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Parenting Coaching

Discussing Difficult Topics With Children and Teens

Virtually all teenagers go through some stage in which they no longer want to talk to their parents about the issues they face. It is perfectly natural

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for an adolescent to try to be independent and handle problems on his own. However, there are sometimes issues that need the attention of an adult. But how can parents know something is seriously wrong if their child will not confide in them? While there is no magic potion that can make a teen open up about trouble in his personal life, there are some ways parents can ease children into discussing things that they cannot and should not try to face alone.

Too many times, parents do not address important topics with their children because of a number of myths. It is time to dispel these myths so that parents can offer the guidance and support that their children so desperately need and deserve.

MYTH: If my kids find out that I smoked pot, my kids will think it is okay.

Do not let the fear of being a hypocrite stop you from talking to your kids. Be honest. Teens are realistic and they know that parents are not perfect. If you experimented with something dangerous, tell them. Then explain what made you want to engage in the activity and any negative repercussions you faced as a result. Help them understand that you have rationale for your views.

MYTH: Depression is a normal part of growing up, my son will snap out of it eventually.

While it may be true that everyone develops feelings of sadness or loneliness from time to time, prolonged depression is never normal. If your child has symptoms of depression that persist for more than a couple of weeks, you may want to consult his pediatrician. Not every case of depression requires medical attention, but it is always best to be safe.

MYTH: My parents didn’t talk to me about drugs, alcohol or sex and I turned out fine, so I don’t need to talk to my kids about it either.

Most children and teens are naturally curious about sex, drugs and alcohol. When parents do not speak to their children about serious issues, they will look to other sources for answers. Unfortunately, information gained through the media can be misleading or incomplete and information gathered from peers is typically inaccurate. The best way to ensure that children are adequately prepared to deal with situations that may arise, is to educate them and provide as many answers as possible. This does not mean that every parent should know everything about these topics, but if the child has a question that you are unable to answer, find the answer together through a reputable source.

MYTH: My daughter asked a question about birth control, she must be having sex.

Do not over-react. Remember, simply because the child asks about sex, drugs or alcohol, does not necessarily mean she has experimented or is considering it.

MYTH: My son would never try alcohol, he is an honor roll student. Besides, we live in a good neighborhood, so he is not exposed to drugs.

There is no specific type of person who uses drugs or alcohol. Everyone from the most intelligent student with the greatest potential to the high school drop out is susceptible. Moreover, there are no longer neighborhoods that are free from the threat of drugs or alcohol; from inner city apartments to the suburbs, drugs and alcohol are everywhere.

MYTH: My son knows the rule about drugs and alcohol, so there is no need to talk to him about it.

Never assume that a child will follow rules simply because they are in place. Children may rebel due to peer pressure or simply because they do not believe a rule is justified. Explain, do not lecture; teaching him why certain things are off limits will be more productive than a basic, “Because I said so.” Additionally, it reinforces the idea that he can be open with you.

When talking to your children about tough issues, remember to let your them know that no matter what the question or how serious the circumstances, they can always come to you and you will not jump to conclusions or make rash decisions. Encourage an open forum, in which they can discuss things without fear of punishment or judgment. Make expectations clear, but be willing to listen with an open mind. Children respond better to limits when they understand the reasoning behind rules.

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Anti-Bully Coaching

[ilink url=””]Coaching Children to Cope with Bullies[/ilink]

Parents typically hope to promote a healthy self-image for their children. Offering the encouragement, love and support. The last thing any parent wishes is for his child to feel insecure about himself. Therefore, parents try to spend quality time with children, meet physical needs and occasionally cater to special requests for toys, games or whatever may be trendy at the moment.

Yet, sometimes a child may lack something, emotionally, from his home environment. When this need cannot be fulfilled at home, the child may begin to seek it elsewhere. This is not always a bad thing. A child whose parents work long hours may request additional homework help from a teacher, since it is unlikely that he will be able to ask at home. In another scenario, a child who is moving because his father’s job is transferring the family to a new city may consult his guidance counselor about ways to stay in touch with schoolmates and teachers. These are perfectly acceptable ways for the child to cope with a problem.

Conversely, a child may wish to project his emotional strain onto someone else. Perhaps because he feels frustration in the midst of his parents’ divorce or because his mother grounded him for teasing his little sister. Sometimes the reason may simply be because the child feels threatened by another student’s talent in a specific academic area.

stop bullying kids with bullying coachingWhatever the reason, some children feel the need to prey on others. To some it may seem like harmless teasing, but bullying can lead to depression, destructive behavior, emotional outbursts, school attendance problems, difficulty concentrating, lower grades, and in some cases, suicide.

Faced with incessant torment, the first person a child will likely approach for help is a parent. However, many parents feel helpless, not knowing what to do or where to go for help. The instinctive reaction may be to take charge of the situation and contact the offending child’s parents. However, this action is often ineffective and may, in fact, make things worse. What’s more, the wrong reaction could result in more stress and anxiety for the bullied child, causing him not to reach out for help next time. Another logical solution is to speak with teachers, bus drivers and school officials about the problem. Yet, with so many children to supervise, it can be virtually impossible for school staff to manage this issue at all times.

So, what can be done to combat this serious issue?

