Editor's Note: Sarah Fulton facilitates the Coaching Certification cohorts for Bridges Coaching. She and her husband Jordan live in upstate NY with their 5 children. Her heart for coaching comes out in every area of her life and she helps others grow to their full potential.
I have a confession... I have always been kind of scared to parent teenagers.
Maybe it’s all the horror stories: “Oh, they’re cute now, but just wait until they’re teenagers!”, “They’ll turn into little monsters that you can’t wait to get rid of...”
Have you heard those too?
I knew God had more for me during this season of parenthood.
He wanted to equip me to navigate it well; I just had no idea I’d find powerful tools for parenting in coach training.
My first coaching course was intended for ministry training. I wanted to learn the most effective way to help people navigate transitions and grow quickly -- and it did that!
I still believe that coaching is the most powerful way to lead people.
But I had no idea when I started on this journey that the biggest recipients of my coaching practice would be my own kids.
Here are 3 of the most transformative things coaching taught me:
1. Coaching Taught Me to Listen.
I thought I knew how to listen well since I’m a quiet person. Turns out real, empowering listening is much more than just keeping my mouth shut!
Coaching gave me the tools to make my teens (and pre-teens!) feel respected, understood, and really heard - which it turns out is the number one things most teens are looking for!
2. Coaching Taught Me How to Let Them Make Decisions - Without Letting Them Make Just ANY Decision.
In the early teen years, they desperately want to start making their own decisions -- right at the point where their decision-making skills start to appear disturbingly questionable!
Coaching showed me a path that includes both empowering my kids to become decision-makers and helping them stay true to who they are and to our family boundaries. I’m so glad that letting my teens make their own decisions doesn’t have to look like dropping them in the deep end of the pool and hoping they swim!
3. Coaching Taught Me to Trust God - Even With My Teens.
I’ve realized now that so much of my fear about parenting teens had to do with the weight of responsibility I felt.
“If they make a bad decision, doesn’t that mean I’m a bad parent?”, “If I don’t control all of their decisions, how can I be sure they’ll make the best ones?”, “If I don’t navigate this season well, doesn’t that mean they’ll end up as dangerous criminals?” I still believe that as parents we have an incredible influence over our kids, (even while they are teenagers!)
But I am learning that I don’t have to carry that influence as a burden. God loves my children more than I do. He speaks to them, He is involved in their life, and He can work even my mistakes out for their good.
As I watch for what He’s doing and learn to partner with it, I get to be a better, more effective, less stressed-out parent.
*A note for the stay-at-home parents: For many moms (or stay at home dads!), the season of being home with kids can seem like a complete pause on personal development. “Being Mom” can be all-consuming! And that person with gifts and skills beyond parenting can feel lost and buried in her own house. If that sounds like you, would you consider coach training? It is not easy to find a tool for self-development that can not only fit into most busy schedules but actually gives back to your kids (and spouse!) over the years. Shoot me a message if you would like to talk about how coaching might be a fit for this season. [email protected].
Editor's Note: Be sure to check out all of our new products we're offering at Bridges Coaching including our Soul Care Retreat, Life on Purpose workshop, and much more!
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