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Ask Coach Paradise

Coach Paradise is here to help people make the kind of changes that will allow them to live the lives they only dream of. Recently returned to her own tropical home, she is offering her services so that others can create paradise in their lives wherever they are. No concern is too big or small for her unique coaching approach which comes with compassion, creativity and a heartfelt desire to help others produce extraordinary results. If you have a question for Coach Paradise, please send it confidentially to her at anne@coachparadise.com.
Dear Coach Paradise,
My husband and I seem to perpetually argue over our 13-year-old daughter's activities. She is very bright, well-behaved and an excellent student. She also helps nicely with babysitting her two little brothers and with doing chores. On the weekends I frequently allow her to go to the movies or sleepovers with her friends. I know her friends and their parents and I also trust her. My husband believes she should be home more, under total supervision and doing more chores. In my eyes it is not balanced and he expects too much from a 13-year-old, and I think she deserves some fun. Inevitably he becomes angry with me and it becomes a repetitive cycle. How can we come together as one happy family?

Loving Mom
Dear Loving Mom –
Wow. Whatever you and your husband are doing, you have done something right! Your daughter sounds incredible, a credit to herself and to the two of you.
Arguing over your daughter's activities stems from the "structures of knowing" (mental models/assumption/conclusion) that you and your husband have regarding parenting, your daughter and one another We can all be very stubborn about holding on to how we think things should be done and who we think people are. Being willing to shine a light on these closely held beliefs and opinions takes courage and heart. Only when we take then apart so that we can examine them closely will anything change. These structures of knowing are based on our personal experiences and history, on what we were told as children and on cultural traditions They include judgments we make about people arising from things they did in the past, real or imagined, and on how they behave in the present. The point is we freeze people into their positions and stop seeing them as who they really are in their hearts. Parents often say, "I was raised this way and this is the way I am going to raise my children." Or the opposite "My parents did this to me. I will never do that." It is convenient to put people in a box – "That's just the way he/she is…" or "I can't help it. I'm just that kind of person." We also box whole groups as in "teen-agers can't be trusted." We operate from many such conclusions, most of which we are not even aware.
I would suggest that you and your husband do some exercises so that these underlying conclusions can be brought to light, shared and examined. Share stories and listen. Ask what is true here and if there might be some other ways of doing things that would be more interesting, more productive and more conducive to family harmony. You and your husband might start by sharing how you were parented and what messages you received about what it means to be a good parent from family and from society. You can then decide what parts of these histories you want to repeat and what parts you want to discard. What kind of parents do you really want to be?
I am sure there will be many surprises – like looking through an attic or closet you haven't visited in a while. I know you will discover great treasures and probably some outworn stuff that you have kept because you were afraid that if you threw it out something bad would happen A coach is always a great partner on a journey like this as this is really the beginning of a new way of looking at things so that you can be the harmony you want to create in your family.
Warm wishes,
Coach Paradise
Editor's note: Coach Paradise (aka Anne Nayer), Professional Life Coach, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, an MSW clinical social worker/psychotherapist, and a medical case manager with 30 years experience working with people of all shapes, sizes and challenges.
For further information about her services, call 340-774-4355.

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