Parenting Your Anxious Teen

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Choosing a college and the battle to complete essays and applications. Empowering advice from Parenting Coach Maria Sanders, LSW

Early days as a mum were about feeding, sleeping, or not- teen years had their own struggles and now- every friend I encounter has experienced the battle of senior-itis and college applications. I heard about Maria’s

workshop on children and anxiety and reached out to her for a chat.

Maria thanks for speaking with me- I wish I’d met you sooner! Please tell me a little bit about your practice and how you work with parents.

Thanks Jennifer! I am a Licensed Social Worker and PCI Certified Parent Coach®. I work with parents struggling with any parenting challenge, from getting a child to sleep to communicating with a taciturn teen. A lot of my work is supported by Conscious Parenting and Collaborative Problem Solving. I work one on one with parents virtually or in my Montclair office. I also offer programs at public schools, independent schools, preschools, pediatrician offices, professional organizations, and corporate settings.

Currently, the struggle among many of my friends is parenting teenagers about to head off to high school or college. Everything from choosing a school, to narrowing choices, to finishing essays seems to be an epic and

on-going battle.

We all want our children to own and manage their own process but leaving them to their own devices leads to late or unsubmitted essays and missed deadlines. There are times when kids seem to need hand-holding and

support and other times when they totally shut parents out of the process- refusing to allow a look at completed essays or applications or sharing thoughts on where they stand on key decisions – like where they will apply! How do you know when to back off and when to offer support?

That’s a great question I think it’s really important to recognize this importance for balance between backing off and offering support. The best way to approach this is early on before it’s even an issue. Planning

ahead and being proactive will be your best friend.

Together with your child, come up with a plan on how you will handle these key decisions. Maybe there’s a third-party/ another trusted adult who can also help, someone that the teen feels comfortable with if for

some reason they don’t want you to see the completed essays or applications.  

Instead of telling your teen all the things they need to do ask them questions about how they will handle time management and organization.  Together you will come up with a calendar and a to-do list that works for the both of you.

Managing our own anxiety first.

Many times when parents feel like they’re losing control they hold on tighter by taking over all the tasks that their child should be doing themselves. It’s important for us as parents to be aware of our fears,

worries and concerns related to our kids getting into college and their next steps. If we allow our fears, worries, and concerns to take over- that’s when tension and friction occurs. So, with some work, we need to move from a place of fear to a place of confidence and trust that we have parented our child well and supported them.  

Coaching is a partnership with the goal of moving forward.

How do I introduce a child who is already challenging authority and suggestions to the idea of this type of coaching?

Coaching is a partnership with the goal of moving forward.  As your coach, I don’t dictate and tell you all the things you need to do what I do is listen to what your goals are and help you get there. That means the goals of both the child and the parent. Coaching is non-judgemental. My role is to make sure that through collaborative problem-solving both the parent and child concerns are heard and understood.  And through this process, we will come up with an action plan that puts both concerns on the table and find a mutually satisfactory solution.

Recognizing your own triggers and fears.

A lot of my work is supported by conscious parenting and collaborative problem-solving. For the parent, it’s important for us to recognize our triggers, our fears, our worries, our concerns and all those things that are getting in the way of us being able to connect and support our child. More than ever at this time our teens want to be seen and heard and respected as an adult. Through this work I can help parents build a helping

relationship, foster communication and avoid many of the challenging behaviors that occur.  And finally by working with a coach ahead of time, we can proactively address many of the challenging issues before they

spiral into bigger concerns.

This is all extremely valuable. If a parent wanted to reach out to explore the possibility of working with you- what is the best way to do that?

I offer a 20-minute complimentary phone consultation. This is a good way for parents to tell me a bit about themselves and their family and ask me questions about my practice to see if this would be a good fit. You can

check out my website and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. www.mariasandersparentcoach.com Or you can call me directly at 201-500-7397

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