In difficult situations, it is extremely beneficial to speak with someone who can suggest appropriate techniques for coping. That is why anti-bully coaches have recently become so popular. An anti-bully coach works to neutralize the root of the problem, by training children to be virtually bully proof. With

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a combination of role playing and counseling, the anti-bully coach teaches children and parents what steps to take to prevent the situation and how to react in the event that it does occur.

It may seem extreme to go to a complete stranger for help with such a personal problem. But rest assured that these experts have helped countless families. There is no shame in admitting that this problem requires an outsider’s perspective. Unfortunately, bullying is a problem many children and adolescents will face throughout their school years. Still, it does not have to result in tragic circumstances or rip families apart. There is help for children and their parents. No longer do children have to suffer needlessly in silence.

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Psychologist and Parenting Coach Dr. John Duffy

Interview with Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy

Corey: Hi! My name is Corey Quinn and I am the founder of We are a website that matches coaches with clients based on fit. I am here with John Duffy. He is a psychologist. He is a life coach and he is also the author of “The Available Parent”. Welcome John.

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy: Thank you Corey. Thanks for having me man.

Corey: Definitely. Could you share with us why you became a coach?

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy: Yeah. I’ve been a psychologist for about 12-13 years now, and about 5 years ago, my wife, Julie, decided to go into coach training and launch a coaching business, and as she went through the training, she came to me every single time after the training and said, “You need to do this.This is a great thing. It’s a great thing for your personal or self growth. I think it might be good for your practice. I really want you to do it.” Eventually, she warmed me down to be honest, and I thought, okay, I’ll try it, and I am so grateful to her that I did because it changed me in a lot of ways. It changed the way I practice for sure and it was like an incredibly enriching experience for me personally as well.

Corey: That’s great. Can you share with us when should someone consider working with you as a coach and psychologist?

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy: Yeah. I work with a lot of teenagers. My book is called, “The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens,” so I found that my – if I have a niche, it’s I work with teenagers, tweenage kids like 10-13 and their parents, and I do a lot of parent’s coaching as well, kind of helping them through the tough times with their kids as they make that transition to those tricky teen years. So ideally, that’s the kind of client I work with. But really, I find that I specialize in working with relationships, broadly speaking. So, I work with that relationship, I work with you know, adult parent-child relationships. I work with intimate relationships, even work-based relationships.

Corey: And I’m curious, how has your background in psychology been able to help you with your coaching practice?

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy: Well, you know, when you go to grad school in psych, you have this broad base of knowledge that you learned about just you know, how the mind works, and that has been very, very helpful in my coaching practice, and there is you know, just like as we have been trained to be coaches, we learn these mirad techniques for any given difficulty. I feel like my toolbox is just that much bigger having gone to grad school in psychology.

Corey: Great. Could you share with us a success story?

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy: Yeah. I had worked with a young man. This is a couple of years ago, and to be honest with you Corey, when I first started working with this guy, I think he was 19, maybe 20 at that time, and I decided in my mind and shame on me to be honest that, “Oh this guy is kind of limited in what he is going to be able to do. He does not seem to have a lot of ‘oooomf!’ There doesn’t seem to be a lot of fire in him” And so I thought, well we can get him through college. That would be great. You know, so that’s going to be our goal. I kind of decided that instead of collaborating with him on that. Well, he proved me so wrong. He had a classmate who died of leukemia during the time when I was working with him, and he came in one day shortly thereafter and said, “You know, I have to do this final project for school. I’m going to put together this great big event, and I’m going to bring bands in it. I’m going to bring sitting in. I’m going to make $10,000 to support juvenile diabetes resarch.” And I thought, Wow! That doesn’t sound like you. I do not know if you can pull that off, but I decided, I’m going to go with my client’s gut, not mind and I’m going to support him on this and long behold, 6 months later, there was an enormous event. He raised far more than he thought he would, and he is a pretty successful fundraiser now. So, I supposed if I learned anything from that, it’s that follow your client’s intuition and don’t presume that anybody is really limited in their capacity to do anything.

Corey: And finally, could you share with us in your experience as a psychologist and a life coach, the importance of a match between a coach and a client?

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy: You know, I actually don’t want to underestimate the importance of a match between a coach and client. It is one of the most important things. So you know, more so to my thinking technique, or specific background, years of experience. If you find somebody that you connect with, you are going to do a good work. I really believe that and if you feel like, well this person has years of experience and they work with people my age, my gender, I don’t connect to them the whole lot, I don’t think that is going to work very well. In my experience, that does not work.

Corey: Great. Thank you so much John for your time today.

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy: My pleasure Corey. Thanks for having me.

About Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. John Duffy:

Life Coach Dr. John DuffyDr. John Duffy is a highly sought-after clinical psychologist, certified life coach, parenting expert, and proud parent. He has been working with teens, tweens, and their families for more than fifteen years. He has provided the critical intervention and support needed to help hundreds of families find their footing.

He has served as a contributing parenting expert for a number of media outlets. These include The Huffington Post, AOL Health, AOL Parent Dish, Notre Dame magazine, Root & Sprout,,,, and He has also served as a parenting and relationship expert on a number of radio programs, including the nationally-syndicated Mr. Dad program with best-selling author Armin Brott, and The Lite Show on WNTD in Chicago. Dr. Duffy has also contributed to a number of books, including Living Life as a Thank You (Viva Editions) by Mary Beth Sammons and Nina Lesowitz. Details and article excerpts can be found on this web site. He blogs on availability on the website and communicates regularly through his fan page on Facebook and Twitter.