Young people often get overwhelmed by challenge and responsibility which leads them to suffer because they don’t know which path to take in the open delta of possibility. This is a relief for many people to hear, as it justifies their own victimizing moments and crippling thoughts. More often than not, people that are struggling wonder if other people feel the way that they do, not knowing if they can cope with the weight of what they are feeling, nudging them to experiment with mind-altering substances or procrastination.
Life is rife with problems, undoubtedly, but if you properly guide an individual to push against the grain, over time they will gain confidence and competence. Instead of minimizing one's fear or insecurity, it helps to break down the steps to overcome that fear, and how attaining mastery will affect them positively in the future. For example, I had a freshman in the past that had 334 missing assignments! A monster of a mountain to climb, indeed. When he showed me, he was blushing with embarrassment and it hurt him to reveal that weakness to me. I calmly suggested we compartmentalize all the assignments by dividing them into individual classes so we knew which classes were missing what assignments. I cut the mountain into six pieces; fragmenting the problem. He lit up with confidence immediately! Then we took it, one class, at a time, and narrowed the focus; catching up on one class per week. In just six weeks, he was passing all of his classes, and he was caught up in time for finals. He ended up passing all of his classes. As a parent, role model, or mentor you want to strictly praise them and support them. You don’t want to take credit or criticize them for how they shouldn’t have gotten in that position, to begin with. That cripples their success and makes them shy away from the next obstacle in the future, potentially causing them to spiral further, later on.
When we are young we go to our parents for advice and rely on them to provide stability and guidance. We are taught to turn to them to tell us right from wrong, left or right, not to lie and to tell the truth, and to give us the answer to our wonders… Yet, somewhere along the way, (usually happens in our teenage years) we want out of our parent's home, we challenge the truth by lying to bend the fabrics of reality and to go out into the unknown and adventure. Everyone I’ve ever met has said when they were younger all they wanted was to be an adult, to be free to do what they want. This is a freeing ideal, but when adulthood comes and responsibility rushes in we get shaken awake. Most of the time, that day creeps up and blindsides us. Just to discover that life’s questions aren’t answered by our parents because they don’t know either. There comes a day where we come to terms with the fact that everyone knows a little bit about everything but no one person knows all there is to know about anything. That’s a humbling moment as a young person and is usually the fork in the road where some people were raised with the proper tools and enough independence to navigate life’s trenches, and others are left overwhelmed. Where one problem isn’t solved, another surfaces, then another, and they get caught in this downward spiral of dependence and disbelief in themselves. This sometimes lasts years and deep into adulthood if it isn’t properly addressed as a young developing teen. It’s no one's fault and I know some parents take great offense when they know they are in need of help with their child(ren). Rightfully so, it’s difficult to reach out for help when you see your teen lashing out against you, not being transparent, and failing on so many levels while you’re out committing to a career that's demanding, yet supporting the roof over your kid's heads and the clothes on their back. Life is difficult and extremely complicated, but know this: no one has to do it alone.
You can be an amazing parent and still not know what your kid is dealing with at school or what’s going on in their head and maybe they don’t even know how to communicate that to you even if they wanted to? That’s what got me motivated to be that role model (life coach), to be that ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on. As cliche as it sounds, I want to be everything that I needed when I was younger. Someone to talk to about my buried past and my strangling, broken home so that those problems wouldn’t have rippled into the future. Someone to talk to about life’s temptations and the dark times. Someone that can help provide structure and healthy encouragement to what I knew I was capable of. That’s the beauty of Higher Grounds, this team, and the approach we have. We provide the intention of being the best friend of the best version of themselves and their worst enemy toward their flaws and insufficiencies. Given the variable of time for rapport and holding them accountable for discipline, then, the change will speak for itself.
Written by Nicholas Salvemini
HGMT Behavioral Specialist & Mentor