Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Is Your teenager lagging behind in school (or life?)

EVERY teen has problems!  [you probably knew that!]

Some of those problems will just go away, while some continue and grow.  If you’d like to discuss your teenager’s issues or challenges or problems, call Launch-Your-Life [(518) 475-1538 or CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com ].  Our team and advisory board has been in this field for a cumulative total of 150 years – WE CAN HELP.  The biggest issue is getting past the expectation that ‘it’ll just go away.’ Often times, no coaching is needed, just a little parental encouragement.  But sometimes, it WON’T! And too often, it’s been festering for a long time.  Sometimes, with a little well-directed coaching, your teenager will far exceed even what THEY thought they could do!  We’re in the happiness business – theirs and yours!  Call us!!
Typical and common teen problems:
  • Frequently, easily distracted
  • Doesn’t care
  • Rebellious
  • Getting into Drugs and/or Alcohol and/or Sex
  • Behaviors and reactions are Unpredictable
  • Poor decision-making
  • Loss of focus - academics/school
  • Little or no desire FOR ANYTHING
 Call or email: (518) 475-1538 or  CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Know the Score!!

As the new school year gains speed, I’d encourage you to encourage your student(s) to KNOW what their grades are, often and NOW.  Once in a while, I have some great thoughts.  Here’s one: it is impossible to improve anything without a number - golf, bowling, weight loss, etc.   I am currently in the early stages of collaborating on an initiative called Grade$Count.  One of the foundational elements is encouraging kids – and working with their school – to have easy access and knowledge of their grades.  Far too often, I’ve been working with a teen – and ask him/her how their grades are – and a disturbingly high percentage of time, they don’t know.

Set the stage now – work with their teachers to let them know you want your teen/ their student to know what their grades are, so that they can intervene as quickly as possible, if and when needed.  And frankly, ‘knowing the score’ almost always inspires anyone to want to do a little bit better! 

So maybe, when you and they see those grades, take a minute or two to ask – “How do you feel about that?”  - PAUSE, WAIT FOR REPLY – then, as it may fit – say “is there anything I can help with to help you build it?”  It’s a subtle way to show that you’re paying attention, want to help, and encourage their focus and attention.

Oh, one more thing – do this REGULARLY. 

The more and earlier you know and can guide your student – the less harsh you will ever need to be.

Keep score – and succeed!

On another note: Harshness breeds the same
There’s one on-line post I see frequently regarding dealing with teenagers in which the writer (“expert”) is constantly advising parents in applying harsh, overpowering techniques to address bad behaviors – refusal to do homework, disrespect, etc. – but his approach is ALWAYS very harsh.  While I can’t disagree with most of what he says, it just seems to me that most young people are inherently pretty good kids – they’re just searching and exploring alternate behavioral choices – and need just a little re-direction, guidance and reinforcement.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How will school be different this year?

“Most people lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau

To avoid a school year of quiet desperation, why not make this your student’s most successful year ever?  To accomplish that, some change – maybe a little, maybe a lot – is necessary:  
·        What will be different about school this year for your teenager?
·        Will they study more?
·        Will they manage their time better?
·        Does your student have a vision for success that motivates them every day?

If you answered no to any of the above, there are several ways you can help your teenager make this year their best year. 

Homework does not have to be a daily battle, but you should enforce a few rules.
·        Turn off the TV, but music is fine.  Background music may help keep your child more focused.
·        Texting and homework do not mix.  Push alerts on your child’s cell phone will pull their focus away, so have them put their phone out of ear shot during homework hours.
·        Define a study space that works for your child and the rest of the family.  Maybe it’s your teenagers’ room, or the kitchen table.

Good study habits are created, not born.
·        Maintaining a regular schedule serves all family members best.   It helps to build good study and lifelong successful habits.
·        Study in intervals.  It’s hard to focus on any one thing for hours at a time.  Depending on your teen, a 5-minute break every half hour will increase performance.
·        Avoid cramming.  Most students know well in advance when tests are scheduled.  Reading chapters, taking notes, or rewriting notes taken during class, over a few days, will help with retention. 

How do you handle a student who constantly avoids doing school work?  There’s a reason they avoid it –and it’s valuable for you to explore and discuss that with them.  Could be a bad past experience – either with the subject or a teacher. Could be that’s it just hard for them! Could be distraction by the need/desire to talk with friends, get on line, etc.  Address and resolve these issues, amicably and consensually. 

A word of caution: DO NOT LECTURE or “TELL” them what to do or how they should see things.  Be assured – this will ‘shut them down’ attitudinally.  Discuss issues and help enlighten them.  Use QUESTIONS and questioning, and a few dramatic pauses.  [in other words, when you ask a question and receive a negative, even hostile response – or no response or “I don’t know” – sit quietly with no facial expression.

One popular teen response is “I don’t know.”  Don’t let them get away with it.  Remain on the subject and or target.  Wait for an answer.  If none is coming, ask another question. 
One of the best questions, asked in various forms, is “what did you learn from that?”  Every defeat or failure or setback has a learning lesson inside it.  Ask, explore and identify it!    

While I’m not a huge fan of his, one of Dr. Phil’s best questions is “how’s that working for you?”  HOWEVER – that’s actually somewhat sarcastic – so AVOID it.  Ask gentler questions like “what results have you gotten in the past?” – or similar.
Finally – maintain regular follow-up – weekly, may every other day – and strive to support and maintain that regular schedule referenced above.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Coaching for Teens

Have you ever had a coach?  A life coach, an executive or leadership coach?  If you have, you know that the good ones can have a profound and positive impact on your life – business or personal.  Fact is, according to the people who track such figures, business and life coaching is one of the fastest growing professions throughout the US!  My expectation and belief is that’s because it works!  Bill Gates has said “everyone should have a coach.”  Ever seen any sports teams go onto the field without a coach? Actors have directors, singers have voice coaches, etc.

Here’s the bad news: despite the best and most dedicated parenting, many (!) incoming college students, despite stellar academic performance, have weak self-management skills and habits.  And when the first big challenge hits them in college, they collapse ("mentally"/ behaviorally) !

As the fall school semester approaches, it might be worth your considering a success coach for your teen – not because s/he is failing or stumbling – but because you want the best for them – and a coach would accelerate and assure their success [and happiness!] – now, into college and into life!

If you’d like to learn about success coaching for teens, contact us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com – or visit our website, Launch-Your-Life.com , complete the Success Snapshot on the Teens Programs page – and decide for yourself.