By Edwin Choy, Centre for Fathering
Now that we have laid the three foundations and three basic principles on coaching our teens, we will now proceed to discuss the actual skills for the coaching process itself.
The paradigm shift for fathers in coaching our teens is to focus on solutions and not problems. The reason for this shift is that most of the time, the solution is not found in the problems. It is found outside the problem.
The shift is not easy. We have the tendency to look for problems and to describe situations in problem-focused ways. “What’s wrong with you?” or “Tell me your problems”; are examples of problem-focused ways we often use to begin a conversation. This is called problem talk.
When discussing a problem situation with your teens, avoid blame-storming. Hurling one blame after another for any misdeeds that your teens might have committed demoralizes them and creates a storm that builds a wall between both of you. Such problem talk hinders efforts to reach the preferred solution.
We need to shift the conversations from ‘problem-focused’ to ‘solution-focused’. Solution talk emphasizes on what you want not what you do not want.
Consider this: When you are upset with your teenagers for not returning home on time as promised, do you ‘blame-storm’ them for their mistakes or brainstorm for solutions to the preferred goal of coming back at a satisfactory time. Which is more helpful?
“We need to shift the conversations from ‘problem-focused’ to ‘solution-focused’. Solution talk emphasizes on what you want not what you do not want.”Edwin Choy
The same applies when our teens consult us with their problems. As coach we need to help our teens turn problems into goals so that they can look for solutions to the preferred future. One very helpful question to ask your teens and set them on the right path of reaching their desired solution is: What do you want instead? Once your teens are clear on what they want, they will see beyond the problem and work towards their goals.
Reflection pointers for fathers…
1. Sometimes when our teens knew they have broken our hearts by the wrong that they have done, they are remorseful even before we parents speak to them. At such time they need our encouragement and our leadership in helping them to find solution to prevent another situation of non-compliance. How did you handle such moments with your teens before?
2. How was it like for you as a teenager when your father confronted you with a wrong that you had done? Was the exchange more like a ‘blame-storming’ or a brain-storming for solutions? Did you go away from that exchange with a clearer idea, of how to meet your father’s expectations.
3. Trained over time we are skilled to close deals and execute solutions at work. Your teen’s solutions need a little more finesse. Are we as skilled in that area?
Action pointers for fathers…
1. The local Pasar Malam is a great way to get good food and spend time buying things at a bargain. Bring your child to the nearest “Night Market” and have fun!
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