• Helen Hattingh

The Unfair Advantage

Updated: Apr 23

If you want to give your child a head start in life and an unfair advantage to develop inner strength and to draw from that inner strength and their own set of values and beliefs, (that you have helped nurture and grow) when faced with depression, bullying, anxiety attacks and peer pressure, give him or her the opportunity to develop a relationship with a life coach.

Are we sending a message that our children's worth comes from their achievements and not from who they are?

In today’s world, millennials are finding themselves more isolated than ever before. The results of this isolation can be seen in the shocking increase in teen suicide. Teenagers today have so many choices that making decisions becomes paralyzing. From the age of 15 when they are completing their 9th school year, doors start to close due to the subject choices they have made. Stress and anxiety do not come from them directly but often emanate from parents and peers.

Parents want what’s best for their children. We all want our kids to feel safe, nurtured and to achieve their best so that they can go out into the world and achieve. We all do everything we can to ensure that our young adults have everything they need to set them up for success. But is our parenting style outdated or have we bought into a version of success that has been sold to us by the advertising world, social media and what we perceive success to be? Look at the number of parents who happily and proudly post their children’s victories on Facebook. Whether it’s the first tooth or their first rugby match. As parents, we want to celebrate our children’s success.

Photo by Lisa Amann on Unsplash

Achievement has so much emphasis these days. It is essential to have skills and tools that will enable young adults to prosper in the adult world, but have we taught them the right skills and have we equipped them with the right tools in this ever-changing world?

What more can we do to give our young adults the life skills they need to work through the maze of eventualities they will encounter in their adult lives?

Where is happiness? Where is joy? Where is the sense of being enough?

As good parents, wanting only the best for our children, we initiate after school activities to ensure that our children have a well -rounded education. We stand on the side of the playing field and encourage them. Be better. Aim higher. We try everything to ensure that they don’t screw up their chances of success. We excuse them from participating in chores so that they have more time to do their homework so that they can improve their grades. Are we, as parents doing the right thing?

Is your child is being taught that his/her worth comes from the grade scorecard? Are we sending a message that their worth comes from their achievements and not from who they are? What more can we do to ensure that our young adults are receiving the very best tools to help them through adulthood.

You’re a good parent because you’re reading this blog.

A recent Harvard Grant study identified that chores are necessary to develop a mindset of contributing to the betterment of the whole. Many people have paid many dollars in therapy and coaching to identify that this sense of contribution is what gives us purpose.

Possibly and unintentionally, we have diluted our children's sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one's own motivation, behavior, and social environment. The importance here lies in their ability to be aware of themselves as unique, able to stand alone with dignity and confidence and not follow the crowd just to fit in. To be able to draw from inner strength when the going gets tough. Our children may have the credentials for success, but have they got the confidence to adhere to their values, dreams and aspirations even when peer pressure and social media say something else? Can they turn away from bad influences and stick to their true identity? Can they manage the decisions they make and accept the consequences of their decisions?

We need to give them room to identify their own sense of worth, they need to identify their own mind set, skill sets and habits.

If you want to give your child a head start in life and an unfair advantage to develop inner strength and to draw from that inner strength and their own set of values and beliefs, (that you have helped nurture and grow) when faced with depression, bullying, anxiety attacks and peer pressure, give him or her the opportunity to develop a relationship with a life coach.

It is well documented that the vast majority of people we classify as extremely successful have all had coaching.

Oprah Winfrey attributes much of her success to having a life coach. It’s a valuable platform for people to unpack why they are doing what they are doing and to re-align the process so that it creates value and meaning. Living a purpose-driven life puts you back in control. Life coaching works in two phases – inner and outer work. The inner work enables one to discover self-love and confidence – something that is sadly lacking in today’s youth. Social media says you should look like this; act like that and be like X, but what do “I” want? What are my non-negotiables? What do "I” define as acceptable and unacceptable behavior? What do “I “aspire to? What are my dreams and goals? How do I see myself in the world?

Coaching allows you to unpack your emotions and feelings in a safe environment. Beliefs and values are identified and with a curious investigation, establishing where they come from and whether they are still relevant in your life. So many people live with baggage that exists only in their head, hampering them from extending themselves and taking their lives to the next level.

I personally have battled for decades with the fear of failure and the idea that I was not good enough. These torturous feelings can paralyze you and eradicate any feelings of happiness and joy. Self-flagellation leads to shame and the fear of being different and thus disconnected, depriving you of a sense of worthiness and a sense of love and belonging. It limits your ability to grow into the best version of yourself.

Coaching increases your thinking skills and your decision- making skills by analyzing why you think what you do. Coaching develops a curiosity and develops abundant self-love. It creates a platform to manage the consequences of your decisions and the impact they have on others. When your decisions come from a place of authenticity and you have the ability to stand by your decision and know that the consequences will be good, not only for yourself but also for others. You stop living according to someone else’s rules.

Brene Brown puts it so clearly: In a place of safety it is easier to be vulnerable and from vulnerability comes innovation, change, and creativity – all the elements required to be successful in the adult world. From a place of guilt (I did something bad) and shame (I am bad), stemming from the feeling of not being enough, comes secrecy, silence, addiction, violence, depression, and suicide. We need to teach young adults that while life is not a bed of roses, we have the power to change our thoughts and find connection by ensuring that we are comfortable in our own skins. The Bible tells us: “To thine own self be true”. Why is this so important? Because we need to be able to rely on our inner resources to find our way to make deep and meaningful connections with others. Teens are on their way to adulthood and if they do not learn the skills to manage the overwhelm and gather the strength to make a change, they will grow up to be unhappy adults living without these skills.

Photo by Guillaume Bleyer on Unsplash

The professional marketplace Bidvine recently reported a 280% year-on-year surge in life coach bookings on its site, with 54% made by those aged 18 to 22. In its 2017 Global Consumer Awareness Survey, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) found that 35% of Generation Z respondents (those born after 1995) already had a coach.

Coaching is usually associated with executives looking to advance their careers, so why has life coaching become so appealing to young people?

Because they want an unfair advantage.

Having successfully raised 4 children, now all successful adults, I have seen how it has become increasingly difficult to extract yourself from the pack and stand as an authentic; resilient individual, comfortable in one’s sense of self, with a clear vision of what drives one's passion The value of knowing yourself is invaluable.

About my course:

My adolescent 4me course consists of 12 one-hour sessions. I work remotely over Skype or in person on a one-on-one basis. If your son or daughter feels that they want to do this in a group, I am very open to group coaching.

There is no greater happiness as a parent than to see our children flourish as young adults, confident, empathetic, resilient individuals who are ready to take their place in the world.

Give your son or daughter the opportunity to unpack the issues that are holding them back. It's the chance to be their best selves. Once they have a clear understanding of who they are, able to trust their judgement, design their values and build their goals. Coaching has so much more value than other extramural activities and develops skills and tools that are used throughout your children's life.

Course Outline: 12 sessions –R 6500

Wake up:

Who are you and what do you want?

Define your goals.

Create action steps and milestones.

Break the cycle of numbness.

Create coping mechanisms for when things go wrong


An introduction to mindfulness

Living with gratitude and abundance

Using resources

Setting boundaries


Building confidence

Show up:

Seize opportunities


What is your purpose?

Your inner voice

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+27(0)83 644 0795


South Africa