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“You’re Not An Alcoholic Until You Graduate” – The Collegiate Code Of Stupidity

We spend insane amounts of time, money and energy getting kids into college, and no where near enough preparing them to succeed there.

Things that teens need to know before they go off to college:
There’s a discussion I have with every client of mine before they go off to college.
In it I outline the 4 most common mistakes people make that leads them to become part of the 34% of incoming College Freshman who do not return to that school the next year, or even semester… and the 60+% who take 5 or more years to graduate a 4 year program.
 
Having received too many calls from parents after their kids have made these mistakes, I have a lot of examples to draw upon.
 
In short – and in no particular order, they go:
 
1) **Failing to manage their academics without all the coddling and crutches they are used to and often then winding up dropping classes or on Academic Probation**:
 
e.g. When no one is taking attendance, teachers aren’t updating the website with homework reminders, grades are based on few things and no one is emailing their parents…
2) **Lacking the emotional and social maturity to be away from home: **
 
Can you get by without having your own private bedroom to retreat to, without your parents managing your health and well being, able to deal with challenging roommates and starting from scratch socially, etc. Many kids are not prepared for how hard it is to be away and then they crumble emotionally.
 
3) **Getting there and quickly realizing you chose the wrong school:**
 
You chose because of status (most common), proximity or because friends went there… and in more and more cases, because your parents and/or advisors told you to choose that school. Then you get there and realize all the ways in which it is not a match for you (“I don’t know why I chose this school, I am so not a city person… I should have gone somewhere with a traditional campus and lots of space” . Or “It is so small after a few weeks I feel like I know everyone and I should have gone somewhere much bigger..” – two recent conversations)
 
4) **Over-doing it with the “partying”,becoming a nuisance and winding up on Social Probation (or Parent Probation!).**
 
It’s one thing to get black out drunk once and learn from it. It’s another when you become that person others have to continually “take care of” or the one who urinates in the stairwell then vomits in the hallway the next week, or drunkenly sleeps with half the campus… Your reputation quickly goes from fun person to go out with to someone who is annoying, embarrassing and/or undesirable. Do this too much and you will pay the price socially and quickly wind up on the radar screen of the school… or be banned/ dropped by Fraternities and Sororities.
 
While the vast majority of conversations I have with college students are about managing the social world and adjusting to being away from home, the one that concerns me most urgently, is how many calls I get from parents after their kids have gotten in trouble with #4 – drinking/drugs/partying:
 
The story is almost always the same:
 
They went to college assuming partying is just a fun, safe extra-curricular activity like they see in the movies and hear about from older siblings, only to discover that a little drinking and experimenting, quickly leads to a hell of a lot of problems.
 
We are familiar with the tragic stories of deaths related to hazing in Fraternities, but there are countless other dangerous and even tragic stories, that most people don’t hear about.
 
One client went to a prominent competitive admission college that is well known for its cavalier attitude towards substance use, from the campus to the community it is in. His first semester there, 5 students died: one was a suicide, the others were alcohol and drug overdose or accident related. At a campus of 5000 students, that is 1 in 1000 in one semester. This client eventually left the school and looks back on it now and clearly sees how unhealthy and irresponsible the environment was, and how ill-prepared he was to manage it.
 
I cringe every time someone enthusiastically tells me they “got in” there. His story about that school is not isolated… and it is not just at that school.
 
In fact, every client I have knows people personally who was a high achiever in high school, then who went to college and came home early, and also knows of ones who never came home at all.
 
This culture of “the blind leading the blind” that goes on on these campuses, is deeply concerning and I would argue, should be to every parent who is sending their kids off to college in today’s culture.
 
Everything you read in the news about toxicity of today’s majiuana and the dangers of psychosis, of the binge drinking culture and of the high risk lifestyle associated with this aspect of college life, is true. Everything.
 
I hear the stores first hand. I help them try and recover and reset their lives, too often, after the fall.
 
I wish you could have heard when one kid told me his friends would regularly group text “Let’s go Black Out!” and openly confess they did not even think twice about the risks associated as they would repeatedly drink so much that they wouldn’t remember their night.
 
It wasn’t until he wound up almost killing someone in a bar fight that he realized this was seriously dangerous.
 
Last August I did a program at a Summer Camp in the Poconos with a group of young staff members who were heading off to freshman year in college after camp.
 
I told them I could either talk with them about the challenges they face working as a camp counselor, or I could talk to them about how not to fuck up in college from someone who will tell them what college promotional brochures and tour guides will never tell them.
 
They chose the latter.
 
For the next 90 minutes they were spellbound and locked in engaged with me as I went through story after story of kids who kicked ass in high school socially and or academically, then crumbled in college… where they made their mistakes and what they could learn from it.
 
Then one by one they began to reference stories of their own… I hear these stories from 18 year olds like them all the time:
 
About kids from a year earlier at their high school who failed out of college… about kids who were near 5.0 GPAs who couldn’t handle being away from home… about their own sister who wound up moving back home and attending the local Community College after her social world collapsed because of a guy she drunkenly hooked up with and the social fallout she suffered because of who he had been dating… and about one whose cousin wound up in a psych hospital because of a psychotic break after a bad drug trip.
 
Many times these kids come back and tell me how grateful they are to have been told all this ahead of time… and how it influenced decisions they made.
 
Sometimes it doesn’t become real to them until they have a tube down their throat pumping their stomach.
 
A few days ago I had a conversation with a college freshman who was crushing it academically at an elite school, involved in activities on campus, making a ton of friends, being recruited by a popular fraternity… and almost wound up dead from substance overdose early last week – all from just casual normal partying.
The difference for him was that unlike the boy at Penn State whose “brothers” stepped over him while he died on the floor, his friends had enough sense to get him to the ER where they saved his life. 
 
These are calls no parents wants to receive. These are conversations too few are having in any way that does it justice.
 
We spend insane amounts of time, money and energy getting kids into college, and no where near enough preparing them to succeed there.
 

I have built my professional life on my ability to connect with these bright intense driven kids, and become a voice they listen to. . . and I can be this for your son or daughter too.

 
Extra semesters in college because they fell behind and dropped classes or kept switching majors or just screwed up in general.… doctors bills (and in too many cases lawyers bills) all add up… My fees are a fraction of that to offer a service that has proven again and again to be a game changer for so many college aged young adults who are faced with challenges, decisions and circumstances that tax their capacity to thrive in.
 
I will help ensure they do.
 
Reach out to me privately if you’d like to learn more. It is the greatest honor of my life to offer this knowledge to your kids.
 

