#84 | Why Parents and Grandparents Make the Best Life Coach for Their Autistic High School GraduateJun 22, 2022
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Here's why parents and grandparents make the best life coaches.This video is inspired by a mom who suggested that their son's therapist doesn't get them. She wants to find a life coach who would not try to fit him into a box. She says that things could be worse but it's hard to watch life pass him by. I guess he's doing what we see often which is spending a lot of time resisting, buffering, not feeling and escaping from life's challenges. And it makes sense. I mean, they made it through school. That was a big sigh of relief. But now, they're really hesitant to make a statement in the adult world.
And that's why we need to keep the end in mind that what we're trying to do is to help them practice and master the set of mental tools that help them manage their thoughts, their emotions and their actions so they can achieve goals set by them for them. That's what we're headed for.
A good coach is going to encourage them, warn them about the risks of things that they might not know about, given that a good coach probably has more experience with life, and they're going to be consulted by them. They've got a good enough connection so that their son or daughter is more than willing to come and ask, "What do you think about this situation?"
And I suggest that's us. Yes, we moms we dads, we grandpas and grandmas are really the best coach for our autistic high school graduates. And here's what we have to do. In essence, we have to teach them four things.
We have to find, help them find their unique fingerprint, you see that one up at the top, that's their identity that keeps them anchored in who they are at their best, so that they understand that they're not going to create an adult life that they'd love overnight. They gotta find peace in making progress, piece by piece.
Then we have to help them understand how to use their mind to train their brain to give them the thoughts that create the emotions, the actions and results that they want to see in their lives. And we need to encourage those actions. They need to make a commitment to themselves to take those actions so they can create that predictable progress.
And finally, we need to help them level up their people skills. We all could use a level up in this area. We want to listen first, understand and then proactively partner to be understood and solve problems together. This is where we really exercise that skill of perspective taking that we want to understand the problem from not only that young adult’s point of view, but also from our point of view so that we come up with a solution that works for all of us.
We can do this. We just need to help them stay anchored by their essence, create an acronym that spells easily for them, the things that matter, the virtues that matter the most to them, what they want out of life and the parts of their lives that really matter. You know, what is it exactly? Let's write it down. Let's record it. Let's figure out what it is they want, what it is they already have, what they'd like next and what are their next steps to take. That's how we get them anchored in who they are and how they're going to look in the future.
Then we need to help them practice self-coaching skills. And yes, it's all in the thinking. We become what we think about.
Our emotions and our actions are driven by our thoughts. So we have to teach them how to notice the fact that they have thoughts and then figure out whether or not they're really working for them, whether or not their thinking is serving them. Then decide whether or not they want to practice another thought that they hope will create a better Emotion*Action*Result combination. This is something we can do.
We can also encourage them to take one step at a time incrementality and for them to notice the steps that they're taking in the progress they're making; notice that on a regular basis. If you've heard the analogy of the brain is like a monkey. It's just chattering, chattering chattering away. But when we notice the progress we're making, it's like petting the monkey. Our brains do soothe much better when we recognize the progress that we're making. And those types of soothing actions, soothing activities will really pay off for our autistic young adults now and in their future.
And then of course, we've got to level up our people skills. Coaching is something that's kind of new, life coaching is, but it's not anything that we can't all do. The concepts and the theories and the skills are all achievable by all of us, especially in the people skills area. This is where we listen and we collaboratively problem solve and we take more of the other person's perspective in mind when we are trying to do things together. Really, we can teach these skills. These are discrete skills, that if we take them step by step and do the instructing that we need to do, and then find every opportunity to reinforce what they're doing, taking the steps toward using those steps and doing the practice. We know that we can watch them master them.
And wow, what a nice feeling that will be. We know that they can do this. We know that we can do this. We are their best coach. We don't need to look for one. I know I'm a life coach. I do work with some autistic young adults and I love them. I'm having fun. It's just the joy of my life. Of course I have two young adults at home and many more in my family. And I love being a life coach. And sometimes you might want to hire me but I just want to encourage you to try it first yourself because it's kind of amazing. How well we know our kids. We just know that we have their best interests in mind. There is no question that we are the people on the planet who get them the best and who want the best for them. We're available. I mean, even if we hire a great life coach, they're going to be able to talk to our young adult, one hour a week, maybe two hours a week. That pales in comparison to the time that we have available to be with them and reinforce them. And wow, is that what we want to do?
We want to encourage them and warn them and be consulted by them and just connect with them. And of course, being their coach and thinking about it as their coach and thinking about you know, the time that we invest coaching them is just another chance that we have to show them how much we love them. And wow that there's a big payoff to us for that.
So, here's the truth. I had to level up my skills when I first figured out, forehead slap, that the life coaching skills that I was using for myself would really be a skill set that I want my autistic adults to have. I realized I had to level up my skills. Learning the techniques and tools. You want them to have a full tool cabinet of life skills that they can use and practice and then master over time. That's how we can feel the peace that we're looking for, knowing that they are going to be able to handle life's challenges when we're gone.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that they do everything for themselves. It may mean that they build a team that's going to help supplement whatever areas in their life where they need help, that will support them. I mean, no one succeeds alone. And having those people skills that if we practice them and model them, I am just sure that their people skills can level up. I've seen it happen in my own family and I've definitely seen it happen with my clients.
So if you're curious about this idea of becoming the life coach for your autistic high school graduate, and you'd like to know more, please come visit me at my website. This is the address where you'll find the transcript to this video. And you know, take a look around at the website.
This is video I think number 84. So there's plenty to watch.
And there's other ways of getting in touch with me and or getting to know my work. I can't wait because very soon I'm going to offer a preview to my book. It's going to be published by the end of this year.
Bye for now.