Failure-to-Launch Young Adults: A New Approach

When school started, I heard about several kids who went to college—very good colleges to which the students had happily anticipated going for months—and after only a few days, called their parents to pick them up and take them home.

I see this more and more. Some will go back to school. Others will sit in their parents’ basements playing video games, with their parents wringing their hands because they do not know what to do. This can go on for years, and failure-to-launch young adults make up a large part of my business.

What I find when I talk with these teens and 20-somethings are young people who have never faced adversity, are full of shame and doubt, and lack a sense of themselves or autonomy. When I talk with the parents, I find adults who thought they did everything right and are mystified about where things went wrong.

How did they get there? And, more importantly, how to get them past this? Read more

The Importance of Mission

“Our own life has to be our message.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, terrible tragedy that it was, also ended up bringing to the fore something positive that is sorely lacking in many of today’s young people: a mission. Although I wish it weren’t mass shootings that were the reason, the way students around the world rallied around the cause of “no more school shootings” couldn’t have been a better demonstration of how kids are brought to life around a mission. Read more

What Dreams Are Made of

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

I talk about making dreams come true a lot. That sounds so…frivolous, so hokey—so why do I keep saying it?

Because it is so important to kids’—and adults’—mental health, that’s why. Read more

Mastering the Mental Side of Hockey—Or Anything Else

I was working with a Division I hockey team when an assistant coach asked the D men to stand up. “Now, boys,” he said, “Sit down when I hit the right number. Ready? Hockey is 20% mental.”

No one sat.

“Thirty percent.”

“Forty.”

He kept going: 60, 70, 80… at 90% his guys started to sit down.

The coach went on to say, “We spend 90 to 100% of our time on our bodies, lifting, conditioning; on our hockey skills, shooting, skating; and so on. But how much time do we spend on our mind and our emotions?” Read more

Are We Having Fun…Ever?

One thing I ask parents frequently is how much fun their family has. The reply is often that their child loves their organized athletics, or music, or whatever afterschool activity that their child does, and that is fun for their child.

It is true that some children love those activities. But some children don’t. They do them out of a sense of duty. They do it because their parents make them. Or they do them because it has been impressed on them, either consciously or unconsciously, that they have to do it to get into college—for their résumé, in other words. And many of them never tell their parents that they would rather not do them, or do them quite so much. When you have Outcome Fever, it becomes very hard for your kids to be honest with you.

But even if your child loves their extracurricular activity, that is different from plain fun. Unlike organized activities, fun has no responsibilities, such as practicing, attached. Most importantly, the fun I’m talking about has no outcomes attached. Read more

The Basics: Why Life Coaching?

I was recently called in to help an anxious and depressed 11-year-old. When his mother ushered me into his room, I saw an overweight, sad-looking kid. I also saw a guitar and asked him if he played. He immediately brightened up, and we launched into a discussion about music. After a while, and with the expected coaxing, he picked up the guitar and started to play “Stairway to Heaven.” No, correct that: he CRUSHED the tune. When he was finished, he was able to tell me that he wowed everyone when he played it at his school talent show, and we were able to start a discussion about how he was able to do that: what gave him the confidence? And then we were off and running on what was bothering him and how to deal with it. Read more

When Trauma Defines You

How do you define yourself?

That isn’t something many people think about much, but it actually is a crucial question.

First of all, what do I mean by “define yourself?” I am talking about the things that contribute to how you feel about yourself in your baseline state.

Of course, there are lots of things that do this. As I see it, there are two basic categories: things that happen in your life, whether it is something you consciously strive for or something that just happens, and who you are intrinsically. So one is external and the other internal. Read more

Confidence Coaching

In my work with athletic teams and other groups of kids, I have found that even the highest-functioning kids often lack confidence. In today’s highly structured and scheduled world, kids can get pretty far just doing what they’re told and completing tasks, so it sometimes comes as a surprise to both the student—and their parents—when they come up against a situation where deep-seated, steady confidence is needed, but it just isn’t there to be called upon. Coaches and educators frequently bring this up, and it seems as though parents are catching on.

The Confidence Coaching program is the result, and I think it can help just about any teenager or 20-something. If your kid is struggling but not in real trouble, it can help a lot. (If your kid is in real trouble, I can help with that, too, but that requires a different approach.) If your kid is an über-achiever, I think you will be surprised at how injecting a dose of confidence will bring more imagination and joy to their achievements. The program is fun, insightful, and powerful, and most kids love it. It can also be something that friends can enjoy together: the program works great with small groups. Usually it only takes a few sessions to see results.

Want to know whether Confidence Coaching is right for your teenager or 20-something? Give me a call or drop me a text at 603-496-0305, or use the form below to email me, and let’s talk about it.

Here’s the brochure, and FYI — many adults can benefit from Confidence Coaching as well!

Here is more information how I work with teens, 20-somethings, and their families.

Hand-Me-Down Vows

The definition of a vow is a “solemn promise,” which implies a conscious decision. Yet what I have found in my work is the unconscious also makes vows, often destructive ones. Uncovering these unconscious vows and then breaking them can be hard going, but it is possible and can be incredibly healing. Read more

Opiates and Outcome Fever

I spoke to a father of three teenage boys recently, a very reasonable, bright man. He expressed concern about the fact that opiates are out there, and we talked about striking that parenting balance around drugs and alcohol, about finding that sweet spot where you don’t issue blanket prohibitions that are impossible to enforce, nor do you become overly permissive.

This brought up some things I’ve been mulling over:

  1. Why are so many teenagers sniffing and shooting opiates, boys and girls who, a generation ago, wouldn’t have even entertained a thought of using them?
  2. What are the more complex dynamics in middle- and upper-class schools and families that are causing kids to use opiates?

Actually, I would argue that “good” kids are taking risks with many aspects of their lives, not just opiates. In fact, many of their choices can be seen through the lens of addictive behavior, whether it’s sex, working out, drinking, video games, even schoolwork. Read more