Adolescence is an amazing stage of life. It’s a time of self-discovery, testing wings, making mistakes, learning how to interact socially, and beginning to identify as independent adults rather than children. The main tasks of this stage of life are to uncover and explore what makes us unique, what excites us, what challenges us, and to consider what kind of person we want to be.
Yet this exploration cannot be done completely on our own. Adolescents deeply desire to be witnessed, acknowledged and supported by adults that they respect. They want to know that their most vulnerable gifts are desired and of value to their community. Unfortunately it is not enough to hear this from our parents and today’s schools don’t have enough staff for all students to have deeply meaningful, one-on-one mentorship relationships with teachers.
Still, I have watched young people bloom with the advantage of one-on-one mentorship. When a young person’s imminent adulthood is acknowledged and worked with they no longer feel like they need to prove their adulthood by trying on adult behaviors that they may or may not be ready for. In our ancestral cultures the youth needed to see themselves reflected in the eyes of their aunties and uncles in order to believe that they were indeed ready to step into their gifts. This is part of what I provide.
A healthy and supported process of self-discovery can help a young person transition into an adulthood rooted in self-awareness. Aside from this being deeply fulfilling on it’s own, real self-knowledge can also lead us to a greater possibility for engaging in a lifetime of work that is more meaningful to us, and to the greater community and world.
Substance abuse, displays of sexuality, and other potentially dangerous behaviors emerge in teens as unconscious attempts to initiate into adulthood. These behaviors are typical self-initiatory practices amongst unguided youth. Yet the need that goes unmet through these attempts is to be honored and acknowledged for their transition into adulthood; to be respected, heard and in some ways, taught.
I’m excited to be opening my coaching practice to young women ages 14-20. Over the past several years I’ve facilitated rites of passage for teenagers and have gotten to see first hand what a difference it makes for young women to have someone to talk honestly and openly with about the issues they face. So much challenge can go along with the transition into adulthood. We’ll look at whatever is most pressing but here is a list of the most common themes that I can help with: self-confidence, self-acceptance, body issues, individuation, communication, decision making, school and career plans, stress, time-management, relationships, cliques and friendships.
What I offer is unique- it’s a mentorship based on listening, asking questions, and supporting young women to step up into their gifts and power. I don’t work with outcomes, unless they are outcomes that the young woman is setting for herself. My priority is to support your daughter in learning how to follow her own path with integrity, and learning how to navigate the complexity of her life with growing confidence. If this reads as challenging or scary to you as a parent let me assure you that this is also a rite of passage for parents. Even when we as parents know logically that our children will one day leave us, it is still often profoundly difficult for many parents to watch their children begin to lead their own lives. Let us not forget the potency of this transformation for the parent. It is time to begin to let go of the role as “parent to a child” and begin to step into the role of “parent to an adult.”
Working with adolescents is one of the most hopeful and energizing kinds of work I’ve ever had the blessing to do. I remember all too well the angst, emotion, fear, and irrationality of the experience myself. Yet there is also idealism, energy, joy, and power. It is a time where authentic mentorship can make a big difference.
The unknown of adolescence and nascent adulthood can be daunting. I can hold space for that process in a way that inspires authenticity, confidence, good-humor, and humility.
If you’d like to arrange mentorship for a young man I will happily refer you to some incredible men doing similar work with adolescent boys.