Therapeutic Treatment Vs A Different Way Of Life

Psychotherapy Or Evolution Mentoring:

Receiving Psychological Treatment  vs Learning and Adopting A Different Way Of Life

I’ve had several conversations with people recently trying to better understand the distinctions in the “Mentoring in A Way Of Life” that I offer versus the Treatment for Mental Illness that psychotherapists and doctors offer.

I thought I’d write a little more about this as I haven’t updated it in print in several years (though I wrote a whole book about it which I published in 2016).

Something Broken OR A Lot To Learn?

The fundamental premise I start with is 180 degrees in contrast to the medical clinical model.

The Medical model begins with the premise that there is something wrong that needs to be treated/fixed/healed using techniques, clinical treatment plans and interventions which sometimes includes  medication. 

In the Evolution Mentoring Model, I believe there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the people I work with, but there is a lot wrong with the system we are raising them in. I believe they have limited knowledge and a very narrow, often highly skewed life/worldview that causes them to get limited results, depend to heavily on the approval of others and often leads to them over-reacting to things that don’t warrant it.

The people they work with become their patient. 

The people I work with become my client.

When my clients integrate enough of the character traits that become a Way of Life that I describe below, they are no longer inhibited by the issues that led them to reach out in the first place, and instead are leading confident, secure, deeply connected, satisfying adventurous lives.

Over the years, more than half of the people who contact me, do so  after they have tried the conventional routes and not gotten the results they wanted, or felt they reached the limits of what that could offer and are seeking more or different. 

Though I am quite learned about the various clinical models out there and find them effective in certain cases for sure (and regularly work in conjunction with people who are on medication that seems to help them stabilize), I will write here only about mine.

A Different Way Of Life

Everything I teach my clients stems from a combination of personal life experience, professional training and professional life experience. Some of this I figured out on my own. Some of this I was explicitly taught by others. Some of it comes from things non-professionals have said in random moments that offered profound clarity. The stories are too many to recount in a single blog. 

It comes from a 30 year long fascination I have had with people who seem to lead the most magical lives… people who have “That Thing” that seems to enable them to stay positive, upbeat and adventurously alive, regardless of what obstacles they have… People whose charisma regularly lights up a room or whose joy and presence lights up the lives of the people they are with… people who make the world feel bigger and better for those who get the chance to know them… people who accomplish amazing things in spite of everything life throws at them…

Mentoring offers an opportunity for an apprentice to learn, grow, evolve, adopt and integrate a new skill set, mindset and lifestyle that has been extrapolated from what I have learned and gained from these people. 

When what is being offered is the right match, it empowers them to “cross the threshold” and launch into their own autonomous life. They take with them what they gained from the Mentor, add in their own learning and make their own life.

The goal isn’t to make the apprentice a carbon copy of the Mentor, rather it is to equip the apprentice to the live the quality and calibre of life that becomes available when they integrate the value they gain.

Unlike “Life Coaches” whose role is to help their client set goals and think clearly and perform better but who can be an asshole outside of it,  who the Mentor is, how the Mentor lives and what the Mentor offers as a model, all matters. In some ways, it’s the greatest leverage of this model and the greatest challenge.

The famous parable about Ghandi and the mother who wanted him to tell her son to stop being addicted to chocolate illustrates this. 

Ghandi sends her away and tells her to come back in a few weeks. When she does he turns to the boy and says “Young man, STOP eating so much chocolate!” The woman asks “If that is all you are going to say, why didn’t you just say that two weeks ago?” To which Ghandi famously replied “Because two weeks ago, I was addicted to chocolate!”

Relationship vs Technique

Because who the Mentor is and internal congruence matters so much, the most effective work of Mentoring is often conveyed and leveraged through the relationship. This is one of the reasons that my Clients often so value the relationship we form because it feels “so real” to them… because it is. It’s not just because they can call or text any time, though that helps.

While I have select boundaries at all times, when they ask me “How are you?” I actually tell them… even if I am having a shitty day and going through a challenging time. 

What follows then is also demonstrating, discussing or modeling how to be going through a lot of external challenges, but doing it in a way where I don’t become the victim, where I stay composed under pressure and learn how to get through things even when it isn’t easy or pleasant. 

This self-honesty and sharing may sound insignificant, but it is actually profound.There is no pretense towards a false image of perfection, rather an embracing of what it is to be human but handled in a different more empowering way. 

It was these interactions I had in the world that helped me to design this model and develop this lifestyle. Often these things I learned from these people I’ve modeled my life after, came from observations of how they lived, not through conversation… just by noticing and modeling people who engaged in the world in a way that I admired, envied and wanted to adopt.

These people shared a number of qualities in common… Here are 22 of the most essential and universal:
  1. Excitatory Possibilities Bias: They always prioritize finding solutions and staying positively oriented.  They avoid getting negative, dwelling in cynicism and feeling hopeless – including not engaging in conversations with people who want to do this. Misery loves company. People who subscribe to the Way of Life I am teaching, don’t want that company. 
  1. Never a Victim: They always take responsibility for their role in what has happened in their life…they own the decisions they made that allowed for things to happen. This gives them personal power and also the possibility to learn and to minimize or eliminate the chances of these things happening to them again. Even if their role was only 5% of what happened, they own it.   Just yesterday I walked a 17 year old through this mindset regarding an accident he was in which he claimed was not at all his fault… by the end of the talk he could see how there were things he could do differently going forward that would minimize the risk of this kind of thing happening again… things he never saw when he felt he had no responsibility in what happened. It will make him a better safer driver… more importantly it will make him a more powerful human being. 
  1. Life is an Adventure: Many many people, especially Get Z’s who I work with now (22 and under) approach the future with fear or hesitation. They choose career paths that are “safer” even though the work involved holds no personal interest to them … they choose to move where they already know people, instead of go out there and meet the friends they haven’t made yet… they only go to an event if someone they know is going, rather then go on their own and have the experience, etc etc etc. (“I’m not being cynical” they argue, “I am just being realistic!”)              The Way Of Life I teach instead embraces a mindset that Life is an Adventure, and an adventure Always demands at points, the Courage to go into the unknown. So they must embrace the Adventure and build their capacity to live with the experience and feeling of “not knowing”… and develop the ability to have the “5 seconds of Courage” they will need to get what they most want in life. 
  1. True Respect & Humility & Gratitude. The people I modeled this work after treat everyone in their world with Respect. They have a genuine Humility that stems from knowing that their experience and their kids may matter immeasurably to themselves, but it doesn’t mean that they are any more special or important in the world than anyone else.   Thus they are gracious, kind and polite towards everyone, until there becomes a reason not to be. So often people in the service industry or blue collar workers get used to being treated as disposable, and the difference it makes when they are treated as humans who matter is profound. Kids who get set aside at the kids table light up when an adult engages them and treats them like their opinions matter, etc etc etc… This attitude also better prepares them for the realities of the world when they find that their membership in an elite school means nothing to their bosses who want them to be able to actually produce results in the real world. Better to get that” you may be talented but you aren’t special” now, then to be destroyed later when you learn you sense of specialness was built on flawed narrow thinking. 
  1. Make their own rules: They do things their way and are not restricted in their actions and choices by all the rules of social norms that most people subscribe to out of ignorance, naivety or fear. From making bold choices to start businesses without degrees  to talking their way into amazing opportunities (I have one colleague who got into a PhD program without ever having earned a BA) to things as simple as breaking all the standard dating rules (like “I can’t open his message yet or I will seem desperate” or “she’s out of my league”), the examples are endless as are the possibilities that open up when a person decides to stop being inhibited by arbitrary social rules disguised as truths. 
  1. Playfulness and healthy positive sense of humor: I often tell my clients that I believe I would go insane in this current world if I didn’t have a sense of humor and I have often been ribbed because of my propensity to “laugh at your own jokes”… But I don’t do this by default, rather by design. I wasn’t born this way!

