step back until that young adult is ready to find the keys towards success.
Think of all the people we have always had around us in tribes and families throughout time. These were the mentors. We have lost those mentors for the most part, but there is a new solution: professional mentors. Instead of going down to the village hut, you bring the mentor to the young adult through Skype on their computer, changing the place they run away from the world to a place they go to for personal growth.
Experience has proven over and over without a shadow of a doubt that so many of the parents have done great parenting once these young people show that they are now ready to consider empowering themselves in some positive, but alternative way. Just by considering it their lives are put on a better path. Once you have found that good mentor for your child, make sure that, with your permission, they contact your child allowing a greater likelihood of your child considering it. You child has heard too many parental promises of the perfect, guaranteed "fixes" that have just led to the opposite of success. (Who is to blame?)
The path of millennials and the new Gen Z are not carved in stone, it is carved in silicone. Their greatness lies in the fact that although they live in the online world of the Internet, they are so much more than that. Their minds are open to so many possibilities and it is the older generation's duty to teach them how to interact and translate their online greatness in to the "real world."
Once the mentor and client start to choose goals towards their growth, they begin a bouncy path, two steps forward, one step back until that young adult is ready to find the keys towards success -- at school, at family, at life.
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Not everything is supposed to be done inside the family unit. It's OK.
Let me share with you a Rollo May quote:
Tell the child,
"Look, I love you, I believe in you.
I know you are going through a lot of upset the only thing that counts
is that in the long run, you find out who you are and you live it."
Here is my challenge to you: go find a mentor who will heal the family dynamic, and like the Pied Piper, play a tune that inspires the child; and unlike the Pied Piper, creates greatness in the child and harmony in the family. It can be done. Just believe and if you believe... you are on a new and better path.
Know a Millennial in need of mentoring? Check out www.MentoringYoungAdults.com
Interested in mentoring Millennials? Check out www.MentorsProfessionalWorkshop.com
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