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Tips from The Parents' Coach » parent burn out

Posts Tagged ‘parent burn out’

Being Proud vs. Having Respect

Posted on July 27th, 2007 by Jason Wittman  |  No Comments »

Diana Sterling, the author of "Parent As Coach" the text that I use when I teach my parenting course, once mentioned that it is way more effective when offering a teen a complement to use, "I really respect you for …X…" rather than the usual, "I am very proud of you." Because I trust her advice, I used it the next time my son did something I wanted to praise. The reaction I got was subtle but profound. I got a quiet thank you and a little later an, out-of-nowhere hug. I have been using it ever since.

It amazes me that ever though both of those phrases have the same intention behind them, they have such a different effect on the listener. The difference seems to stem from the implication of each phrase. "You make me so proud," is about how the listener’s behavior or accomplishment effects the speaker’s feelings. How it shines well on the speaker and his accomplishment of being a great parent. Other than any good feelings tor doing some thing to give the speaker good feelings, there is little in that statement for the listener.

"I respect you for …." on the other hand, is all about the listener. It is saying, "I truly acknowledge you and what you did or accomplished." Now that is something to really feel good about!

About the Author:

Jason Wittman, MPS has a private practice as a Life Coach specializing in working with parents of teenage boys and young adults ( http://TheParentsCoach.com ) He can be reached at jason@theparentscoach.com

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Parenting Teenagers is Like Fighting a Gorilla War

Posted on July 12th, 2007 by Jason Wittman  |  No Comments »

When I was in Viet Nam, I realized that gorilla wars were very different from the ones in the movies. There were no fronts, no back lines and the territory was very peaceful just like any town in the U.S., until it wasn’t. It could go from tranquillity and boredom to total chaos in seconds. I am not suggesting that parenting is like fighting a war. To the contrary, if you follow my parenting advice, it will be one of collaboration with zero supremacy battles. It is that just like in gorilla wars, parenting teens often is quite boring with little to do most of the time, until it is not. Parenting then becomes a non-stop, intense period of coaching, teaching, sorting through high drama and lots of emotion, consoling and cheer-leading. Did I leave anything out?

It is the boring – nothing is happening – what am I doing here? – part of parenting teens to which I am going to address my comments. In the last blog, I talked about how parents need to understand that they are in this parenting game until their teens are adults. Even then, they are still on call until they can no longer take the calls and expire. I call it "Parenting On Demand." That is still true and here is the other part of parenting.

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Perserverence and Endurance are the Keys to Winning The Parents Game

Posted on July 8th, 2007 by Jason Wittman  |  No Comments »

I recently read a very short yet very important book , "The Dip" by Seth Goden. Although it is written mainly for business people, the concept totally applies to parenting of teenagers. Seth postulates that in most enterprises there is a period of time before winning or success happens when it seems like nothing is happening and that future effort to achieve success would be in vain. He labels that period, "the dip." He contrasts that with other similar feeling situations, "The Cliff," where the enterprise is about to crash and burn and "The Cul-de-Sac," a dead-end situation that no additional effort will ever produce results. He explains that in the latter two conditions, quitting is the appropriate action to take because it frees people to then go and find a winnable game to play. In contrast, for truly winnable games in business and life, there is a period where we do the footwork and pay the dues until success and winning happens. That period can be lengthy.

Since all three of the situations feel the same when we are in them, the skill comes in being able to determine which is which. When it is determined that we are truly in a Dip, that’s when perseverance and endurance becomes the critical skills to prevent quitting before the miracle. He quotes a famous marathon runner who sets in his mind the conditions that must happen before he will quit a race. The runner does this because otherwise by the 23rd mile, all the regularly occurring things like thirst, fatigue, muscle aches and the like will be used by his mind to manufacture a plausible reason to quit. Using that as an example, the author says that conditions where quitting ought to be the option of choice need to be set before the endeavour starts. If and when it is time to quit, the quit need to be premeditated and planned out. Quitting should never happen at times of high emotion because rational courses of action are never made well at those times.

Although Mr. Godin did not have parenting of teenagers in mind, his theory totally applies to this very serious enterprise or game, as I like to call it, of raising teenagers.

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