Too many things happen that can lead to overwhelm of stress, rage at the system or become justification for cynicism, and being able to laugh at things or at the absurdity in life or even at one’s self, is a game changer, maybe even a life saver. It is a quality I find consistent in everyone I encounter who leads the kind of extraordinary lives that I built this model to emulate.

It takes some getting used to – especially for clients I work with who have been heavily therapized and taught to take identify by their issues, but if they stick around this work long enough, sooner or later they come to appreciate the ability to find some lightness even amidst very real challenges and hard times. One of my favorite examples of this was a guy who came to one of our programs in England and when asked what he wanted replied “To laugh!” His was the best answer of all and his story from who he was then to who he is now, is an amazing one. I spoke about him in my TED Talk.

  1. Commitment To Self-Education and Life Long Learning: They read and invest in learning, often a lot. They take in multiple perspectives and are open to opinions and world views that differ from their own. Its not that there isn’t a time to unwind with mindless entertainment media, it’s that learning, being knowledgeable and intellectually engaged is an ongoing priority. “I never let school get in the way of my education” Samual Clemons…and I would add in “never let the responsibilities of life or the temptations of instant gratification get in the way of staying awake, current and knowledgeable” and never let the lack of easy access to information become an excuse to not go out there and get it anyway. 
  1. Decisive – Wise Decision Makers: Being a person who can make decisions based on quick calculations and appropriate assessments of contextually relevant criteria is a vital skill to get results in life. Being a person who can recognize when they don’t know enough and can assertively seek out relevant information to enable them to responsibly make decisions is an equally important one.  
  1. Don’t Take Things Personally That Aren’t: The ability to mentally separate what’s about self and what’s about other is requisite for maturity. Few people do it well which makes them far too susceptible to being impacted by the opinions of others and dependent upon approval from the world around them for their own sense of self-worth and well-being. One of the benchmarks of success in my model is when a client goes from calling me in tears about the comments or actions some classmate did towards them to calling me laughing saying “You are not going to believe what they did today…!! “ and then we share a laugh over the pettiness that consumes so many people’s lives. 
  1. Have Uncompromising Boundaries: To become abundantly clear about where people fit in their lives and haveappropriate boundaries based on what relationship they have. This way they do not overshare or place trust in people they shouldn’t be sharing things with or trusting so much. It also means they become the kind of person who can truly be trusted.

One of the exercises I do with every client is “Circles of Relationship” where I help them visualize the different types of relationships they have in life and clarify for themselves what boundaries to have based on these. This includes becoming clear what signs and evidence needs to be present to inform them when to move someone into a different circle. Many adolescents suck at this and surprisingly a number adults still do as well.

  1. Minimize Self-Medicating Mind Altering Substances: Alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, LSD, etc are all substances that make you less present, more impaired and in most cases, are bad for your health. While there exists the outlier cases of people who use these to excess regularly and still function at their peak, for most people it has the opposite effect – especially marijuana. Moderation is often the excuse that leads to mediocrity. Almost everyone I know who leads the calibre of life that I built this model on, reaches a point where they either quit these all together, or use them scarcely. Living in a “bottle of wine a night”culture may be the norm, but is not indicative of a healthy life affirming life style. 
  1. Make and Keep Commitments: In a culture that has become more and more “out of sight out of mind” people who keep their commitments stand out. They send a signal to the world that they are trustworthy, they respect others and are reliable. I urge my clients to be people who avoid making excuses and deal with the inconveniences to always show up for others regardless of other factors. No one believes that you “aren’t feeling well”… so don’t be another one of the untrustworthy unreliable masses. 
  1. Fight Like Hell When Needed: Don’t be a pushover. Stand up for yourself and the people and issues that matter to you. Learn how to ensure people receive and respect the Message, without dismissing it because of the messenger.  Be physical when necessity demands it. Own your space in the world. Don’t play it small when playing it small will keep you from having have your life.You must master the art of keeping your focus and poise, even when you are surrounded by those who have mastered the art of intimidation and persuasion. 
  1. Manage Your State – Emotionally Regulate: Build the capacity to stay composed under pressure to perform under pressure… to stay calm in crisis and compartmentalize distractions to focus on the urgency of the task at hand. This is living from the inside out. “My boyfriend just broke up with me” is not an excuse to do poorly on an exam.
  1. Surround Yourself With Vibrant, Healthy, Life-Affirming People: We are deeply impacted by the people we surround ourselves with. Their attitudes, energy, beliefs and lifestyle influences us. Surround yourself with people who are thoughtful, moral, loyal, lively, positive, engaged… Better to be home with a good book than spending your time dwelling with people who suck the air out of the room. 

