I Don’t Want to be Mothered, I Need a Coach
5 mins read

I Don’t Want to be Mothered, I Need a Coach

How to Identify When Teens Want Coaching, Not Parental Advice

I am a mother of two incredible children, a daughter and a son. I nurtured them, loved them deeply, and did everything I could to protect them from danger.

But being a parent means more than just mothering.

I learned this while attending grad school to become a life coach in my 40s. A guest professor taught that coaching isn’t just for adults — it’s for teens, too. He shared how he, someone who had dyslexia himself, had to learn to coach his teens on how to navigate their own dyslexia.

That’s when I knew I had to be a life coach for my teens and not just a nurturer.

The Difference Between Nurturers and Coaches

What is a nurturer? Mothers and fathers nurture their children through kind and loving actions, encouragement for growth, and structure and discipline. Nurturers are there to hold their child’s hand as they discover themselves and the world.

But a life coach takes a slightly different approach.

Life coaches let go of the child’s hand and instead instruct them from the side. A key aspects of a life coach’s role is to provide guidance and support.

I’ve worked as a life coach for more than a decade, and in this role, I’ve help clients to set goals for themselves and helped them create the action plans to achieve them. I also educate and teach — oftentimes, I provide lessons about the skills needed to reach one’s potential.

Life coaches act as guides, motivators, and facilitators to help clients reach their goals.

A life coach essentially relinquishes some of the responsibility the parent has and instead trusts the teen to handle challenges on their own. Coaches don’t step out of the picture when challenges arise for teens, rather than cheer them on and give them guidance on how to handle it on their own.

Why Do Teens Need Life Coaching?

Teens are in a time of their lives when they are learning to advocate for themselves and push boundaries. Adolescents start to pull away from their parents and assert their own independence.

At this age, teens aren’t good at self-regulating as they lack the maturity to manage their emotions and behavior. They struggle to calm themselves down when they get upset.

While parents still have responsibility for their child’s well-being and safety, they now must navigate how to take steps back in that. Teens need to learn how to react and navigate challenges and grow on their own.

Parents can continue to provide feedback to their teens, so long as it is non-judgmental and non-emotional. For example, be wise when providing input on the teen’s long-term goals, such as school, driving, relationships, and consumption habits with media and substances.

Guide teens gently as they figure out these things and encounter challenges with them. And as teens grow in responsible behavior, it is healthy for parents to give them more independence.

Learning to Become a Life Coach

Life coaching, at its core, is a set of techniques that are used to help improve lives. Coaching uses a combination of focusing on the present while reflecting on the past to influence the future.

Coaches focus on the big and small steps needed to grow behaviors and change habits. As we know, human behavior is learned through methods and observation.

We have the ability to incorporate new habits and patterns to impact every part of our lives.

Being a coach is also all about open communication and listening. With teens especially, parents need to have open conversations and dialogue. I recommend that parents create a safe space where teens can freely share feelings and ideas. This means creating a space without distractions and where the teen is comfortable. Also, parents, make sure you listen more than you speak— you may be astonished by how much teenagers will confide in you if they feel they are really being listened to.

Coaches should also offer a few structured questions to help teens as they share. Questions can help teens learn to examine challenges and goals better so they can figure out what the next best move is.

For example, I recommend parents ask their teens questions like: How does this make you feel and why? Visualize yourself overcoming or achieving this: What actions are needed to do that? Share examples of similar situations you’ve faced in the past. What lessons can you apply from them to the most recent situation?

When parents learn to coach their teens and not just nurture them, numerous benefits will follow:

  • Teens learn life skills that enable them overcome setbacks and challenges.
  • Teens are given a model that motivates them to change their behaviors.
  • Teens learn to appreciate the present so they can be less anxious about the future.
  • Teens gain knowledge of how to make better choices and how to analyze the outcome of their decisions.

Nurturing is so vital for our children, but as they mature, life coaching is the next tool needed to help them grow up.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments