My Blog:

A Dose of Insight

  • Erika Bugbee, M.A.

In certain ways, young adults are very different from us. There’s a lot going on in their world that’s invisible to parents.

For one thing, the typical young person handles WAY more than it looks like from the outside. Like a plant, there’s a big and elaborate root system underground, they’re collecting food, fighting disease and insects, searching for water.

But to the naked eye, they’re just sitting there.

Just today, for example, these are the topics my young adult clients were trying to weather: a secret and silent eating disorder, panic about career paths (a 15 year old), pressure around disappointing the parents, self-loathing that never shuts up, and a "best friend' that's sometimes sweet and fun, then suddenly cold, secretive, and fake.

And today was a short day for me.

Keep in mind that includes a few clients that are coming to improve their athletic and academic performance and are generally stable and relatively un-troubled. Even the young people that are relatively stable and confident are generally much more tormented about certain things than they may let on.

Often parents know their kids are struggling with certain things. But they only see part of the plot, or don’t realize how much they’re struggling.

That’s because young adults don't tell us, the parents, about their problems. We wouldn’t understand. We’d tell them what to do, tell them what to think, or somehow be dismissive. We’d tell them there’s people in 3rd world countries with real problems, tell them they’re being dramatic, or involve ourselves in their situation in order to be helpful.

And many young adults are very private and prefer to do everything ‘in-house.’ Less risk and less energy involved that way.

And because we don’t understand them, we tend to underestimate them.

As a result, since young adults are caught up inside themselves trying to handle things, and we can’t see any of it, they often come across as self-absorbed, ungrateful, and fragile for what seems like no reason at all.

And that, understandably, creates frustrated parents, tension, conflict, and drama. For everyone.

But what parents also don’t see is that just like plants, young adults are also connected to a universal intelligence that guides all living things, which we only catch glimpses of occasionally.

If you look carefully, you’ll see fleeting moments of maturity, sensibility, and compassion that surprise you. A moment when they’re the responsible person in the friend group. A problem they figured out themselves. Good solid advice they give a friend that seems beyond their years.

Here’s my point: just like plants, young adults are heartier and more resilient than they look. And that resilience is like a muscle group that’s getting exercised and strengthened constantly by the struggle and drama they’re handling.

So you don’t have to save or fix them. In fact, what I find is that the more perspective and insight parents have around their kids’ natural intelligence, the less worry, frustration, or I-wanna-strangle-them moments parents have.

And in turn, without fail, parents with more composure, common sense, and clarity respond to their young adults in a way that improves life for everyone in the house

Today’s recording is designed to bring you a dose of that perspective and insight.


This interview was hosted by my colleagues Rohini and Angus Ross as part of their interview series The Soul-Centered Series. For more information about the amazing work they do, click here .

*This is a pre-recorded webinar - and is not taking place live on 23rd March 2021

Updated: Feb 4

Parenting is a funny thing. We clearly have the instincts for it because chickens and sloths do it without the help of books, blogs and coaches (that we know of). And yet so many people find it to be the hardest thing they’ve ever done.

One of the reasons is that there’s no formula. The rules and tactics your parents used on you doesn’t seem to work with your own kids.

And even when you think you’ve found the secret yourself, kid #2 comes along and makes you feel like an intern all over again.

This is especially true when you’re living in close quarters with teenagers, but is something most parents grapple with nearly every step of the way.

A business leader that I coached last year summed it up well in our first session. She said “I can manage 7,000 employees and some of the most difficult customers in our industry, and yet I spent last night walking on eggshells around my 13 year old daughter. She’s basically running our household.”

But when I interviewed Lisa about how she goes about her job as a business leader, she had so much clarity and wisdom.

For example, like many seasoned business leaders, Lisa got better over time, but not because she had more technical knowledge. Experience brought her something deeper and more fundamental: she got better at overlooking things. She got more picky about what she thought about, what she focused on. Lisa lets a lot of stuff go now that she used to keep on her mind when she first started out.

The result is that her mind is more free than it used to be, even though she has more responsibility. And that creates more clarity and higher quality of thought, even in times of crisis.

And as Lisa discovered, when a business leader’s mind is more free and lucid, two things happen: they get better at picking their battles, and they have more fresh and creative energy to tackle the things they take on.

What Lisa discovered as a business leader are the very things that are missing in her parenting. As a mom, she had so much on her mind, and tried to take on everything, which kept her in a constant state of overwhelm and reaction. And created a bottleneck of tension that didn’t allow her fresh, creative thought to come through the way it did around her leadership challenges.

The bigger message here is that biologically, we’re connected to the same universal intelligence that allows all critters to raise their young. And sometimes we lose our way and need to get back to the simplicity and clarity we have in those areas of life where we’re most graceful. Like Lisa and her leadership.

Today’s video, like all of my work, will help provide a little reset for you if you’ve lost your way as a parent.

To watch today's video, click below.


This recording is part of a video series by my colleagues Wyn Morgan and Shailia Stephens.

For more videos by Wyn and Shailia, click here

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

If you have tweens or teens, your house just might be one of the more emotionally-charged and unpredictable homes on your block.

You might also feel like whatever connection you used to have with them is gone.

Maybe you catch glimpses of it, in fleeting moments when their softer or lighter side comes out. But that’s it.

Sometimes that’s the worst part of it all, worse than the fighting, the outrage, or overwhelm. The feeling that you lost them and might never get them back.

If that’s you, you are definitely not alone.

What parents often don’t see is that there’s a bigger picture.

And in that bigger picture, the extreme emotions and behavior and the relationship strain is not only a universal tween and teen thing, it’s a universal human thing.

We do all of those things when we lose our bearings too, only the volume and intensity is a little lower. I’ll bet we did one of those very things last week.

Fortunately, tweens and teens are not just small versions of adults. This is not how they’ll be when they’re older. Their chemistry will calm down and they’ll naturally develop more maturity, self-awareness, and overall will feel more stable and secure within themselves.

A majority of adults, myself included, had emotions like rage, hatred, depression, anxiety and insecurity in clinical, diagnose-able amounts.

Tweens and teens grow and change at a rate that's faster and more intense than any other phase in their lives besides infancy. All that chaos and instability wreaks havoc on their moods, emotions, and psychology.

So try not to panic.

For most parents, simply getting some insight into the emotion and behavior of this age group can bring enough perspective to calm everything down on your side of the equation. A little bit of understanding helps parents react and escalate much much less. And that can calm down the whole house.

In today’s video I bring some of that perspective and understanding to you.

I hope it helps.

To watch, click here or below.


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