  1. Develop Mature, Sophisticated Communication and Relationship Skills:  Of all the skills that matter most in life success, nothing comes close to financial, communication and relationship skills.. and yet these subjects are three of the least attended to in our schooling. The vast majority of what I do with my clients includes teaching them everything I possibly can about relationship and communication. It is not uncommon for me to even include others in these discussions… many of my clients have sat with me while I put the phone on speaker and call someone with more knowledge than me on a relationship or communication issue relating to their age group to get additional opinions and options. It’s learning and modeling for them how to learn.
  1. Master The Skills To Navigate and Manage Bureaucracies  From banking to registering for classes to airlines to the DMV… to cyber security to getting a plumber to fix a toilet in the middle the night, our lives are filled with needing to navigate systems and bureaucracies. The more skilled and adept we become at knowing how things work and working the system, the more likely we are to get results in life. I often espouse “You can’t beat the system. But you can be smarter than it.” 
  1. Embrace Asking For Help: Never be too proud or too weak in character to ask for help. I had a colleague once who said “A great teacher can offer you more in an hour than you would figure out in 20 on your own.”  This attitude of “I just need to figure this out on my own” is fine in some circumstances, but often in life when it is done out of foolish pride, it is just that: Foolish and a waste of time. Learn to be bold enough to ask questions in a crowd, pursue experts to get their opinions and to appear foolish long enough to stop being a fool. 
  1. Be Spontaneous: One of the most universal qualities I have admired and teach to my clients, is the ability and willingness to be spontaneous. To just go for it… to go to a movie by yourself because you feel like it… to do a road trip just because… to be creative about how to spend your time or with what to do on a date.. Let your life be less scripted and leave more room for wonders that emerge when you blend openness, creativity and a willingness to just go with the flow in a moment. Decades ago the orange industry launched a campaign to try and get people to consume more oranges: “Orange juice… it isn’t just for breakfast anymore”… apply it to all aspects of life and live a much more joyful life.
  1. Live A Life That Is Rich, Where Enough Is Enough: Many people pursue money because of what they think it will bring them… it may or may not, and typically doesn’t because of the “Never Enough” pitfall.  Instead seek to live a life that is rich in satisfaction and deep fulfillment.. pursue your interests… build careers doing things you actually want to wake up and do…surround yourself with people you actually want to be with because of how you feel when you are with them, not just because of how you look to others when they are with you…Go to a school that you feel is most compatible with you and your needs and lifestyle wants, not just because of the status of how it sounds to tell others you went there…  Live a life that is intrinsically rich to you, and its okay to make a lot of money along the way!

  1. Don’t Seek To Feel Happy. Seek Instead To Live A Life You Can Be Happy To Have Lived: We are living in a happiness feel-good obsessed culture. It makes sense. People have become masters of making themselves feel like shit both because they endlessly compare themselves to others and because they are addicted to immediate gratification moments that offer no long term deep satisfaction and lead instead to addiction, depression, isolation and even despair.   We get one life. Looking back we can either see a string of choices we made to pursue pleasure, or we can see a life that we are deeply fulfilled by that we accomplished because we were willing to take the hard steps, be bold, be courageous and even go it alone long enough to get the deeper rewards that only go to those who are willing to walk the walk, take the steps and earn their stripes. Much of that life path may be fun and enjoyable, but certainly much of won’t be. It’s a choice that determines everything. Choose wisely. 

 

The Difference Between What and How

So those are the “Whats” that make up the fundamentals of this Way Of Life that I built Evolution Mentoring to teach to others and help them integrate and embody, and that I have spent decades training myself to live.

The big question that follows is “Okay, I get what you want to offer and why it would make a difference… but HOW do you do it?”

Of course no one asks a surgeon how they are going to do what they do… no one asks an elite athlete how they do it… but this question is common and it is typically not what they are really asking. 

What they are really asking is “Will it work for me?”

My answer is “If you are a bright, thoughtful, sensitive more intense person who is prone to over-thinking and who feels things strongly, then most likely Yes!”… 

I can say that because it worked for me and I have yet to meet anyone who was as big a pain in the ass self-protecting over-identified with inhibiting self narrative as I was when I launched on this journey…

What made the difference with my own journey were two things: 

1) I was Ready to have my entire life belief system be dismantled (My Mentor once said to me “You didn’t realize you hired an assassin!”) Thank G-d I did. 

2) I was willing to put in the time and effort, and it takes time and often a lot of repetition. 

How I do this has been developed and honed over 25 years and about 65,000 hours of experience… in with this is a ton of very highly specific training particularly in Somatics, Semantics and Mythology. 

It takes whatever time it takes, but through repetition and intense desire and readiness on their part and a never ending pursuit to expand skills and learning on my part, the people I work with regularly get results. 

Thats how I have been in business for 25 years and built an international practice almost entirely on word of mouth and typically with many people with whom conventional treatment oriented methodologies failed. 

My clients regularly become more confident, secure and healthily connected. They stay far more composed under pressure and make high quality decisions… They build mature loving relationships, great careers and become the kind of charismatic positive people I think the world needs more of… And they regularly speak to me about how different aspects of learning this Way Of Life has benefited them on their journey to putting their own pieces together to make it their own.

The greatest obstacles many of my clients face are:

1: The overwhelming time they spend in their own heads

2: Unlearning behaviors that have become habituated and reinforced 

3: Impatience with the process and with themselves

4: Clinging to the Secondary Gain they get from keeping their “issues”

5: The briefs they have adopted by submitting to a flawed eduction system and cultural values

But in spite of that, the greatest thing they have going for them:

Everyone has moments – albeit sometimes brief and few and far between, where without the aid of any substance, they feel liberated from their inhibitions, where they feel next to unstoppable, where they feel calm and quiet inside, and where this way of life I have described becomes not just possible, but deeply appealing. Everyone has them… even if just for a flicker of a second.

What they want is in them… what they want to know how to do can be learned… it’s a matter of getting out of their own way (which its my job to help them do) and them putting in the time and effort.

Wax on. Wax off. 

All for now.

 

Jeffrey Leiken

October 12, 2019

The Lonely Journey: Being THAT Parent of THAT Kid

By Jeff | Published February 5th, 2018

No one knows what it’s like to be THAT parent of THAT kid, until you are That Parent

When you have a child who is struggling, not only can trying to find the right help be agonizingly frustrating and even discouraging, it is often a very lonely journey as well. 

To show up at “drop-off” or “pick up” and have other parents suddenly get quiet when you approach … to find out that families that used to include your son or daughter all the time, just hosted a sleep-over birthday party  and yours wasn’t invited… To find out as one father I spoke to recently did, that kids are being transferred out of your daughter’s class and be told by the administration that it is just a logistical issue, but it is only the kids who used to be in her friend group who are all being moved together so clearly you know the parents have all conspired together to distance themselves from your kid… and you wonder what did my kid do wrong… or worse “are we failing as parents?”

