Parents - an Ideal Coach - Bharathi Kaza

Ask any student, artist or an achiever in any field, who is their coach or guru? Pat comes the reply. My mom or dad is my best coach or a mentor. It's true, the world's hardest acquired jewel is being the finest mom or dad. The toughest job is parenting a teenager.

At the tender adolescent years, a parent becomes a coach. A parent participates actively in the child's significant physical, emotional and intellectual development. The parent has very little choicethe child's separation process has clearly begun. At this stage, many parents would argue that their role more closely resembles that of a traffic controller, a school principal or a drill master, but a parent's job at this stage is to support a dramatic leap in a teenager's physical, emotional and intellectual development. This can be a particularly painful time, since teenagers test their limits through conflict. Positive family relationships, proper communication is very essential to ensure healthy development of a child.

As a constant coach, a parent should create a safe space with clear expectations. In such situations a teenager can test himself or herself in both failure and success. As already stated, with clear space the teenager will grow up with reason and responsibility. Ideally, this should be a time of shared control, when the parents continually shift more and more responsibility to the teenager, as the teenager demonstrates a capability for sound judgment and decision-making.

The key skills you'll need during the coaching phase are:

  1. Ability to listen
  2. Control your own emotions
  3. Constant friend and distant guide
  4. An able friend and genuine critic
  5. A compassionate and a convincing senior
  6. Above all a mentor with the spice of divinity

These qualities in a parent are sure to attract the innocent and intelligent teenage brains. Now, the association with the parent works as a learning opportunity for the teenager. Teenagers are experts at creating highly charged emotional situations to avoid dealing with the real problems that are confronting them. They are also experts at using conflict as a tool to distract their parents from discussing important issues. A teenager knows that she has won the fight the minute her mother says, "You can't talk to me like that!" or "you cannot back answer me!" Now she doesn't have to deal with the real problem. She can instead wrestle with the ongoing and unanswerable issue of showing her respect to the parents.

As parents assume the role of a mentor, the emotional differences are lifted and the willingness to care has been well understood. This indicates that the silent war is slowly coming to an end. Parents need to treat the teenager as a perfect adult. The teenager becomes quite independent and it is the stage of cutting of the apron strings.

An adult-to-adult relationship will continue between the parent and the child. Parenting is in other way an Art of management. This relationship is based on model built on new parenting skills and behaviors. Here starts the role of a parent in supporting the development of their teens into capable young adults. A fundamental concept of psychology is that we cannot change another person; if possible we can only add reason in their thinking patterns.

Most parents know what makes a good leader; they have seen the qualities demonstrated either at work or in their communities. These same skills can be adapted to the process of raising successful, independent young adults. A parent has to be a good leader for their off spring to follow their footsteps.

This is not to say you should treat your teenager like an employee. In fact, enlightened managers have come to understand that if they are to achieve their highest level of performance, not even employees should be treated like employees. A spice of attachment and emotional relation is inevitable to keep any relation alive for a long time. Leadership strategy focused on building a respectful environment that empowers each individual is essential to inspire successful performance, whether at home or at work.

Today's parents have to internalize the art of getting things done by others. They have to extend the same skill and efficiency of work place; even at home to remain ideal parents. The thought "because I'm the parent and I said so" does not work any more.

A fundamental challenge facing all parents is trying to negotiate a new role for themselves in their relationship with their children. As children grow they change. They expect parents to be idealistic. So the parenting skills need to be polished time to time. Parents need to be ready upgrading their skill sparenting techniques that work when a child is 10 will be hopelessly out of sync with a teenager. Your initial parental role as a caregiver is natural. For newborns and infants need complete attention and protection in order to survive. Communication takes place on a "call-and-response" level the infant or toddler cries, and the parent attends to what probably is a very obvious problem. A parent becomes more of a nurturer as a child begins to talk and interact with people outside the immediate family. Throughout the primary grades and middle-school years, parents begin to teach their children to function in the world. In many ways these years are an ideal time for parents, because their children are capable at times of functioning on their own and yet remain totally dependent upon their parents. During this period, children idolize and even imitate their parents. But a five-year-old or an 11-year-old who tells you "I want to be just like you" soon turns into a 12-year-old who yells, "You're a stupid idiot".

In order to enable a teenager grow more sensible:

  1. Insert reason in all thoughts and actions.
  2. Involve teenager in planning
  3. Relate the instances at home level with the outside world.
  4. Focus on mock problems and try deriving solutions.
  5. Experiment on micro problems and try to focus on similar issues at macro level.

With this kind of realistic exercise children gain hands on experience with the worldly situations. This will help in enhancing the child's confidence and in turn boost self-esteem and positive outlook.

Only an ideal parent can become an ideal coach and expect to mould today's children into responsible youth.


From : Bharathi
22nd Mar' 2010

More : Articles on India