Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA
According to research, youth who have 3 or more adult role models (in addition to their parents) are less likely to engage in unsafe behaviours including, sex, drugs, and alcohol. The adult role models can be athletic coaches, teachers, extended family members, or a member from the church/ temple/ synagogue. Unfortunately, today’s communities are larger and as a result are less intimate leaving teens without the support previous generations were able to give to youth.
Life coaching for teens has been increasing in popularity. Similar to other role models, life coaches are trained individuals (be sure to always check credentials!!) who can guide your teen to think and behave in a self-serving manner. Coaching is about teaching youth to CREATE their life as opposed to be swept away by it. The benefits of coaching are widely recognized.
The benefits include:
1. Guiding and teaching teens how to think for themselves
2. Helping youth develop a self-identity, including how to think about their place in the family, school, and community
3. Promoting positive relationships with family members
4. Understanding the meaning of responsibility and accountability (responsibility is more than just chores and homework)
In addition to the many benefits, life coaching for teens often focuses on the following area (depending on individual programs). The 4 components serve to provide guidance to teens as they transition from childhood to adolescence and over into adulthood.
1. Self-awareness: Sometimes it is difficult to connect how our actions lead to outcomes. Many individuals see life as unfair fate or just plain luck. Life coaches show teens how to make choices that are in line with who they are in order to create the life they want. This way they do not need to count on luck for things to go their way.
2. Self-esteem and confidence: Self-confidence is based on self-esteem and self-esteem is based on how we interpret events in the world, including how we interpret others’ comments, our setbacks, and what we think about our place in the world. It is determined based on whether we focus on our strengths or weaknesses on our success or our failures. Showing youth to put things into perspective will raise self-esteem and confidence levels.
3. Choose and plan goals: Everyone has values, strengths, and needs. It is important we choose goals based on strengths and values to ensure goals are fulfilling. Picking goals because others expect us to pick them almost always leads to disappointment. Life coaches show teens how to recognize the goals important to them from the goals important to others.
4. Empowerment: Increased self-awareness, raised self-esteem and confidence levels, and choosing and planning goals all give teens a new perspective on life. This new knowledge empowers and motivates them. They learn that life does not happen randomly and they learn that when something does not go as planned they still have a choice on how to react.
Best Wishes to Your Family!
Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto