Friday, May 29, 2020

Dear Mom or Dad,

Dear Mom or Dad,
"If you always have the answer, you don't.  You can best help me to grow and 'become' by listening - listening to my thoughts, ideas, struggles- and NOT jump in and tell me what I should do.  That gives me a far better chance to become the me you’d hope for. We learned in school that the most powerful communication tool and skill is to listen...
Love you, 
Your kid"

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Gotcha, didn’t I?  You can’t wait to argue, debunk, reject such blarney!!!
Read further!

Humans are naturally achievers.  THAT’S SCIENTIFIC FACT.

So when someone acts like or even describes themselves as lazy, there’s a reason. 

For teenagers, it may be attention-seeking behavior!!  [it happens!] 

The more probable answers: they may just be TIRED.  They’re going through immense physiological changes – their bodies are literally growing – and that takes energy.  It’s much like a surgical patient recovering in the hospital, not allowed to go home yet – their body is rebuilding.

Avoidance or procrastination [almost the same thing but not quite] – is basically FEAR.  It occurs because
(o) “they don’t know how” [to perform or complete the task] – and they may be ashamed to admit it, or
(o) there’s some other fear-like reaction going on inside their head.

In some people – adults and teens, there is actually a FEAR of SUCCESS – which shows itself as laziness, procrastination or avoidance.

Might there be deep-seated psychological issues? Yes – but not as often as you might think. And if there are, the solutions are pretty much the same ones listed here.

And, there may be several other causes going on – but simply labeling it as laziness evades the question, the issue, the cause.

Bottom line? Laziness is a defense mechanism – they’re hiding something – even though they may not consciously realize or understand that they’re doing it!

What to do?  Use patience, empathy, support, GENTLE encouragement, DON’T MAKE A BIG ISSUE of it.  The bigger you make it, the more defensive they’ll become. In reacting – show no emotion. 

And when you see “movement,” progress, got off the couch or whatever, – what BF Skinner called ‘successive approximations’ – compliment that action or movement - without making it a HUGE thing.

And as always with teenagers – stay the course and ‘soldier on’ – with faith in your heart and a thick skin!

Thursday, May 14, 2020


Launch Your Life!: BREAKING THE BOREDOM and SAMENESS (I): PLAYING CHESS WITH AND FOR YOUR TEENAGER If you think about it - every single instance of winning and succeeding in ANY field - sports, s...


If you think about it - every single instance of winning and succeeding in ANY field - sports, science, medicine, business, etc., etc. happens because the individual saw 2 or 3 or 4 steps ahead of the situation – and anticipated and pre-planned possible alternative actions.

And that's what makes a good chess player.  And before you minimize or reject the idea – be assured – it’s not just an intellectual’s game.  Huge numbers of people of all ages and intellects enjoy and play chess! The mindset development from chess is perfectly transferable and applicable to all of life.

It's a magnificent tool to teach your teenager. In a gentle, adult-conversational manner you will accomplish several goals and see multiple benefits: (o) it will give you and them something to do together, (o) it will give them something novel and different to add to their often boring current lockdown, (o) it will give them a thinking tool – of great value FOR LIFE! (o) you will begin to further strengthen your relationship with your teenager [and probably more…]

The heart, the core of it will build their ability to foresee WHAT HAPPENS IF... - huge insight for life.  
WHAT IF…” could be –
“what if I ask ___ to “go out with me” [if that’s the current lingo] and they say No” –
or “What if the other team does something unexpected?” 
OR “What if the teacher asks _____? Will I be prepared?” 
OR “What if – the sky falls”,
OR “my car won’t start”
OR “the soufflĂ© falls”
OR “my favorite clothes shrink in the dryer”
OR “my beloved girlfriend/ boyfriend drops me”  and on and on… 

Very often, teenagers are so muddled by their current circumstance, that their ability to see down the road is either too idealistic [“oh, that won’t happen to me”] or completely clueless – they just don’t know!
Secondly you will give him or her a tool for thinking and discussing issues and questions of life.
Questions like - where should I go to college?
What should I major in?
What if I don’t go to college - what will I or should I do?
What should my career be?
And the list goes on and on and on.

The ability to foresee, think about, consider, ponder and decide for or against is a huge tool for the duration of their life. If you make it a game-like situation now - you will hopefully enjoy the experience and you will gain and grow and develop them beautifully!
It’s your move!