A Different Kind of Core Work for ‘At A Loss’ — Remember to Work IN too.
Hi — how’s it going? Hope you’re having a great summer, and enjoying every minute.
‘At a loss’ is a busy executive, with a hectic schedule, two children, and a new divorce. She wants to know how to help her children — but she has no time to help herself. She doesn’t have the time for self improvement, but wants to know how she can jump right in to help her son who is getting into trouble at school.
She asks me for some help with dealing with her son’s experience at school. I give her some suggestions, but also suggest she take some time to help herself and develop her inner core. Do some core work, and get the same kind of personal care internally that she gets externally. Read on for more.
I’ve never written something like this, I was raised not to discuss problems, not even to acknowledge them. I saw you in an article I read and liked your response to the issue discussed, and quite frankly I have no idea why I’m writing to you, but I am. I’ve done a lot of things this year that I never dreamed I’d be doing, so I guess this fits right in there. Please keep my information private. Thank you.
I have a very intense position in a very intense industry. I have attained professional success in any way that anyone describes it. I got divorced about a year ago after an almost 20 year marriage, and am raising my two children (10 and 15) mostly on my own. I am lucky to have excellent household help. My ex husband has the children every other weekend, which causes more disruption than not for all of us, but he’s their father so I allow it. While we were married I was the primary breadwinner in the family.
Most days including weekends I work 14- 18 hours. It is necessary for my industry and position. The only time I take for myself is to work out most mornings, and get personal care which I’m able to have done in my home. My external image is very important to my work position. I meet many people, and travel often.
I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy. Mostly because I’m not even sure what that would feel like. As I mentioned above, we didn’t discuss feelings, emotions, or anything like that when I was growing up in my home. I did whatever I may have done in college, and got married at 22. I did all the things I was supposed to do, personally and professionally.
The reason I’m writing you is that I’m concerned about my children. If I must be honest, I believe some of their issues are related to my not being home much while they’re growing up. My older one almost got suspended from school. Their father reported to me that at the meeting with school officials, his teachers and guidance counselors at school they said he’s been acting out. We discovered that he’s been drinking, and possibly more, and getting into trouble online.
I don’t want this to affect his younger sister, or for him to be a bad influence on her. They’re very close, which surprises me as I wouldn’t imagine a 15 year old boy and a 10 year old girl would have much in common.
I want to help them any way I can. I don’t know where to begin. My son has been sent for counseling to a private counselor since I would not allow him to get counseling at school. I don’t want it on his record.
I don’t have time for self improvement at this time, as I mentioned I work many hours, but I do want to help my son. How can I help my son? What should I be saying and doing? Is it the divorce that has caused this? I’m at a loss. None of this is anything I’ve ever been prepared to deal with. Put me in a meeting and I know what to do. This has me completely at a loss as to what to do next.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and any help you could provide would be very helpful and appreciated.
At a loss
Here are some thoughts in response.
Hi ‘At A Loss’,
Wow, You’ve got lots going on! And it sounds like while you’ve been well prepared to deal with your work and professional life, you weren’t provided with the same preparation and guidance for dealing with your family life.
Your questions here deal with helping your son. It does sound like he’s going through a lot and acting out because of it. I’d love to give you specific guidance and direction about what to do with him, but since I don’t have more specifics, I hesitate to go deep with my responses about the situation.
Some general coaching tips on first steps to take:
- Keep open lines of communication between you and your son’s father. Communicate about issues your son is experiencing at school and at home. The positive things as well as the negatives.
- Meet with your son’s teachers and the administration if necessary. Your son should understand that you’re all working together and that there is accountability. You’re all in contact about his progress, and are there to step in if/when there are problems.
- Set up a system of accountability/consequences. In simple terms that means he needs to know that he can’t ‘get away’ with all of his negative behavior. Match the consequence to the actions. Remember to be as fair as possible. In some cases you can even ask him what he thinks should happen if he does x, y, or z. (Sometimes kids are tougher on themselves than you would be on them, so ask him — and discuss a fair follow-up.)
- Get him any, and all, of the help he needs. If the school counselors/therapists are not an option, get him the help he needs via private therapy or counseling. I know many people who bypass their insurance companies in order to keep the work confidential.
- Listen to him.
- Spend time with him.
- Discover, and uncover, his great qualities, skills and strengths. Focus on them.
- Encourage him to spend quality OFFLINE time with friends. Whether that’s through sports, crafts, arts, or anything else he might be interested in.
- Keep your daughter in the conversation as well. What’s going on with her? Use any of the above suggestions with her as well.
- Do things as a unit. Create a new family dynamic among the three of you, and encourage your husband to do the same with them. They have new family situations now. That’s their new reality. Make it as positive and unified as possible.
Emotional Life Lessons for you:
My suggestion to you would be to get some assistance for yourself as well in order to be the best, strongest, most capable person you can be — in order to help yourself — and in that way, to help your children.
I always use the example of the oxygen masks on planes. The flight attendants always say that if you’re traveling with children to put your own oxygen mask before you put theirs on them. Why? Because if you can’t breathe or function, you won’t be able to help them.
You mention that you “don’t have time for self improvement”. I believe you, really.
It sounds like you’re busybusybusybusy.
But — you have time for external self improvement. You say that you take time to take care of yourself for work, and other things.Okay, so there’s some time there. Now —
- Make some time for internal self improvement.
- Make some time for self-development.
- Take some time to figure out who you are right now, and who you want to be moving forward.
- Work your inner core. Strengthen your great qualities.
- Develop new qualities that you never took the time to do before.
I’m not suggesting it’s easy to do. Working out is hard to do, and you do it.
Self care is time consuming, and you do it.
Working OUT is hard. Working IN can be tough too — but so worth it!
Great good luck to you, your children, and your new family unit. If you’d like more specific suggestions please feel free to ask.
Your life is like no other℠
Kiki aka Coach Kiki
aka Rebecca Kiki Weingarten, M.Sc.Ed, MFA
Have a question you’d like answered? Or an issue you’d like some thoughts on? Ask away.
© 2018 TradeCraft Coaching & Rebecca K. Weingarten Please note that all posts are for entertainment purposes. It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of medical or psychological care. You are always encouraged to check and confirm the information with other sources and through direct professional contact.