My Blog:

A Dose of Insight

Updated: Mar 3

Something I noticed this week about the business owners, teens, and parents I work with is that when life gets messy, they often get stuck in the very same ways.

Even though their worlds are very different, they react to struggle in similar ways that make things harder.

I think we all get that way.

But I found myself sharing a few points that seem to help all of them start to get a learning curve about handling the messes.

My teen client, a driven and high-achieving student, did badly on an exam, and is so frustrated and disappointed with herself it’s keeping her awake at night.

The parents I worked with this week have run out of patience with the drama and conflict with their two teen daughters.

Whether we’re used to being good at things, or whether life’s been hard all along, dealing with life’s messes can send anyone into a tailspin.

What’s helped me as a parent, in my work, and as a person, is realizing that messiness is a part of life. It’s a fixed thing.

Even in the areas we think we’ve done everything ‘right.’ And even if we’ve worked so hard we deserve a break.

Life just happens, fair or not.

And while we can’t avoid the messy-ness, there are things we can change in the way we relate to the messy side of life. That alone can make an enormous difference in how things play out for us, and how fast we recover from each ‘messy episode.’

We can learn to keep our bearings in a way that makes us more resilient and more hearty over time, instead of becoming more bitter and insecure over time.

That’s what today’s video is about.


Today’s recorded interview talks about how the struggles and challenges young adults face are different from those parents faced as young adults.

As someone that’s been coaching teens for two decades, a bigger percentage seem to struggle with things like anxiety, suicidal thoughts, cutting, and addictive behaviors than my clients in the past.

They also have to navigate the effects of social media and electronics in a way parents didn’t have to.

Issues like those can feel a little foreign to parents because they don’t quite understand how to help or influence their kids in a way that protects them.

But parents also end up feeling overwhelmed, unsettled, and intimidated by these things and can get carried away in worry or anxiety themselves, or get into a power struggle with their kids.

What hasn’t changed is that young adults are just as resilient as we were. We dealt with problems our parents didn’t understand or didn’t know about, and we found our way. We were good at figuring things out along the way and learning from mistakes. Today’s young adults are just as capable.

As parents, finding some confidence within yourself about your kids’ ability to navigate life will help support them in the biggest possible way. That’s one of the most essential things my parents did for me when I struggled before I accepted any help.

That’s one of the things I point to in today’s recording.


This interview was hosted by my colleague Del Adey-Jones as part of a video series. For more videos in this series, click here.

Side note: the live workshop in Los Angeles that I mention in this recording has come and gone. But you can check my website periodically or subscribe to my email list to hear about future offerings.

A common struggle for teens is the frustration and stress from having overbearing parents.

Just today I talked with a 17-year-old client that’s considered the most responsible, sensible, and mature of his friend group, yet has the most restrictive parents of all his friends.

He has a more rigid curfew, more rules around dating, shows he can watch, apps he can use, and what areas of town he’s allowed to go. He spends huge amounts of time either fighting or arguing with his parents or feeling resentful, underestimated, or outraged.

What bothers him most is the sense of unfairness given how responsible he is, and that there’s no way to make it right. There’s nobody to complain to that will let him argue his case and make an objective ruling.

His parents can do whatever they want, they don’t have to listen to him, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

On top of the pressure he feels around school and his future, trying to handle his social anxiety, plus all the other problems in his life, he's constantly worrying about how to avoid being a drag on the group plans because he has to leave early or has other restrictions his friends end up having to deal with.

He stresses constantly about whether his parents will say no to ‘last-minute plans,’ which are by far the most common type of plan in the teen world. Last-minute plans are seen as disorganized and suspicious to his parents, so they often refuse to let him participate.

So for this guy, the fact that his parents knowingly create more stress for him has become the worst of all his problems. In his world, parents are supposed to be supportive and ‘in his corner.’ And in reality, they’ve become villains and antagonists.

From what I've noticed, parents tend to fall on a giant continuum of involvement and restriction. Some parents have no restrictions, either because they consciously decided that, or because their focus is on other things. Maybe they're struggling themselves. So they’re ‘hands off’ by default.

On the other end of the continuum, there are parents that are very much involved in the mechanics and the workings of their kids’ lives on an hourly or daily basis.

And there’s everything in between.

The tricky part is that parenting is one giant gray area. There are no rules or formulas. There’s no right way.

And in the grand scheme of things, parents are writing the script as they go along and can only do what makes sense to them.

So why did this 17 year old land in a house with strict parents and his best friend landed in a more “relaxed and basically better in every way” (his words) house?

I have no idea.

But I do know that with each ‘parenting package,’ there are upsides and downsides. That's one of the things I talk about in today's video.

I also know that just like you, every parent wakes up in the morning wanting to be a good person and do the right thing.

Sometimes a little understanding of this dilemma (which ultimately teens and parents are in together) helps neutralize some of the outrage and insult that teens feel in such huge amounts.

And a little insight may offer a way to approach conversations that get more results, more give and take, and more respect, consideration, and partnership.

That’s what today’s video is about.

Being a teen isn't easy. In many ways, it's MUCH harder than being a parent of a teen.

I hope this video helps, even if it's just a little.

Click below to watch.

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