  • When your child (especially a teen) gets labeled as being a Bad Influence and other parents don’t want their kids around yours
  • When parents play popularity games and deliberately exclude your child so theirs can be more “in” with certain people
  • When your child goes through a hard time that shows up in moody or impulsive behaviors, and rather than people stepping up and saying “How can I help” instead they gossip together and treat him or her like they are diseased 
  • When your child is struggling and people stare at you like you must be totally messed up people to be raising a kid who behaves this way
  • When you find out that parents who you thought were your friends, have not been open with you about gossip circulating about your child
I never fully understood this until I became a parent myself and lived through a period of it .  Our story is nowhere near as dramatic as that of some of the families I have worked with, but it stung.

Our experience of this happened when our older daughter was in Kindergarten and went through a rough period  as she coped with stress at home (a newborn baby sister demanding mom’s time, a move to a new town and new school, and adjusting to a new house all in a matter of weeks) and some developmental ones as she struggled with some sensory integration issues that often left her feeling stressed in conditions most kids could easily manage…

After a few meltdowns at school and creating quite a scene (climbing under chairs, laughing hysterically at inappropriate times, refusing to come in from outside one time), our 6 year old was quickly isolated and identified by the school as having problems.

Stories quickly circulated amongst parents in their predictable gossip circles and one day I showed up to pick her up, and the same parents who typically smiled and chatted with me, quickly turned away… A few weeks went by and birthday parties happened and she wasn’t invited and kids she normally played with were told by their parents not to play with her… Eventually, we pulled her from the school who clearly viewed her as a disruption rather than a child in need of extra connection and support, and soon found a new school who were amazing with her and where she is now thriving.

Going through that,  only one family bothered to reach out and stand by us and offer support… a family who the next year moved their own child away from that school and over the one we had chosen!

So when I hear from parents who are going through this lonely, isolating time, I understand in my bones what this is like.

Then comes the arduous journey to trying to find the way forward to a better future.

There is little in life that is more agonizing as a parent than to see your child struggling to be able to do things that seem to come easier to others . . . academics . . . making friends . . . basic self- confidence to try new things . . . cope with basic setbacks . . . 

That period years ago was a very dark and discouraging time in our lives. We didn’t know what was going on and we had “experts” like our pediatrician who insisted that we were spoiling her and all she needed was good old fashioned discipline and strict consequences… 

And yet we knew in our gut – just like every parent who has ever reached out to me in a time of crisis knows in theirs – there is nothing “wrong” with our child… She has some challenges, but she’s only 6 years old and there’s a ton going on in her little world right now, so with proper nurturing, support, learning, growth and input, she will turn out just fine.

So we embarked on a very long journey of seeking support and guidance and help for her and our family and now 6 years later she is  doing amazingly well and if you met her now, you would never know that for a brief period in Kindergarten she was “that kid!.

Of course the journey is not over. In many ways as she embarks soon on adolescence, it is just beginning again… But we know she is perfectly fine and she will be… and we know with deep compassion what it is like not just for the child who is struggling, but also for the parents, 

Both my wife and I feel deeply compassionate towards parents whose kids are struggling. When others move away, we move towards… When others gossip behind  their backs, we ask “How can we help?”… Sometimes our daughter gets upset with us that we insist she invite certain kids she is not close friends with to events we are hosting, and we understand from her perspective why this is – it is normal at 11 years old.

What she doesn’t understand is that we know what it is like for that child who gets left out because they are different or having challenges, and we know what it is like for the parents of that child to be in that lonely and isolating place.

And professionally, having been contacted by and hired by hundreds of families who, like us, bluntly rejected the conventional experts who wanted to pathologize what are understandable, normal yet complex growing up challenges, I stand  firm in my convictions on this point:

The greatest challenge most adolescents face is learning how to be  who they are and the kind of person they are, with their own idiosyncratic interests and challenges, in a world that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to be this way.

I’ve dedicated my life work to helping certain ones do this… and to supporting their parents for whom it can be equally as challenging…

While it may be unavoidably challenging, it doesn’t need to be isolating and lonely, in spite of the culture that too often makes it be that way.  

 

 

 

College In The Cornfields – When Adults Say Stupid S#!t To Teens

By Jeff | Published February 1st, 2018

COLLEGE IN THE CORNFIELDS – A MOMENT OF RAGE

I had a chance encounter the other day with a high school senior. A comment he made to me tapped into a bubbling rage that lurks barely beneath the surface inside me. I’m going to write/rant about this for anyone who cares to listen. I realize often times my social media is “preaching to the choir” on these topics, so if you care, please share.
 
This 17 year old boy I met last weekend, had no idea what I do for a living. He had no idea that I work with people in his age group on 4 continents or that I have 25 years of experience in helping people his age to launch into a thriving adulthood. No idea that I am considered some kind of “expert” and thought leader in this field… This background (mine and his not knowing this) is relevant to the story.
 
To him I was just the dad of the 5 year old little girl who his 15 year old sister was babysitting. I was just stopping by to pick up my daughter. I could have been an insurance salesman for all he knew.
 
As he and his mom were home at the time, both stepped up and politely introduced themselves to me as I stood in the doorway waiting for my 5 year old to put on her shoes so we could leave.
 
Our casual chat led to him revealing that he was a senior in high school. I responded with a playful comment along the lines of “So you are in that time when everyone asks you The Question…!”
 
He knew right away what I was referring to.
 
Ask any high school senior in a community like this about The Question and they all know this is the one about “where are you applying to college?” as this is just presumed and expected. Kind of like pregnant women who get asked The Questions (“When are you due? and “Are you going to find out the gender?”) it gets old being berated by adults who inquire and who all want to get their two cents in.
 
In a community like this where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is the added social pressure that comes from the general fixation on the name recognition and prestige of the college. It is more than a fixation actually, its more like an obsession.
 
Unlike many high achieving high school students around here who only look at the same 50 or so, name-recognizable colleges in the US, he revealed to me that he had actually researched over 200 colleges, before narrowing down his choices to 20 or so. He began with Loren Pope’s book “Colleges That Change Lives”, took it seriously and expanded from there.
 
He then told me he had narrowed down to a few top choices, three of which were really high quality schools but not well-known colleges, all based in more rural middle America.
 
If you are from middle America like I am, these are not so obscure.
 
If you are from California like he is, they seem like unchartered territory as almost every one who goes to his high school will wind up at a college on the west coast or in the Northeast… and if they got B’s in school they will wind up at the University of Arizona or in Colorado University in Boulder if they choose to leave California. (local people who are reading this, you know what I am talking about!)
 
Very very few will go anywhere that isn’t geographically based in these places or emboldened with serious name recognition like Michigan or Northwestern, which are Midwestern schools, but are also high up on “the list of 50.”
 

