Parents can provide support in a fashion similar to that given in coaching, in a slightly different context. When parents listen to their teen they can empathize with their teen’s concerns, celebrate successes, and clarify their teen’s needs and the parent’s requests. In doing so, parents will be providing nonjudgmental support. For example, a mom might help her son stay focused on completing his research paper by offering to keep younger siblings downstairs; a dad might help his daughter celebrate a week of on-time arrivals at school by inviting her out to dinner. Parents can provide support by being there and remaining present and attentive to their teens.
As for providing structure, parents can encourage young people to draw on specific tools and strategies from coaching, when needed, such as doable action steps, regular routines, and the use of a daily planner, and to practice self-care, such as exercise, deep breathing, or getting extra sleep. Parents may find that guiding the adolescent or young adult back toward structure can be particularly helpful when the young person appears to be getting distracted, becoming discouraged, or falling off the wagon on the path toward his or her goals.
Parents can also provide structure in the way of accountability. For example, mom might check in at the end of each day and ask, “How is your schoolwork coming?” This lets the young person know that mom cares and is paying attention; it also provides an opportunity for that young person to express concerns and troubleshoot them with mom.
Have a great weekend!