My teenage son is now attending a fabulous program that involves a significant amount of outdoor education, small classrooms and an amazing counsellor who is on site daily as well as with the students on their wilderness outings. Here’s a RP of his latest newsletter w/ some info on his upcoming parent workshops & individual counselling.

1) Feature Article: Parents As Leaders for Their Teens

Working with teens on a daily basis in groups, classrooms,
wilderness settings,and in my private counselling office I
see that every move you make as an adult has an impact on
them. Teens want to learn appropriate ways of handling situations
in life. Teenagers will watch how I treat or react to a co-worker,
a parent, or handle a difficult situation. They will test and
see how I react to something that they think might be shocking
to me.

Teens appreciate adult leadership in situations where they feel
too awkward, weird, or uncomfortable to handle on their own.
This is particularly true when it is something that they must
face that involves emotions such as embarrassment, shame,
guilt, sadness, hurt, to name a few.

How You Can Be a Positive Leader for Your Teen:

Lead by Guiding Your Teen Through Challenging Events

On multi-day camping trips with the teens I work with,
we often form a circle and process challenging
events. Some of these events are inter-personal conflicts or
inappropriate behaviours. We, as the adults, lead and guide the
conversation. We encourage everyone to express themselves,
take responsibility for their actions, and be held accountable.

The school staff and myself are responsible for maintaining an
atmosphere of emotional, mental, and physical safety. While teens
may not often appreciate sitting in a circle processing an event,
they do appreciate the adults being in charge so that it is a safe
environment in order to grow and learn from. Teens have confided
in me that they will take risks with peers and even parents only
when an adult is there to advocate for them or hold everyone
accountable for an emotionally safe environment. Teens will share
emotions such as hurt, frustration, fear, anxiousness, etc, when
they feel safe enough to do so. The adults make sure that the group
doesn’t get into a negative spin with people angrily accusing each
other, which hinders the resolution of conflict and the facilitation
of growth. On a smaller and personal scale, you as a parent are
responsible for the emotional and mental safety in your home. Teens
will not share everything with you of course, but they will be much
more open to being held accountable and taking responsibility for
their actions when they feel a good level of emotional and mental
safety and trust with you as the adult. Being aware and responsible
for your own emotions, especially in challenging events is the first
step to creating emotional and mental safety in your home. Suspend
your own emotional reactions and practice listening first to what
they have to say. Listening is not the same as approving any negative
behaviour. Listening does show that you are in control of yourself,
which is the first step creating a sense of emotional safety in most

Lead By Modeling Healthy Spousal And Ex-Spousal Relationships

How we treat our spouses and others around us is also picked
up by our kids. When we, as adults, work through our own issues
and inter-personal conflicts with the people closest to us it gives
our children a tremendous internal compass of what is possible
between people. No one is perfect, but the overall values of trust,
commitment, self-respect,determination, hope, responsibility, etc.
are things that kids learn from being in the presence of adults who
practice these values.

Single parents are also very influential in how they treat or handle
ex-spouses and other adults around them as well. Every situation is
different and sometimes single parents need to make difficult
decisions based on their circumstances. However, a decision based
on integrity and good intention in regards to relationships is far
better than reacting emotionally.

Lead By Taking Responsibility For Yourself

Like most parents you are willing do a lot for your kids, but
remember to be willing to do things for yourself as well. If you are
prone to anger and irritability because of stress you are responsible
for the impact this has on your teen –and for apologizing to help
heal the wounds. Sometimes we end up snapping at our kids for
things that are stressing us out that have little to do with them.
Just like we expect our kids not to take out their frustrations on us
or other people, we need to be aware of how well we are taking care
of ourselves so we can be in the best frame of mind when being with
our kids.

Lead by Showing Strong Personal Values

How we eat and drink, the amount of time we spend on the computer,
and the amount we exercise, etc., all have an impact on our kids. Our
attitudes towards different ethnic cultures, towards our jobs, and
how we see the world has an influence on those closest to us and
around us.

Teens will experiment and test values to varying degrees, but as they
grow up many of the values that you practiced and exposed them to in
the home will sprout later in life in them. Of course we don’t expect
our children to become carbon copies of ourselves, as there will be
differences, but as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author
of ScreamFree Parenting stated, “Who you are as a person has far more
influence on your kids than any lecture you give them.”

Lead by Being Engaged in Self-Development, Growth, and Learning

I have worked with teens who are very proud of their mothers or
fathers for upgrading their own education, starting something new
in life, or overcoming drug and alcohol abuse. What these adults did
was focus on self-development by taking action and making a
commitment. Teens looked up to these parents as an example of
what is possible in a very concrete and real way. They saw an adult
take charge of their own life, work hard, and achieve something that
could be measured and celebrated. It doesn’t have to be a major life
changing event either. Even little things show a sense of
responsibility and care for yourself that is positive for you and
positive for your child to witness.

Leading As a Parent Is Not The Same As Controlling Behaviour

Leading is about being in a position of influence, rather than trying
to control our children through lectures and discipline. As teens
experience the kind of positive leadership that you show them, they
start adopting these values and behaviours themselves. I have seen
teens grow over time because of challenges they face and being lead
positively through the process by an adult step by step. Then as time
goes on, the teens rely less on the adults because of their own
practice, confidence, and skill in handling different and difficult
situations. I have seen teens after being lead through many growth
processes by adults eventually take over and step into more
leadership type roles. They are able to do this because of their
experience and wisdom gained from having gone through several
challenging processes. This in the end is what parents want when
launching their kids into adulthood.

“Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, leads the flock to fly
and follow.”
-Chinese Proverb


2) Free Talk/Workshop

“Collecting, Connecting, and Correcting working with Teens”
Decvember 12, 2012

— Would you like to have a closer relationship with you teen son or
— Discover ways to connect with your teen that actually brings you
and your teen closer.
— Look at how to strengthen your relationship and make it more
positive and rewarding.

Registration Info:




Parenting Program for Parents of Teens

Starting Date Wednesday January 23 2013 For 6 sessions
Evenings 6pm-8:30pm

Focus on
— Strengthening Your Parenting Skills,
— Regain Your Sense of Self,and Bring More Peace Back in Your Life
— Discover how to improve communication with your teen,
— Handle confrontations and conflict, and develop the
confidence and the skills to resolve the problems you are
having with your teen.

This parenting program that include experiential
exercises and mini lectures on teen development.

This Parenting Group will be held at
John Oliver Secondary School
530 East 41st Ave (41st and Fraser)
Vancouver, BC V5W 1P3

Classroom #176

For more information go to:

To register send e-mail to:


4) Counselling Services

I provide counselling for teens, parents, and family.

Call for a free 10-minute consultation 604-786-0709


Burnaby Office location: 2nd Floor 5050 Kingsway Burnaby — near
Metrotown Station

Vancouver Office Location: 2nd Floor 1892 West Broadway — near Cyprus
and Broadway

Hours: 4-7 pm Mon, Tues, and Wed

Klaus Klein is a Register Clinical Counsellor in BC