So when this boy told me the names of the 3 schools on the top of his list, I lit up and responded enthusiastically with “Wow! Very cool choices… its refreshing to hear someone name schools like that!”

 
He was caught off guard by my enthusiastic response and then said “It is nice to hear someone say something positive. Usually the only thing people say when I list these schools is something discouraging like: ‘Why would you want to go to school in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa??”
 
THAT IS WHAT INFURIATED ME AND LED TO THIS POST.
 
I CAN’T STAND THAT PEOPLE DO THAT TO THESE KIDS.
 
Not only is that not helpful to say to a 17 year old, it is utterly selfish and obnoxious.
 
How can anyone who talks to this kid know what is the right choice for him? Just because they themselves wouldn’t choose to go to a school in the middle of Iowa, how do they know it isn’t the best choice this kid could make? How do they know it wouldn’t have been a far wiser choice for they themselves to have made if they had known about it and been open to it?
 
So what kind of person, especially an adult, says that to an impressionable teen who is already going out on a limb by not applying to USC or NYU or UCLA or any of the same-old other schools the rest of his peers are guided to choose from?
 
Not a very thoughtful or sensitive or helpful one, to put it nicely.
 
How are these kids supposed to grow up and become truly worldly when they are being guided, judged and criticized by people who are being shallow, narrow and selfish?
 
The absurdity and irresponsibility it is for anyone to dissuade someone from pursuing learning and growth and their potential to launch into the stratosphere beginning at a “college in the cornfields” can’t be understated:
 
Ask Ronald Reagan who stood by his assertions that “everything good in my life began at Eureka College”…
 
Ask Warren Buffet who went to the University of Nebraska..
 
Ask any of the millions of others out there who lead deeply satisfying successful lives without having gone to one of “the 50”
 
(and FYI I went to two of the big 50, before finally winding up following my own path instead of the one my college counselor urged, finally getting my degree after transferring from Colby and Wisconsin, to instead go to the University of San Francisco – a not so acclaimed school that also happened to have one Professor teach there who was responsible for introducing me to the person who opened up the world to me… When I was presenting to over 2000 parents in China recently, or speaking at a Ted Conference in Greece, or headlining a conference in London or working with college students in Oxford or running a training in Mexico City or traveling over 2,500,000 miles around the globe doing work I love, I can say with certainty that quite literally, none of this would be happening had I not ignored the experts and trusted myself and wound up in an obscure class taught at USF – a course not one other university in the world was offering at that point…)
 
All this pushing them to fit into some narrow way of going about the journey to growing into themselves, is not only not helpful, it can be destructively hurtful. For all the kids I work who thrive in places like Michigan and Princeton and Stanford, I know just as many who thrive in places no one places on that list of prestige…
 
In my opinion, the only thing to be saying to a young man like this who is bold enough to venture on his own path in spite of the pervasive crushing social pressure around him to become an elitist conventionalist, is to ask “How can I help?”
 
The first rule of thumb in the work I do and as I see it, in our role as parents, is to recognize that this is THEIR JOURNEY and not ours.
 
We have to either help figure out how to help them grow into who THEY are are, or get the f#cK out of the way as they figure it out for themselves.
 
We are either part of the help or the reason they will need more of it.
 
I hope my brief words of encouragement to him last Saturday helped him.
 
I hope my insights and this rant tonight helps influence someone else who is not a professional who works with this age group but who unknowingly has lots of influence on them at an impressionable age, to think twice before you criticize the teen in your life for making choices that may not be glamorous on a bumper sticker, but may just make them shine brighter than anywhere else on earth ever could.
 

Another Category: Two Types Of Parents

By Jeffrey | Published September 21st, 2017

In my practice, I receive inquiries from two types of parents:

Those who it pains and saddens to watch their kids struggling

vs

Those who are just frustrated and annoyed with them for not just making better decisions.

The First Type:

Don’t get me wrong, those in the first group certainly have their share of frustrations with their kids like most of us as parents do, but the emotional toll of watching them struggle to put the pieces together, far outweighs the frustrations.

These parents are empathetic, remembering “what it was like” to be in this stage of life.

They “get” that the solution to adolescent struggles requires more than just “knowing what to do” because it also requires the confidence and inner-security and mindset,  to do it…  that the variables that impact adolescents are often out of their control (e.g. what their peers do), and that today’s world is far more complex, distracting and confusing than the one they themselves grew up in.

They understand that it is a journey to growing up and finding one’s way in the world… that no matter how much well intentioned people may say to youth “who cares what anyone thinks of you” they will still be impacted by the opinions and approval of their peers and others, until one day they mature out of this…

These parents will do anything they can to help their kids to grow into confident, respected, capable, successful adults… and they are in it for the long haul.

The parents in the other group are impatient, judgmental and ineffective.

They want someone to come in and “fix” their kid. Often, they think that enough “tough love” and consequences, should be enough to coerce them to change.

Most of the time I find that the dynamic between parent and child is not only keeping the “problem” in place, it is contributing to it even more intensely then the parent who is completely enmeshed and coddling their teen.

Yet these parents typically don’t want to hear it and don’t want to accept responsibility. They don’t see that often they are so hung up on trying to shape their kids into someone they want them to be, that they are destroying the best potential for whom they actually could become.

In my experience, the “alpha father” is typically the one who thinks this way. He has a more sensitive or less competitive/ambitious son, and sees him aspiring to a standard that is less than “winning at all costs”, as weakness. Sometimes he has the daughter who is caught up in classic teen social drama, continually dealing with problems and waves of emotion that gets in the way of her just doing her best schoolwork and maintaining a competitive advantage. Sometimes it is the Alpha “LeanIn” mom who leads the rush, and sometimes it is just the parent who was raised by a “spare the rod, spoil the child” parents who think that anything less  than that (as is common today) is weak and raising kids of weak character.

Rarely is  any one this one dimensional of course.

All sane parents love their children and want the best for them. But there is a grave disconnect between those who understand that each child is unique and thus the “right and best” ways to help them grow into thriving adults, is unique and different for each as well.

Many years ago when I first began working with Summer Camps, I was frequently asked “So Jeff where are you going to send your kids to camp?” At that point I only had one child and she was still in infant. I had visited hundreds of camps and worked with leaders from many, many more than that. I also clearly had a bias towards the camp where I grew up and spent my summers in Wisconsin.

My answer rarely satisfied anyone who asked, but it was honest: “It depends who she turns out to be.”

Choosing a camp for a child solely because it is where “every one else is going” or because it is where the parents went, is a poorly thought out reason in my opinion. Choosing a camp (like choosing a school or career) based on which one best meets the needs and interests of a child, is a far better reason. Sometimes that means camp isn’t the answer at all. 

