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When I started this Conversations with Smart People blog series last year, I wanted it to be a special place where I could share interesting stories about interesting people who are doing interesting things.
I met Sheila Storrer a few weeks ago, and knew immediately that she was special. While I may not have any children of my own, I’ve always felt a deep sense of appreciation and respect for the mothers and fathers out there who have a seemingly endless sense of patience, composure, and compassion as they help their children make their way to adulthood.
Sheila is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a parent coach who offers unique parenting support and workshops in the Seattle, WA area.
Q: How did you come to focus on teens within your coaching practice?
Sheila: I coach a lot of women who are parenting teens. I find that our work often focuses on how they want to create more connection with their kids. This is a tricky time of parenting and the skills and communication techniques needed are so different than in any other stage of parenting. During these conversations, it became clear to me that parents of teens are in great need of support and education. They often feel alone because they are reluctant to tell other parents what is going on at home. And, I get it because I’m the parent of two teens myself–I’m swimming in the same waters.
Q: What is your advice to parents who are struggling to connect with their teens?
Sheila: Pick your battles and remember that your kids are going through tremendous changes–emotionally, physically and socially. Practice different techniques to see what works, be patient and give yourself a break when you need it. It’s also a nice idea to set a regular time each week for the family to spend time together. For example, my family has a big dinner every Sunday night and then we watch the Walking Dead. It’s mandatory that everyone is present no matter what else is going on–and NO phones.
Q: What is the one question you most enjoy asking your clients.
Sheila: I love asking my clients what they were like as teenagers. The answers are usually hilarious to both of us and are a great way to point out that what our kids are going through is often exactly what we went through. It’s generational and all a normal part of adolescent development. By remembering our own struggles our empathy increases. When we remember the fun things we did, we often feel excited that now it’s our kids’ turn.
Q: What does self-care mean to you?
Sheila: Now that my own kids are teenagers and I have more time, self-care means reconnecting with the things I enjoyed before I became a parent–hanging out with friends, hiking with my husband, going to the movies and enjoying a quiet morning with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper. I also started meditating after I read Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier. This few minutes of relaxation has helped with my stress level.
Q: Where can we learn more about your parenting workshops and coaching services?
Sheila: I created a specialized program just for parents of teens called Happy Parent | Happy Teen, www.happyparenthappyteen.com. In addition, I offer group coaching and speak at parent meetings. I can be reached at (425) 941-9194 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and more information on my coaching services can be found at www.sheilastorrercoaching.com.