By Beth Wilson
When I was growing up, mothers were plentiful on my block. In fact, we were the only family who had a full-time career mother and so I would go hang out with the mothers who didn't work outside the home. I developed an array of relationships with 2nd and 3rd moms that have been invaluable to this day. Nowadays with so many career women who put in long hours and mothers who work out of necessity, children are too often left to their own devices and far too many parents think teens and young adults don't really need much guidance and time. Not true! The teen years and young adult years are the best time to be a 2nd mom to others' children in order to help them navigate an increasingly complex world and prevent them from being isolated or looking for love in all the wrong places.
- Make your home inviting and welcoming to other children in the neighborhood through your own children's peers. Be the "cool house" on your block that has plenty of love to go around, yet everyone knows the rules.
- Take time out to interact with each teen/child/young adult during the week so they know someone is actively listening and genuinely cares about the details of their lives.
- Team up with other moms in the neighborhood and trade off houses for "family night" once a week (dinner and a movie..be prepared, you'll be watching "Role Models," "Pineapple Express" and other offbeat comedies!) Really builds community.
- Be prepared to go the distance with some of the teens. EX: I attend "family sessions" for one of my 2nd children who is in rehab; I have helped with business contacts and writing resumes to get my 2nd kids jobs; I have helped them plan weddings and dump bad news boyfriends.
- Keep plenty of food on hand--teens and young adults can consume huge quantities of food!
- Engage them in gardening, cooking, making comedy videos, crafts--engaging activities that keep them away from electronics for awhile. They will be more apt to talk with you and make a connection emotionally.
- Understand that some kids will be around for a few months and others will be in your life for years--maybe the rest of your life.
- Engage in their world. If they ask to read a poem outloud to the group, let them. In fact, suggest a "talent night" which can be anything from someone who can fold back their eyelids to singing a song to reading the essay they received an "A" on in class.
About Beth Wilson
Author of "Meditations for New Mothers" and Life Coach
Beth Wilson is a best-selling author, speaker, integrative life coach and women's empowerment expert whose active involvement with parenting and women's issues, as well as personal growth and change, gives her a unique perspective on the challenges facing men, women and families today.
Wilson is the author of the best-selling book, Meditations For New Mothers (1992), which was featured on the front page of The Wall St. Journal due to its volume sales in the first five months of publication. Currently, it has sold more than 800,000 copies and been translated into 15 different languages.
The success of Wilson's first book was followed by publication of Meditations For Mothers Of Toddlers (1995), Meditations During Pregnancy (2001), Restoring Balance To A Mother's Busy Life (1996) and Creating Balance In Your Child's Life (1999).
Wilson is currently finishing her latest book, He's Just No Good For You: A Guide To Leaving A Destructive Relationship, expected in January 2009.
Wilson is also the host of "Quantum Leaps," the popular Internet radio talk show with an international audience that airs on Voice America, the leading live Internet talk radio broadcaster. After initially airing on Voice America's Women's Network, where it became the top-rated show in just 10 weeks, the Internet broadcaster moved the show - which offers listeners a new path for self-empowerment - to its flagship channel in May 2008.
At the same time, Wilson launched a new website, www.bethwilsonlifecoach.com
Wilson earned her B.A. in International Relations from Oberlin College. Upon graduating, she worked as a legislative assistant for former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who was the only woman on the prestigious and powerful Armed Services Committee. As part of her duties, Wilson drafted legislation, floor statements and speeches on Congresswoman Schroeder's behalf and "learned first-hand, how challenging it was to operate in a man's world, and how misunderstood 'woman's issues' truly are."
Wilson's client list includes politicians, celebrities, scholars, royals, Olympians, models, parents, journalists and financial executives. She also has formed an extensive international network of physicians, osteopaths, nurses, healthcare practitioners, therapists, and social workers who utilize her skills for individualized wellness programs.
Wilson conducts life coaching sessions over the phone and travels extensively to meet with clients in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe. Based in Mountain View, Calif., and the mother of three children, she enjoys distance swimming, film and traveling in her spare time.