Ep 26: The Teenage Achievement Trap
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Brandilyn Tebo, bestselling author of The Achievement Trap and a retreat leader and life coach, says it’s important for parents to help teens develop a practice of unconditional self love. This episode is full of word-for-word scripts you can use to make it happen with your own teenager.
Full Show Notes
Let’s face it: we want our kids to be happy. And we know that, in order to be happy, they need financial freedom and they need to be doing work that challenges them and allows them to make a positive contribution to the world.
So we emphasize the importance of doing well in school and sports and other activities. We’re training our kids to succeed in life.
But, as bestselling author Brandilyn Tebo explains on this week’s podcast episode, this creates a serious problem: our teens get the message that they have to win in order to be worthy of our complete love. And, perhaps even worse, they start to feel like they need to win in order to be worthy of self love.
Brandilyn knows what she’s talking about. As she explains in her bestselling book, The Achievement Trap, she was once caught up in the trap herself. She was a fashion model, straight-A student, president of a club at her college, and a volunteer at the nearby animal shelter.
From the outside, she seemed to have the perfect life.
But after she developed an eating disorder that led to a breakdown, she started to question everything about the way she was living her life. When she finally found the answers, they didn’t come from where she expected.
Today, she leads retreats around the country and works with individuals and business as a life and branding coach.
On this episode Brandilyn reveals the solution for parents looking to help their teens steer clear of the achievement trap. She says it’s critical to teach teens how to start seeing failure and loss as opportunities to practice unconditional self love.
How, exactly, do you teach this skill to teens?
That’s the subject of this week’s episode.
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Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. Before or after your teen loses a soccer game:
“Whether or not you win the soccer game means nothing about you. It means nothing about your loveability and nothing about your worth. And we’re unconditionally proud of you regardless. And let this be an opportunity for you to practice being unconditionally proud of yourself and to empower other people in being unconditionally proud of themselves and to unconditionally love themselves.”
2. After your teen fails at something or is getting less-than-stellar results:
3. When your teen seems insecure about their body:
4. When your teenager seems very concerned with social media:
5. When your teen is feeling like a failure:
6. When your teen is worried about their performance in school:
7. If it seems like you often commend your teen for something external like grades:
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Help Your Teen Understand the Commitments Behind their Goals:
What are your teen’s current goals? Take a moment to think about the main achievements your teen seems to be pursuing right now in various areas of life. Brandilyn told me it’s important to help your teen see the deeper inner achievements they are striving for as well. How does your teen think it will make them feel to accomplish their desires? Excited? Confident? Proud? Loved? Cool? You can encourage your teen to start acting excited, confident, proud, loved, and cool right now, regardless of whether they achieve the goal or not. On a piece of paper, list the current goals your teen seems to be pursuing. Then, for each goal, jot down how your teen thinks it will make them feel when they achieve this goal. Now talk to your teen and ask if you were right. Tell them the ability to feel the way they want to feel is already inside of them and they can choose to feel that way right now if they want to.
2. Affirm Your Teen for the Human Being they Are:
About Brandilyn Tebo
An acclaimed transformational coach, healing retreat host, and inspirational speaker, Brandilyn Tebo is the author of The Achievement Trap: The Overachiever, People-Pleaser, and Perfectionist’s Guide to Freedom and True Success.
Once a type-A perfectionist who struggled with Anorexia, Brandilyn eventually found her way out of the achievement trap through a combination of inner work and deep meditation, coach trainings, and the study of eastern and western philosophies and mystical traditions. She went on to travel the world teaching empowerment workshops in high schools, prisons, Fortune 500 companies, and colleges.
Today, via her website, blog, and podcast, she coaches clients, readers, and listeners on how to remove internal barriers to following their hearts, changing the world, and being the fullest expression of themselves.