#094 Strategies for Intentional Parenting in the Teen Years with Keely Ng Transcript


Lisa Marker Robbins  00:34

In the whirlwind of parenting teenagers and juggling our own responsibilities, it’s easy to lose sight of intentional parenting, especially when teens push back. Well, I support teens and their parents. In my launch Career Clarity course, we often talk about strategies for doing intentional parenting. Today, I welcome Kelly into the podcast. She’s a mom of two teenagers in doing a fantastic job at intentional parenting, not only with our launch course, but in many other ways as well. I’ve invited her into a conversation to inspire other parents who are also striving to be intentional during these crucial years when their teen is still under their roof. I’m Lisa marker Robbins, and I want to welcome you to College and Career Clarity, flourish coaching production. Let’s dive right in to a great conversation. She really welcome


Keely Ng  01:32

thank you for having me.


Lisa Marker Robbins  01:33

This is so fun. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, what we we have a lot of like, experts, and, you know, authors and professional counselors. And I think that it could almost be more important to have someone like you on who is just a mom in the trenches. And I’m just gonna say as somebody who has supported parents and teens for over 30 years, and I think we currently have 453 active students in our launch course, you stand out as doing a great job. And I also know you’re not doing a perfect job.


Keely Ng  02:17

No, I am not. I am doing a good enough job. And I It’s okay, and always getting better every day.


Lisa Marker Robbins  02:23

You’re doing more than good enough. Yeah, no, we’re gonna leave it at knives. We’re gonna leave it at that. Okay, so you are one who really believes in the value of coaches, I know that about you. As for you, and adult, I mean, we see parents hiring all kinds of coaches for their kids, right? I mean, swimming and soccer and test prep and all the things. You lean into coaches in your own life, which, well, let’s just talk about that. Like, what kind of coaches do you lean into? Why do you do get coaching for yourself, you know, in your 40s


Keely Ng  03:03

So I first started with coaching, when my now 10th grader was 13 and I did it because I was I’d read every book, but I was lacking practical applications and help from an actually an objective third party to help me parent him in a way that improved our relationship and didn’t take away from our relationship. And our so I hired a family coach who came in and really helped me create systems and things that were missing, he helped me see the holes. And so the beginning for me of coaching was seeing was looking for external people that could really help me build skills and, and ways to become a better parent or better at other things in my life. So I hired a family coach, which opened my eyes to how much better I could get at that with some coaching, and a lot of humility. And then I subsequently found myself also a cognitive nutrition coach because I’m passionate about my health and fitness. And same reasons I just looked to, how could I find a really everyday way to improve my day to day life that was not some nutty fad diet or anything like that. And the coaching for me gives me objective third party tools and cheerleaders in my corner that helped me get better and then also celebrate when I’m getting better and help me with find tools where I need improvement. So it’s been awesome. Like I and I have an executive coach as well. I like coaches I I’m not ashamed to say that they helped me be the best version of myself and I couldn’t I don’t know what I would do without them all. Now I’ve stopped reading parenting books and I just hire coaches.


Lisa Marker Robbins  04:56

I love that. So as a coach and yeah unis welcoming me into your family’s journey on a college major and career coaching pieces just like I love to hear when people are getting wins with any kind of coaching not just my like any kind of coaching the value of of that in their lives now. I want to go back to your family coach’s name is James. Is that right? Yeah. Okay. So you had shared previously and it when you guys started working with James, you were having some family meetings or? Yes. Okay. So that was like, well, before your oldest was in high school you even needed? Yes. Thinking about it. I tried


Keely Ng  05:38

  1. Yes. Yeah, I don’t know if everybody remembers there was a Wall Street Journal article written about family meetings a long time ago, and I read it, bought the book, read the book. And I tried relentlessly, to have family meetings of all kinds. From the time I think that Brady was eight, my oldest was eight. And they were great. But it was fits and starts, it was hard to maintain a rhythm. I mean, I think what I loved about him is that they just opened up really safe communication in our family about what was working and what wasn’t. So we will kind of talk through things. But as Brady’s got, as my both my kids have gotten older, I’ve needed we’ve needed better tactics, I guess, and accountability, because it’s hard to do them. And it’s hard to stick with them with everything else going on in life. And the family coach helped us put more of those systems and processes in place in a way that made more sense for my family, because he can see the dynamic. It was like he could see it every day. As opposed to me trying to implement like a theory. Yeah, make sense? Yeah. Totally. Yeah. So family meetings are great. They’re hard to do. What makes


