Fathers As Coach – A Useful Paradigm for Parenting Teens (1/9)

By Edwin Choy, Centre for Fathering

Many fathers find themselves suddenly helpless in parenting their teens.  What had worked in their parenting approach to their children are no longer helpful when they become teenagers.

When children are much younger, they welcomed and needed to be told what to do. As they grow into their teens years, they needed space and flexibility for self-discovery in order to develop an identity and values of their own. Any attempt to influence our teens by means of power often result in parents feeling frustrated and helpless. Power and fear games often produce the opposite outcomes in the teen years.

“Any attempt to influence our teens by means of power often result in parents feeling frustrated and helpless.”Edwin Choy

One useful paradigm for parenting the teen years is that of a “coach.”  Parents who are used to providing specific instructions to young children may find it more helpful to be coach to their teenagers.  As coach, you have the insight and experience. But you do not know your teenager as well as he/she does. You can only coach them to go where your teens are willing to. A skilful coach works with the hormones of our teenagers and not against it.

This is where calm fathers can play an important role in helping their teenagers develop a healthy self-identity.  Fathers can be very comfortable in playing the role of a coach to their teens – especially when it’s coaching a teenager towards his/her own healthy aspirations.

Reflection pointers for fathers …

During your teenage years, remember your CCA coach. What are some of the qualities that you can learn to be a better coach to your children?


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