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
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.
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
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
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
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
Attention, all high-school wrestlers:
We’re holding a one-day camp for you in November!
New England College wrestling coach John Archambeau and I will be covering both the mental game and working on the mat for high-school and PG students who want to take their wrestling to the next level. Players will leave with both a Personal Performance Plan to help them with their mental game as well as a Physical Performance Plan to help them be better athletes and wrestlers.
The camp will be Sunday, November 20, 11am-5pm, at the New England College Field House in Henniker, New Hampshire.
Here is more information and the registration form.
I am offering a new assembly this year for high school students. Appropriate for both public and private school settings, my Curriculum of Confidence program empowers students to take control of their own futures.
Here is the flyer that describes the program.
It sounds ambitious, but really the premise is simple: It’s about Voice and Choice. Read more
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:
- 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?
- 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
For some reason I don’t understand, many kids today are not ever asked to do housework. They are never asked to do a dish, vacuum, do laundry, mow the lawn, or any household chores. Perhaps parents think their children are too busy to waste time on mundane tasks? I would argue that these mindless tasks are anything but mundane. Read more
Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for my one-day hockey leadership workshop, which takes place on Sunday. My one-day retreats teach rising high school juniors, seniors, and post-grads to learn more about the mental and emotional skills needed to take their game to the next level, as well as how to assess and improve their strength and conditioning specifically for their sport.
On Sunday, June 26, I will be working with head coach Norm Bazin (UMass Lowell) to offer a hockey retreat.
The retreat will be held at The Farm in Waltham, Massachusetts.
More information and registration information can be found here:
Hockey retreat brochure