Lisa Marker Robbins  06:46

them hard? Isn’t how busy life in Yeah. Before, okay. And just


Keely Ng  06:50

like everybody. Yeah, it’s, and just, yes, how busy life is I think at the baseline, that’s what gets in the way and keeping them fun, and not letting them devolve into conflict, because I want them to be a place of safety and fun. And that’s hard to do sometimes, especially as they’re getting older and more combative. Right? Yeah. One


Lisa Marker Robbins  07:14

of the things that and I know, I mean, you already know this, but sharing with our listeners, I always coach families that like parents need to put a muzzle on Monday through Thursday, on all of the things I mean, when I’m teaching and I’m saying like, don’t talk about what colleges we want to visit or your next AC t test, or what college major are you thinking about currently, Monday through Thursday, when your kids and school they’ve got so many demands on them? I mean, you know, we as adults feel in our body when we’re super busy. And so my first piece of advice is, you know, put a muzzle on it Monday through Thursday, but then also carve out intentional space. On the weekend. Some of my families actually say Thursday night works really well for that. I don’t know why, I mean, maybe it just, maybe it’s just their particular family. But what you were saying about like, how do you keep it fun. There is a mom and our, in our group who this was sometime last year, and the launch course and she said they were they started doing their work and having a family college bound meeting, which is the framework that I teach every single week. They made it pancake Saturday. So they actually, she made a bunch of pancakes. They sat around the kitchen table, they got out the laptop, and that was something that made it fun. Have you got helping to


Keely Ng  08:41

look forward to I tried everything from like, there’s a desert picker to like having everybody have different roles. Having a note taker, I’ve tried all kinds of things and but I feel like what we’ve arrived on is now a teenager’s is unfortunately making it contingent upon some things they want to do. So man making it non negotiable, but making it fun. So maybe for the first 10 weeks, we’re going to try all the different pizza places in our area. And every week that one person gets to choose the place and choose the pizza like we’re just I’m trying to, but it’s not easy. It’s just it’s it’s a challenge. But I think that’s actually when you bring up what how do you coach families on that college bound conversation? That’s a piece of coaching that’s really benefited me because that’s the value of the external the person that the external objective third party that says, Wait, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but let’s save it all for this one conversation so that you it helps to reduce the friction between my son and me that I would not have known if it hadn’t been for the coaching for that conversation that we’ve had in the process. It’s just it’s those are the tidbits that coaches give you that you miss in every other form of conversation. Well, Edie, I


Lisa Marker Robbins  10:02

mean, I, I’m learning to as I do this with you all, you know, we, we’ve had nearly 4000 families go through this framework that I teach at this point. And I hit so funny with every year, I learned something new, right. So I just was always saying, like, Hey, have you know, put it on a weekend, make it a safe time, make it a commitment is a weekly commitment, the feedback I get is, at first they resist. And then we start really, like, we make it as fun as we can. And we, yeah, we keep going along. And they, they come along with us, and they start to get more involved like the pancake Mom, we’re just gonna call her that, because I don’t know that I ever permission to share her name her story on here. But the pancake mom said, after so many weeks, we found that we were sitting at the table much longer than the hour we had committed to because we were having fun and getting things done. And I had another mom reach out to me recently and say, you know, you taught me how to put a sock in it in herself and not talk about thing. But then she added a new rule on top of it. This is why I like everybody sharing their stories, because we all learn from each other. And I’m thinking like homey, and I wish now I wish my kids were still in high school. And I could go back and employ some of the things I’m learning from great parents around me. But she said, you know, she puts a sock in it. But they added another role that but if he wanted to talk about it, he could initiate and she goes over time, he started initiating conversations.


