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The Coach’s Corner is a section of the newsletter devoted to family coaching, and the use of coaching skills in working with parents of struggling teens and young adults in their homes, or while they have a child in program. Coaching in this case can be either an alternative to residential placement when appropriate, a resource for program staff or as an aid in supporting families of young people transitioning home from wilderness or residential programs. The COACH’S CORNER welcomes submissions regarding Coaching (such as essays, research, articles, news, etc.) from anyone.

The Coach’s Corner was started by Woodbury Reports, Bill Valentine, Founder of Next Step For Success, and the accredited coaches of Next Step Coach Training, with “real life” condensed snapshots of what Coaching is about.


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Posted: Feb 6, 2008, 09:13

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By Randy & Colleen Russell

The journey from childhood to adulthood is one of the most important developmental tasks a young person will face in his or her lifetime. To become adults, they will have to leave the comforts of home and face a world of unknowns. It is the ultimate hero/ heroine's journey fraught with obstacles and setbacks. These are necessary trials and tribulations for developing the strength and purpose for being a healthy adult.

These same adolescent obstacles can also be challenging for parents as they struggle to let go. Knowing how to empower, rather than enable, is sometimes confusing. This is why it is helpful for a parent to keep in mind that the underlying goal of healthy parenting is to prepare sons and daughters to be self-reliant, independent individuals who are at home on this planet and in the culture they plan to live in.

Your parenting is most effective when it matches your child's learning style and developmental stage of maturity. As they move from early adolescence to adulthood it is best to systematically expand them into "self-management" rather than "parent-management." This can be done by reinforcing wise actions with positive emotional support and earned freedom.

It is vitally important to have adult mentors to assist with this maturation process. Other adults can say and do transformative things with your young person where you as "the parent" might be resisted. In indigenous cultures this mentoring role was preformed by the other adult tribal members and especially the Elders. The Elders would personally mentor budding young adults to initiate the discovery of authentic identity and refine their skills for success.

Many parents do not understand the significance and timeliness of their own life transitions. In most cases, parents are entering the second stage of adulthood (midlife) while their children are entering first adulthood. This is actually an advantage if the parents will bravely embrace their own life changes. The parents' example will positively benefit their maturing young person.

In the next issues, we will explore ten steps a parent can take to successfully empower and launch their adolescent into adulthood while expanding their own life in the process.

The Ten Steps to Empowering and Launching Your Young Adult are:

  1. Be the example of a balanced and meaningful adult life worth emulating

  2. Courageously embrace your own transition into second adulthood

  3. Make "child parenting" your job rather than your identity

  4. Treat adolescence as a necessary temporary multi-chaotic identity phase

  5. Help your child build a foundation through self-discovery of their unique strengths

  6. Teach your young person to focus on assets rather than fears

  7. Wean your adolescent from "being parented" to inspired "self government"

  8. Enlist other adults to mentor your child through adolescence and early adulthood

  9. Encourage and support at least one "life-altering adventure"

  10. Create and perform rituals that formally end childhood and begin adulthood

About the authors:
Randy and Colleen Russell direct Parent Workshops for Empowering Young Adults and lead workshops and coaching for families and individuals. For more information call 208-255-2290 or visit


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