Yael (not her real name) came to me for coaching to improve her relationship with her 25-year-old son. She so wants to be close to him, for the walls to come down, for it to feel easy to have conversations. When she asks a question, he gives a very short answer. When she sends a text, he sends a one-word response. He rarely asks her about herself, she’s convinced he doesn’t care. For weeks at a time, Yael keeps her distance, gives him space – and it’s really hard for her. For Yael to believe in herself, she yearns to be part of his life and to be that mom who says the next right thing.
Here is some of what Yael has been practicing:
• Sending texts to her son that are short and encouraging about happenings in his life.
Not taking it personally when his response is very brief.
• Sharing with her son about something she is proud of or nervous about.
Not assuming that he doesn’t care if he doesn’t follow up.
• Keeping their family tradition to be in touch before shabbat. Appreciating that he is open to being part of this tradition.
• Asking his opinion or involving him in a decision. Accepting his viewpoint even if it is different from hers.
• Repeating her self-affirmation that she loves her son and she is doing the best she can.
In life coaching, small steps can lead to real change. After only a couple of months of coaching, Yael wrote: “I let go of some serious guilt that has been stuck with me for years. I feel better about my relationships and I have a more positive and accepting outlook and attitude towards others and myself.”