Keely Ng  11:39

That’s awesome. And I think with teenagers that consistency piece of just keep showing up, even when there is resistance, because I think that’s one of the hardest things to learn is parenting a teenager, and people want to give up because it gets hard. And if you stick with it, like everything else, they come to look forward to it as their quality time. And I think for me, that’s been one of the biggest lessons, that’s where coaching has helped the accountability of keep showing up and being open for the new like just sticking with it when it’s hard.


Lisa Marker Robbins  12:10

I think you know, that you guys haven’t been in the course, as long as some of the others is, you know, it’s for a year that people have access to it. A lot of people finish their journey before the year. And that’s fine. But I always teach inside the course. And it goes along with what you just said, an object in motion stays in motion. And didn’t even take physics in high school. Everybody, I’m going to admit to that. But an object yet wrath is going to tend to stay at rest. And so this idea of getting some momentum going and what I love about your story, as it was like you got some momentum going when Brady was only eight years old, with a family couch, and that you’ve kept up that momentum because you’ve kept up the consistency with it, that you are sharing to me I want to talk a little bit about this about how you said like, it’s been hard because of the busyness and you have both Natalie and Brady are very active. And and you’re very busy and involved. So to get that in you it’s been a little bit hit or miss. But you’re feeling differently about that now as you have a sophomore? Yes, you know, that’ll


Keely Ng  13:21

be I mean, and thanks really to the course for opening up the power of plant, it’s there’s the part of being intentional planning ahead and having enough leeway to feel like you can have small conversations but how important they are now, one of the things that it’s helped us to talk about for 10th grade is what the what the course has, how it’s affecting my son’s day to day decision making with his classes, what he’s enjoying and how it’s opening his eyes. And so because we’re, I’m seeing as with a 10th grader, that smaller, more intentional conversations have are more important now than ever, because I’m losing the day to day control, right, I have to let him go. He’s I want I want to empower him to be autonomous, empowering with the tools to make good decisions. And those happen in these very small conversations. They don’t happen all at once. And they don’t. Unfortunately, for everybody that has teenage boys, the car ride while it used to be fun. I mean, sometimes it’s silent, because they’re not ready to talk about it. So giving them the space and time to be ready and then having small conversations, and then having sort of that long term vision for where we actually want to get to in senior year kind of helps me back into where we are today. And what do we talk about in small chunks in these meetings with my 10th grader because yeah, because he’s we’ve talked about this but his journey in school has continues to evolve, especially as our result of the course. And so we need to keep having those conversations because they help it helps him make good decisions in North sort of at school every


Lisa Marker Robbins  15:07

day. So what would be like? What’s an example? I’m super curious because you’re you’re sharing like we’re doing work on college majors and careers. You no no yourself no careers, no your path. And how do you see that affecting everyday school? I like is there an example of? Well, so


Keely Ng  15:28

my son is at a fairly challenging Catholic High School, and he’s in was is in an honors magnet program called the business magnet. And in the business magnet, he’s getting to have, like, all kinds of experiences, stock competitions, or cool communications, things like that. So that’s informing one part of his day to day, that’s a four year curriculum. Those are all of his electives. And then over here, he because of his reading level, he was had been placed in very high level, English and history classes, and also in a math class and he really struggled in math as a freshman, um, as a result maybe of COVID. And so he was having an he was having this mismatched experience. He was super passionate successful in the business magnate, and then really struggling in math and was saying but that but by the way, was getting did got second in an all year stop competition in his so knew that he was reasonably decent at analyzing the stock market and picking things. And But why was he bad at math? And so we did your course. And we took the Burkman and the Berkman said he had this unusual proclivity for numbers and persuasion, where he was like, Oh, my gosh, wait, I do actually see the world this way. Maybe I’m not bad at math. I’m just not placed right? In the right place. So we battled through the freshman year. And then this year, he is looking critically at his classes every day, like in the quarter even. Am I in the right spot? Based on what I know unwired for? And how I’m performing in those classes? Or should I be making changes in my curriculum mix, instead of just staying on the track he was placed in in his high school placement tests or what his teachers tell him to do? So it’s like he’s engaged in the decision making process now. So like, he’s coming to me saying, I think I need to go talk to my English teacher about maybe dropping down out of honors, because wow, like mid year, mid year, like I and I want to talk to my college counselor mom, about whether or not I’m better off taking other classes that are going to get me more ready for a business program because I thrive in those. And I’m so for me, it’s been so it’s because it’s given him agency, which by the way, like one of my favorite things about coaches is they teach you to find your own agency. And that’s what I’m seeing in him. It’s giving him agency and autonomy to make his own decisions and taking me out of the mix except for as a facilitator of conversation or question asking because I, I’m the one saying, hey, but maybe, yes, you were this great reader, but maybe we should be looking at a different class mix for you to give you so because he’s having fun in some of these classes. And maybe we need to lean into those more instead of just staying the track we think we’re supposed to. Does that make sense?


