You remember the times when you look at your child and all of your fond memories come flooding back. The first time they looked you in the eyes, their first smile (that wasn't gas), the first time they grabbed your finger with their little fingers curled around yours, and your child's first step. Little did you know that that first step would lead them on a downward spiral towards becoming the alien pot-smoking teenager they are today!
(Insert mental picture of the Creature from the Black Lagoon holding a bong here.)
(Photo: Gary Buss via Getty Images)
What happened? How did we get here from there and where do go now?
It all began when...
The early school years were the place where parents told kids how "magic" they were. Their crayon drawings should be in a museum, being chauffeured to their friends' video-game get-togethers, and every sport participant getting a prize. For most of these kids, minimal effort brought marks that they were OK with and tons of prizes.
Then, one day, maybe Grade 10, maybe first year of university, they discover that they aren't "magic" anymore. For the 12 kids who said: "Gosh, I'm not magic anymore. Maybe I should look into proper study habits and pull myself up by my bootstraps," this article isn't for them.
But for all the other kids, their false epiphany to "Gosh, I'm not magic anymore" was to decide the world is not safe. "So, if I choose to fail and I do, then I've won." So begins the slippery slope to self-sabotage.
So many troubled teens seem willing to self-sabotage every aspect of their potential future: not participating in class, not doing the required studying, staying up late, sleeping most of the day away and then missing school. For quite a few, these behaviours are accompanied by excessive video gaming and/or substance abuse... a.k.a. the Wonderful World of Weed.
For a growing group of troubled teens, traditional counseling methods do not work.
The most frustrating part of this is that these same people are often very gifted in some ways and yet here they are... stuck.
There always seem to be plenty of blame to throw around: the kids, the video-gaming industry, parents, Dave Chapelle and, yes, we occasionally blame the educational system as well.
So many teachers are doing such good work in school these days and those special teachers really can make a difference. Teachers have made great strides in helping students with all sorts of learning challenges and mental health issues, but how can teachers know how to work with people who don't submit papers, don't show up to class and believe that a day (week?) never speaking to a teacher is time well spent?
Many teachers believe that intervention, therapies or counseling teens will do the trick, and for some it does.
But for a growing group of troubled teens, traditional counseling methods do not work.
(Photo: Kathleen Finlay via Getty Images)
In my years of mentoring troubled teens and training others to mentor teens, it has become clear to me that the keys to success with these teens where other methods have failed are methods that have worked for thousands of years: mentoring young adults.
This is also true about your teenager. Given a chance to find their best and shown a method that works for them, 95 per cent of these teens we mentor grab onto it and soar!
Here is the interesting part: In the 16 years that I have been mentoring young adults, I have never told a client to stop smoking weed, and yet the majority of them quit smoking completely, with a portion of them becoming "weekend warriors."
This is the process that led them there:
The five stages of mentoring young adults:
1. Tribe - Having other adults to speak with and get feedback from.
2. Tasks - Encouraging the young adult to choose their goals
3. Ritual - Learning the power of daily routines that are meaningful
4. Reflection - Non-judgmental self-discovery
5. Right of passage - The transformation from child to adult.
Oh and please don't bogart this article. Share it with friends, family, and Chapelle too!
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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1. THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD - Listen to TV's Mr. Rogers and introduce your kids to respected adults in your community: the firefighter, the nurse, the scientist, the mayor, the small business owner or the elderly couple next door. The more adults your kids know by name, the more they'll understand the world and the diversity of people within it.
2. GET COOPERATIVE - If you're looking to move, consider co-operative housing for a ready-made community where members interact, collectively care for the property, and look out for each other. Co-ops frequently offer a whole cast of adults who will get to know and nurture your kids, be stable figures in their lives, and maybe even teach them how to garden!
3. GRADE 'A' BABYSITTING - Choose a babysitter who exhibits positive attributes you'd like to rub off on your kids. As they grow older, they'll have a friend and ally who can provide advice from a perspective in between their peers and their parents -- especially useful for eldest children. Same goes for tutors.
4. PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION - Without being overbearing, get to know your kids' teachers. They impart more than just knowledge in the classroom, from social skills and language, to values and worldviews.
5. GO EXTRA-CURRICULAR - Teachers are often overworked in the classroom, but quality one-on-one mentoring is possible for those who coach or lead extra-curricular groups. Encourage your kids to get involved!
6. SIGN ME UP - Being involved in an activity they're good at is another effective way to develop resilience among kids and adolescents. It doesn't have to be sports -- the key is enjoying it, and the key to enjoying it is often having a positive, caring adult in the lead.
7. PUT ME IN COACH... SERIOUSLY - You can't always choose your kids' coaches, but you should try: kids absorb sportsmanship, teamwork and other social skills from their coaches and teammates. Does your coach continually yell at the ref and his players, or does he or she rightly stress enjoyment of the game, teamwork and skills improvement over winning at all costs?
8. ALWAYS A REASON TO PARTY - Use birthdays and other occasions to gather the important people in your kids' lives -- peers and adults. Your kids will know how many people care enough to come out and celebrate them, and the members of your kids' community will interact and strengthen the fabric of the "village."
9. A WORD OF THANKS - Take a moment every so often to thank the key adults in your kids' lives for the difference they are making. A little appreciation and affirmation are paid forward many times more.
Follow Ken Rabow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mentor4YouthMPW