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It's a Family Affair
In my last “Millennial Success” blog, I introduced the scenario of an adult son, Charlie, who is not getting traction in his life. He’s watching time go by. You, his parents, are worried and don’t know what to do. I’d like to take it a little further.
Analyzing and blaming keeps him stuck
You haven’t done anything wrong. Charlie hasn’t done anything wrong. It is what it is. We humans want to understand the “What has happened here?” in excruciating detail. We spend years, and a tremendous amount of energy, trying to analyze and understand. Trying to remember and interpret. And, you blame. You figure if the kid has a problem, somebody has to be at fault. How much is the kid’ s fault? How much is your fault? How much can we pin on the first-grade teacher?
Stop it! All that is terrible idea. For starters, it’s painful. Why would anyone want to systematically inflict pain on themselves? Here’s the real point. Please hear me on this. All of this judging, analyzing, looking back at the past, and all the rest, is simply hanging on to the status quo. You and your son have these habits, these patterns, and those have a great deal more impact on his being stuck than you realize.
Who will break the logjam?
You recognize that Charlie has to pull himself up and move forward. He has to figure this out. If you could figure it out for him, you would have already. You say you would do anything to help him get his act together. You mean that. But what you’ve tried hasn’t worked. At this point, you’re tired. You worry. You pretty much continue to be the way you've been, and do the things you've been doing.
You are correct that your son is the one this is about. It is his choice, and he will have to decide he wants change in his life. He will have to commit and create that change. At the same time, you are sincere in your desire to help him. You are painfully aware of your frustrations and feelings of helplessness.
Speaking to you, the parents, you still have a role in your child’s success. That role just needs to play out differently than it has been. Let me share a story about a fact pattern I run into quite often. There are some really powerful insights in the story. (Those will unfold further in the next blog or two of this series.)
Perhaps the kid has worked with a therapist. Perhaps he has had experience with a life coach or mentor. None of that worked. I get an opportunity to connect with “the dad”. He and I have a relatively brief conversation, and he begins to see things a little differently. He sees possibilities that haven’t been there before. He is excited about me having a conversation with his son. Here is his initial assessment, reaction, and course of action.
“This is great! We may have stumbled on to someone who can really help. I’ve always known I would do anything to help my son. Of course, I have the resources to pay the exorbitant fee. I think my job is done here. I just need to connect Don Scott with my son and let them figure it out from here.”
This is your problem- solving programming at work in high form.
That really doesn't work
In my next blog, I’ll take you through a few different potential outcomes. Meanwhile, here is the bottom line.
I know your son can change the trajectory of his life. Getting him to a “high want” is half the battle.
If I am involved, the next steps become really important. If you, the parents, see possibilities. If you can see your son opening up a bit. Maybe the time is right.
Except, there are right and wrong ways of doing it. If our true objective is helping your son find clarity and direction. Then, we should do it in the way that will create the best possible chance of the desired outcome.
For now – Sit tight. I intend to take you through this early part of the process over the weeks ahead. If you have been experiencing pain around your son or daughter, I hope you will find relief. I hope you will feel optimism and a sense of the possibilities. Consider whether or not you are ready for a new course of action. You do not control your son or daughter. I am talking about YOUR course of action, not his. Your course of action is what you do control.
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