THE LIFE COACH SCHOOL – Episode 270

After I typed up yesterday’s blog post, I started wondering how or even if my children’s life experiences is different than Brooke Castillo’s boys. If you are following me, you read about the interview Brooke Castillo gave her two teenage boys yesterday. Eye-opening.

And I don’t have two teenage boys. I have one teenage girl, and a mature 11-year old. Close enough!

I typed up the questions, and I offered chocolate to each of the children, for 30 minutes of their time yesterday, in private.

Here is what I’ve got for you today!

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ME: What is the hardest thing about being a 6th grade kid?

LIAM: This might just be me, and for my class, but, my class is filled with people who are used to playing a bit rough. The hardest thing is probably surviving that and learning to adapt to it.

ME: Learning to adapt to kids who play differently than you?

LIAM: Yea. During school some people talk kind of rough, too. And they sometimes do games that are a bit rougher. But I don’t think anyone does anything inappropriate.

ME: Do you feel pressure from the other kids to be rough as well?

LIAM: Ummm. Not really. But I have adapted to be a bit more rough. In a world where you are surrounded by, like, in a world with only the same kind of predator, the squirrel is going to adapt and become more of a predator to stay alive.

ME: Do you think kids who can’t adapt just get eaten up, then?

LIAM: No. All kids adapt. Occasionally one kid won’t adapt fast enough. But either kids will help them adapt, or our class just lets them adapt on their own. Like a wart. You can either take care of it right away, or you will have to continue going along with the wart and going along with the pain until you take care of it yourself.

ME: Do you like who you are now that you’ve adapted? Do you like that you are a little rougher?

LIAM: I feel like I’m only rougher at school to survive. I am okay being a little rougher if it means I stay okay.

ME: What would your advice be to parents who’s kids are 6th graders?

LIAM: 6th grade is kind of a tough stage. They just need a bit of support and help.

ME: What does that look like?

LIAM: Personally, for me, I just feel like support is being willing to go along with what they do without criticizing them. We really don’t appreciate criticism when we are trying our best. It is better to be praised for the one thing you did right rather than be criticized for the 1000 things you did wrong.

ME: What makes a good parent a good parent?

LIAM: Umm. First thing is, they would be supportive – willing to help you when you need help and comfort you when you need comfort. And just support you with every single decision you make, but correct you if you’re on the wrong path. Ease them toward the right path. Help them feel like they’re better off on the right path than the wrong path, because once you’ve gone very far down the wrong path, it’s very hard to go back. Second thing, I feel like another trait of a good parent is that they’re going to listen to the kid’s point of view and hear the story from their side. Ask about their point of view. Always ask before sharing your own point of view. Third thing, a good parent should be a good influence on the kid. If a parent does something, the child will do it too. Setting a good example for them is another important thing.

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ME: Think back to Middle School. What was the hardest things about being a kid in Jr High?

ELLA: Honestly not knowing exactly where you fit in. I didn’t really feel like I had any really good friends until 8th grade. There are all the kids that naturally cluster with other kids, and you’re like, where do I fit in here? I found a couple people I became friends with, but it took a while for me to actually feel confident to go up to them and say, hey, do you want to hang out?

ME: How can a kid get through Middle School and feel good about their lives?

ELLA: I honestly felt like taking a lot of classes you were even just semi-interested in. I took an engineering class. And I took a ceramics class. And I took a sewing class. And I really enjoyed it because there wasn’t stress. I enjoyed look for those new talents. And I don’t think I will ever take an engineering class again, but it was really fun, like, welp, might as well do it.

ME: Which is more important, getting different experiences in school or getting really good grades in school?

ELLA: I feel like, especially looking back, the experiences. I hate how much I stress about my grades. It is awful. Experiences. Then you aren’t controlled by your fears with grades. We think, if we can get straight A’s then we can go to college, and if we go to college we can get a good job, and we can be super successful. And because of that, we think, oh my goodness, we need to get good grades! It’s not that I think grades are bad, but it is really bad to be stressing over them as much as I have, because it keeps you from doing other things.

ME: What advice would you give to parents who have kids in High School?

ELLA: Just be supportive. This might sound cheesy, but, encourage them in their dreams. Like travel. One of my dreams is to travel the world. And in school we kind of get caught up in, everybody, get this done. And if you do well in the class, you get an “A”, yay, but nobody cares. Embrace life outside of school. Basically our entire lives have been school. We cannot really remember any time without school. And to be able to say, wait! There is more out there!

ME: So you think it is the parents responsibility to help you look at the big picture, outside of school?

ELLA: Yea. Over the summer I was reading a psychology book. And it talked about this mom. And she tried really hard to be super encouraging. She got her son a guitar, but he never really played it. So she was like, so that’s not your thing. So she took it back. And then they discovered he loved inventing things. Several times a day they would go to a shop and go back and go back again, because they kept forgetting things that he needed to make something. And, school is kind of making an attempt to get us out there, but there are so many things out there that aren’t really offered at a school. And when we are outside of school, we have a little less fear of failure. You are like, oh this isn’t going to count against me! So you experiment more.

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Take away? Kids are rough at school. Squirrels can’t survive. Ask a kid their point of view before accusing them or forcing my point on view on them. Be a good example. And encourage kids to follow their dreams. I can do this.