It is very hard to get this concept through to parents who are stubbornly frustrated with the child for not changing just because they say they should, and who just want someone to come in and fix them.

It makes perfect sense though to the parent who recognizes that something isn’t working, something is needed and for whom helping their child thrive no matter what it takes, is far more important than insisting upon how it needs to be done, how much it should cost, how quickly it should happen and how little they should have to participate. 

I know this is harsh, but having doing this work long enough I so clearly see the distinctions in these parents, and the suffering in the child of the second set of parents.

I also so clearly see the correlation between the deep and lasting impact of my work, and the partnership with thoughtful, engaged, open-minded and patient but persistent parents. Most of the parents who choose to work with me, see it too. 

 

 

Own Your Cool ™

By Jeffrey | Published August 19th, 2017

Own Your Cool  

Dedicated to all those people who have dumbed themselves down, sold themselves short, gotten discouraged and/or given up on dreams because of shitty things that happened to them when they were younger or because of some belief that is only a certain type of person who succeeds in life or some other reason that ends now!

It’s time to stop being cynical or discouraged or stressed or settling for less than you can have and be.

Coming soon… Stay tuned!

KGO Radio Interview Adolescence Not A Disease

By Jeffrey | Published March 19th, 2017

Many people seeking advice on their future career or college admissions seek a career counselor or life coach to help them to make a sound decision. In my practice in Mill Valley I am not a psychotherapist, but I see many teens and young adults having issues with promiscuity, alcohol or drugs. But these behaviors or prescription medications don’t provide lasting relief for this part of their journey to growing up.

For today’s teens a lot of what they are going through is actually normal, biological adolescent behaviour and it’s the intensity of competing demands on them at this stage of transition that is actually tending to make them seem oppositional, stressed out or wanting to escape.

Here’s a facebook live video from an interview held at San Francisco Radio Station KGO Radio where we talked about my book and some of these points.

Where your teen is doesn’t seem to be giving them, (or you) what they expected. The popular routes can be too much – causing anxiety or depression, and throughout it all there are peer pressures bearing down on them as well. This can be difficult to endure for a sensitive minded teenager who has different ideals for their future, and suffers alone, not knowing quite where they fit in.

You can hear the full interview below, where I go into depth about some of these themes and issues, that may be affecting your teen. The beginning of change starts with a simple small step. You are welcome to drop me an email or leave me a message to explore the possibility of working together.

The interview audio below runs to just over a half hour and is a wide ranging and interesting listen. Check it out and let me know what you think.

[Begins 3.24]

Just One Belief Away -” The Self-Sabotager”

de5768527399a1f25df614dd16c28ea823 year old Mark and I sat across from one another at a cool  alternative cafe near his college campus yesterday. When I walked in he was busy chatting with the manager and two girls who were waiting in line to order.

He’s good looking, outgoing and an extrovert, and though he is about to graduate from one of the more prestigious Universities in the US, he’s a pretty legitimate  underachiever.

If there was an award given out for “self-sabotage” Mark would be a finalist.

The number of times he has slept through a critical exam, forgotten a deadline or left his car parked in a no parking zone just long enough to get ticketed and towed is almost laughable. None of this happened because he was just an irresponsible kid or was so “ADD” that he was incapable. It literally happened as he got lost in stress and worry and insecurity that came from feeling so much pressure to survive as an outsider in ways that were real (financial) and imaginary (social) and just plain wrong (that his GPA & status amongst his classmates alone would make the difference for his career, the way it did in high school). 

His story is not so simple.Though he looked like your typical U____ student, he wasn’t. 

Unlike many of his classmates, he is not at this very prestigious and expensive private school because did well in high school and his parents are wealthy and have the money to pay for it. He is here because he was an academic high achiever in high school and money was left for him in a trust designated only to pay for his college education, Otherwise, he was very much on his own.

When others wanted to join Fraternities, their parents wrote the check. He was excluded from this aspect of campus social life, and it really marginalized him.

 When others needed a new laptop, wanted to go out to eat with friends and or just needed new clothes to dress up for an interview, they used the credit card their parents provided. Not so for Mark.

Everything that was easy for most of the kids around him was never easy for him. He had to work, often two jobs, and had to choose between getting enough hours to pay rent or go to class and lose his job. He had to find ways to study and learn material without the help of tutors. He lived in a closet one year because it was all he could afford.

But the worst thing of all to him was the way he never lived up to his potential academically. His grades were often at best average. He so wanted to be a stand-out student like he was in high school so that his professors would write raving letters of recommendation. He wanted to be the guy who impressed all the Alums and was offered that killer job that everyone else in the Business program yearned to get.

Instead he was just a mediocre student who would get his degree, but not stand out and probably not even be remembered by many of his peers, sadly, because he couldn’t afford to party with them or be their Frat bother.

And while he sat there with me berating himself for having just missed another deadline, and looking discouraged and despondent, my only thought was: AND NONE OF THAT MATTERS.

NONE OF THAT MATTERS.

This is a story about Mark, and the millions of other Marks and Margarets out there. It is a story about every Millennial youth who has had their soul get crushed into anxiety by being CONVINCED that their worth and hope for their future is measured by their GPA, Class Rank, the prestige of the name on their college degree AND their place in the social rankings of their peers.

Any potential employer, investor or business partner only cares about One Thing: YOUR ABILITY TO PRODUCE RESULTS that matter to the business. 

RESULTS

Any potential employer, investor or business partner only cares about One Thing: YOUR ABILITY TO PRODUCE RESULTS that matter to the business. 

They don’t give a damn about your grade point average, where you went to school or what you wrote your Senior thesis about. If you can produce results, they want you. If you can’t, they’ll encourage you to wipe your ass with your pretty diploma or at the least, caution you to not let the door hit you on the way out.

Mark’s task is to convince potential employers that he can Produce Results. Period. 

The most valuable skills he can learn now, are how to go from stranger to hot commodity.

The most valuable skills he can learn now, are how to go from stranger to hot commodity.

All this comparing himself to others, not feeling socially accepted by them and feeling insecure about this, is a 100% complete and utter waste of his time.

And I told him this, in an animated way. 

“I REFUSE  to spend even 10 more seconds listening to you mope about how bad you feel because you didn’t get the grades or the praise you wanted here!  If that’s what you want to do, go hire a therapist who’s happy to take your money and listen to you pout about shit you can’t change and that doesn’t matter in the least!”