Lisa Marker Robbins  18:22

It does make sense. And I think like, one of the things I love about that is how many people I see in the work that I do that the world is telling us keep up with that, you know, make sure you take XY and Z and these APs and whatever to position yourself for what a college wants instead of what do you want, what are you aligned for? And I think too, in that says, part of why I wanted to have you on was I love that you’re doing this with I always say in my utopian society, it would be 10th graders that start doing the work not only my course, but we’re family start to become really intentional, like live freshmen be freshmen get used to high school, do the all the things. But I love that you said like, because it’s 10th grade, you’re a realizing like Okay, now we really do have to do the weekly thing. We can’t just like hodgepodge it along, you would share that with me before. But they can also be small conversations because like I got an email from my mom this week, and she said, so the date we’re recording this is what what is it October 6, we’re gonna drop it at the end of the month. And she said, you know, my daughter’s overwhelmed with college applications because she has to check the boxes like what major and write the why of this major essay, is she said How fast can we get through your course. And I thought ah, it can be done and as little It’s six weeks. And what I find is most people like ease and flow in that. And so when you start doing, not only like what I’m talking about college majors and careers, but all of the college bound journey, where are we going to visit? What extracurriculars do we want to do? When are we going to take the AC T? Or the LSAT? What about test prep, when you start in 10th grade, they can be small conversations, because you’re not in a hurry?


Keely Ng  20:27

Well, and I find that it changes, it just evolves. And so also having access to resources that you can check back in with as it evolves, like, is important to me. So it’s because I want my son, my son is really gifted in some non probably traditional ways, and not maybe not as academically, he’s not going to be a straight A student. So where can I empower him to, because I just want him to go have fun and not have fun, I want them to be successful in life. And I want to enjoy that and have a purpose and a passion. And I think this helps us have those conversations right now, instead of being focused on grades and outcomes.


Lisa Marker Robbins  21:13

I love that tape. This is why people needed to hear your story that’s


Keely Ng  21:17

so much more fun.


Lisa Marker Robbins  21:20

And it’s counterintuitive to what most of the world is telling parents and it’s creating a great amount of stress. I spoke at a private high school at an event last night around this, like what are colleges looking for, and it wasn’t about checking the boxes that they wanted, it’s about developing the whole team. And, and I, a number of moms came up to me afterwards, were like, you know, thank you, because I keep hearing this, I keep feeling pressure for this, and it just doesn’t sit right with me. You have


Keely Ng  21:51

to have courage. This is one thing I have learned is that if you have the courage to seek an alternative path, like to look for what’s best for your kid, then you begin it’s the same experience if you begin to get feedback and an information that helps you course correct or move in the direction. But you have to have the courage to step off the treadmill. And you have to have the courage to look at it differently and say, I’m okay. It’s my kid. It’s very easy to like put your like I have another child, my daughter who’s going to be a probably a 4.5 GPA kid that does all the things right? It’s, it’s a little more easy. It’s a little easier to stay on that treadmill or think that that looks right. But I want to stay over. It’s so much more fun to have courage and it just it takes courage with your kid. Like


