By Edwin Choy, Centre for Fathering
Teenagers live in a state of ambivalence in their lives. Sometimes, teens feel like they are invincible “nothing is impossible”. At other times, they can feel absolutely hopeless “everything is impossible”. Fathers who have good relationships with their teenagers will need to coach them during such days.
When your teens come to you for help, they are confused, discouraged or disoriented by some events in their lives and their focus tends to be only on the problems they face. They are unable to see possibilities in this state. This is a good opportunity to help your teenagers regain clarity in their lives.
The task of a coach is not to take over but to help your teens focus on building solutions. To shift their focus away from problems, ask them “what do you want instead of the problem?”. By describing what they want, your teens have a clearer picture of what this new preferred future is for them. The more detailed the new preferred future is, the clearer the picture and, therefore, the greater likelihood of achieving the solutions. Questions that will help fill in the details are:“What difference would it make for you if this new preferred future happens?” and “What else would be different?”
“The task of a coach is not to take over but to help your teens focus on building solutions.”Edwin Choy
Sometimes all it takes is to help your teens build a clear picture of their new preferred future to enable them to find their own solutions. If your teens still lack confidence in reaching this new future, then you, as a coach, need to help your teens draw on the strength which they used to overcome similar challenges in the past. This sends a powerful message to your teens that you believe in them.
Finally don’t forget to celebrate when your teens succeed in achieving the new preferred future!
Reflection pointers for fathers …
- What is your preferred future for your child? Can you positively reflect it upon him/her?
- When a child feels that him/her father really believes in him/her, a new vigour of confidence arise in him/her.
Action pointers for fathers …
Do something to brighten your wife’s day. Buy her some flowers on the way home from work. It will also show your children how you love their mother.
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