At one point the young woman at the table next to us, stopped typing on her laptop and began listening in on our conversation.

I told him he only had TO CHANGE ONE BELIEF AND HIS ENTIRE LIFE WILL CHANGE, HIS FUTURE WILL OPEN UP AND HE CAN LAUNCH INTO HIS LIFE.

And it’s not an easy one to give up, but it is the only one to change to get everything he wants.

It is the belief that how he did in college and who he was socially accepted by in his college peer group matters in any way whatsoever.

The moment he can change that, he is liberated. LIBERATED.

******************************************************************

He’s LUCKY TOOSt-Patrick-Minimalist-Clover---1.0.0-2400px
Many of the people I meet are about 9 beliefs away from getting everything they want. He is only ONE. 

your-beliefs-pave-your-way-to-success-watermarked

 

My work now is to assassinate that one all-encompassing stupid ass belief and liberate him from the bondage of giving a shit about the opinions of the wrong people and of believing that his GPA in school matters in REAL world out here. 

Stay tuned. This story is just about to get interesting. 

I believe it, just as I believe in him. 

The Overwhelming Cost Of Overwhelming Teens

By Jeffrey | Published February 25th, 2017

95% of the teens and young adults in our world who are struggling, are not mentally ill and don’t need psychological treatment  even though they are receiving it in record numbers. 

That’s not to say they don’t need help, because they do.

I start from the belief that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM, but there is A LOT WRONG WITH THE SYSTEM AND CULTURE and what is being demanded of them and the extreme pressure it puts them under. 

 Thus, WHAT THEY ARE IS OVERWHELMED AND STRESSED to the point where it is hurting their well-being.

The SOLUTION IS is to equip them with the skills, strategies, mindset, perspective and capacity to manage the things that come their way. It is to help them grow to be mature and sophisticated enough such that these things no longer impede them. I have spent 20 years approaching the work with this population this way and have hundreds of success stories, often seeing enormous results in just a few conversations.

60% of my clients come to me AFTER they have “tried” conventional psychotherapy and not gotten results. 

Talking about how things felt may be comforting, but it does nothing to equip them so that next time they face these challenges, this doesn’t happen.

 Don’t subscribe to the medical/pathological model that wants to tell your kid has Depression or an Anxiety Disorder that needs Treatment. ADDRESS THE CAUSE not the symptoms. 

Here are the most common “Overwhelms” youth are succumbing to:

  • boy-stress-sat-deskOverwhelmed by the volume of school work. 
  • Overwhelmed by the volume of deadlines 
  • Overwhelmed by the immense pressure to compete for what they are warned are scarce opportunities to attend a college that is credible enough to give them social and financial status and success [a bold face arrogant small-minded lie]
  • Overwhelmed by the temptations and distractions of technology and instant gratification entertainment media
  •  Overwhelmed by the demands of keeping up with their social image 
  • Overwhelmed by the demands of keeping up with their social world (the volume of texts and instagram posts and snapchats) 
  • Overwhelmed by details and frustrations of bureaucracies (from college applications to the DMV)

Growing Up Doesn’t Just Happen Between 9 & 5

This blog posting shows real "screen shots" of text messages 
that were sent to me just in the last few days.  I think this 
gives a real glimpse into the world of today's adolescents. 
This is especially for those who are seeking to better understand 
the model and methodology of work I do with Evolution Mentoring. 

Growing Up Doesn’t Just Happen Between 9 and 5.

 Many life challenges can’t wait until a week from Tuesday at 4:00pm before the therapist or consultant is willing to be available. They need resolution now.

We’ve all been there! Something happens and we need to make a decision, pronto.

We need advice before the 5pm deadline.

We find ourselves in a difficult relationship situation and need to figure out what to do about it or what to say to this person – and they are on their way over right now.

We come home from a night out to find our teen decided to throw “a little kickback” that turned into a full-fledged teen party. Now we need to decide how to handle it.

A promotion offer came in just days before we were ready to accept a new job at a different firm. Should we stay or should we go? How do we handle it with everyone this impacts?

 

Appt schedule3This one to the right is from a college senior. He just learned that the application deadline for a highly selective government job that he is applying for was moved up by two weeks.

He called seeking two things:

  • Advice about how to best rewrite two of his essay questions. He keeps me on his short list of 5 people he turns to for these things (his father, two Professors, one of his close friends and me).
  • Help keeping his attention in the right place so that he stays calm and focused. He knows how to do this and has built an amazing capacity to do so over the years. This is one of the rare times he has reached out for this and it makes sense given the significance of the circumstances – a true “once in a lifetime” opportunity. (can’t say more given the confidential nature of this)

 

 

Appt schedule2This one to the left is from a college freshman. He’s been in a real funk. Thinking of changing his major and questioning whether or not he’s at the right school.

When we spoke that night he told me :

“I went to the Counseling center on campus, figuring they must deal with this kind of thing all the time. They gave me a 20 minute “drop in” appointment then told me I could come back for a full appointment on February 20th – a month from now, which was their next available appointment. I said “no thanks” and that’s when I reached out to you!”

 

How common is that in today’s world? What a difference it makes to have someone who will answer a message and be available that night.

Appt schedule

This one to the right is from a 19 year old who is needing to make a decision about how to handle a complicated relationship situation. I wrote about it in yesterday’s blog entitled Looking To Play Chess In A Candyland Culture.

Sometimes things come up that can feel too awkward to bring up with parents. Sometimes they just need to hear the words from the right source.

Sometimes they need to speak with someone who they know and trust can really “see” them, will not sugar coat it and who knows enough about the complexities of the world they are living in at their age.

 

 

Appt schedule9

 

This one is from a 17 year old High School Junior. A classmate friend of his has been spreading some very unkind rumors that are negatively effecting relationships in their friend group. 

He wanted to discuss ways he could handle this. Rather than just talk about this girl behind her back, he wanted to step up and directly address her. 

 

 

 

Appt schedule6

 

 

This is from a 16 year old high school student at a boarding school, who wound up having to switch out of her dorm after her roommate began having all sorts of disturbing issues. She was forced to deal with and confront some very “grown-up” circumstances, including not being able to openly discuss with others what went on and why things changed. 

 

 

 

 

Appt schedule7This is from a 22 year old who is dealing with some very difficult changes in her friend group. She wanted some advice and perspective on things she’s observing, and how to have appropriate boundaries given the realities of all involved. 

As she lives in New York, it was possible to just meet up in person a few days later. I travel to the east coast once a month to see clients in person. I worked with her extensively when she was younger. Now she just reaches out a few times a year when things like this come up. 

 

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