Lisa Marker Robbins  22:42

it all takes courage. I say to kids all the time. And like, I feel like you know sometimes I asked people under the podcast and I’m like, Oh my gosh, I had no business asking that New York Times bestselling author. And a lot of them say no, and some of them say yes, but we show up and we do the hard things. I have a question about Natalie, your younger one. So Kim Brady’s in 10th grade Natalie’s and what grade? Eight, eight. Okay, so is she being included in all of these family meetings? And is she resistant or ready? Or how does that look, Natalie is


Keely Ng  23:18

a unique, she’s a very unique and she’s extremely driven. And she knows exactly what she wants to do. So she wants to be a doctor. Brady’s high school also has an Medical Magnet. She has known since she was very little that I was where she wanted to do. And so this medical moment gives her a path there. And in this process of watching Brady be ready and navigate the early years of high school, she has doubled down on being ready and is nervous she won’t be admitted to the Medical Magnet since she self she thankfully because your course and and knowing you has opened up these ideas of even other things she can do to be ready. She has self. She sort of found external like classes that she can do online that will support her application for the Medical Magnet and she is going after those herself. Because yes, I’m in her schedule. So Natalie is the very polar opposite and I think she has benefited from the college bound conversation she has benefited from watching the journey. And she Yes, I mean she’s an extremely perceptive kid too. So she absorbs a lot of our conversation so she’s very much a part of it. And she has some of the best insight so


Lisa Marker Robbins  24:31

that so she sounds very mature for her age. And and I know from other things that you’ve shared that she is and I’m sitting here cracking up and like God has the best sense of humor because had he given you Natalie as kid one and Brady as kid to Natalie, it sounds like would allow you to be a lot more laid back. She sounds like somebody else will figure a lot of the stuff out for herself. And I find it’s true of most really that they’ve got kids that are wildly different or five kids are wildly different from one another. So I just am chuckling at the Oh, good for your parenting and everything that you got Brady first.


Keely Ng  25:13

God blessed me beyond belief with Brady and I tell him that all the time I mean, I have been allowed and because my husband is so incredibly supportive, I have been allowed the space to become the best version of me because of him and rightfully because he’s such a good communicator that he’s he and I’ve been able to have such good conversations and because of the coaching I’m able to listen and so it’s it’s it’s a beautiful thing and it’s benefited everybody like I couldn’t


Lisa Marker Robbins  25:45

I just when I needed they hear I that I couldn’t have been on the last Yeah, as you’ve shared what you’re doing with your family and all the things Healy ng thank you for sharing your fabulous story.


Keely Ng  25:57

Thank you for honoring me it’s it’s a great it’s a it’s just it’s not perfect. I want every parent to know that it may. It’s it’s a journey every day, and it’s new and different every day.


Lisa Marker Robbins  26:10

So, love it. Thanks, Kelly. Yep,


Keely Ng  26:13

thank you, Lisa.


Lisa Marker Robbins  26:19

I am so glad Keeley shared her story. Her journey isn’t flawless, but the way she supports her teens while also empowering them to chart their own path is truly something to aspire to. Whether you’re in my launch Career Clarity course with me and my community of families and schools we’re not. My hope is that you will be inspired to set aside the time for intentional parenting, and weekly college bound conversations with your team. Think of creative ways to make it fun. Sure, there might be a little initial pushback. I’ve seen it countless times with my clients. But soon enough, it’ll become a cherished routine, a source of joy and a fantastic way to ease present and future stress. So put a stake in the ground and declare your family time this week, then, cross the starting line. And if you’re thinking of having me to support you on your college bound journey, check out Lorsch coaching co.com forward slash video for a complimentary on demand video that will likely reengineer your college bound strategy. Love today’s episode know someone who’d benefit from this. Please share supporting us by following rating and leaving a review goes a long way in helping us reach and uplift more families. A big thank you for tuning into the College and Career Clarity podcast. Here’s to transform a confusion into clarity and gearing up for a bright future for our team.