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Community, Coaches, and Closed Doors

By: Clarissa Constantine Wednesday January 11, 2023 comments

It all started with one phrase: I just wish I had other parents to talk to.’

My friend was in tears as she shared the behind-the-scenes view of life with her then-15-year-old daughter. Drinking. Sex. Skipping school. All the things a mom does NOT want her daughter doing.

I asked her what she meant by her statement. She clarified: I wish I had parents to talk to who wouldn’t judge me or say I’m a rotten mom just because of the things my daughter’s doing right now. And I wish I had parents to talk to who could give me actionable guidance as to what to do to help my daughter.

The realization hit me that there IS NO PLACE like this for parents to go, other than a therapist’s chair. (And some might argue that a therapist isn’t a guarantee of both sides of the desire to have others to talk to. Some of them are judgy – they’re human, after all. And they don’t all have advice that can help. Again, they’re human.) And if there are places to go to get this kind of acceptance and support, most parents of teens and tweens don’t know they exist.

And so ParenT(w)een Connection was born as a Facebook group.

That was four years ago. The Facebook group is now kind of like the ‘quad’ in the middle of a college campus – it’s the community space for the different parts of the bigger organization.

ParenT(w)een Village is community for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, mentors, and more. It’s a judgment-free zone to talk about the REAL stuff that goes on behind the perfectly manicured lawns and closed front doors. Gender identity questions. Eating disorders. Unprotected sex. Arrests. DUIs. Suicide attempts. Mental illness. You name it.

Yes, these things happen. A LOT more frequently than anyone realizes. No one talks about these things, partly because we want to protect our kids, and partly because we want to protect ourselves. But we NEED that place to get support – maybe ParenT(w)een Village could be a comfortable space for a parent you know.

Our Trusted Expert Network is a professional networking organization for the folks who work with teens, tweens, and families. Teen & parent coaches. Academic & test prep tutors. Career & college admissions coaches. Family law & criminal defense attorneys. Financial planners & insurance brokers. If they work with teens & their families, this network is where it’s at!

ParenT(w)een Foundation. It’s cool to help parents and teens connect with the professionals who can support them. But what if the families can’t afford the professionals’ rates? That’s where the ParenT(w)een Foundation comes in: we want to help bridge the gap between families and the resources they need.

On my business coaching call today (yes, even coaches have coaches), my coach asked me & the other participants what was standing in our way, what is it (real or perceived, actual task or limiting belief) that is acting as a ceiling on our success.

Mine almost always comes back to ‘fear of failure.’ Like, do I REALLY think ParenT(w)een Connection will take off & run and help thousands and thousands of families? I know it CAN….but WILL IT? Will it catch on? Are parents really willing to invest a measly $20 a month to have a community where they can talk about all the real stuff that goes on with teens? I know the professional side is catching on – we had two new applicants just last week! But will the WHOLE FREAKING CONCEPT come to life in reality the way I see it in my head?

I shared this with my coach and she reflected that these thoughts might also be lying underneath:

  • Is this business even REALLY a THING? Like…it’s different than any other business than I’ve been able to find. It melds parts of my life’s experiences in ways that are unique, for sure.
  • Am I ALLOWED to do this? Can I create something so different from other entities? Who’s telling me NO? (Hint: no one. Absolutely no one.)
  • This feels too easy, too good to be true. Yup….I LOVE connecting people I always have. It’s part & parcel of who I am as a human being. You could say it’s simply how I ‘human.’ And it’s not work. Which is how I KNOW it’s where I belong.

So…if anyone tells you that starting a business or launching a movement is easy…please know that there is a LOT of growth that goes on behind closed doors – just as there’s a lot of growth that goes on behind closed doors in families. And just as business owners find communities of like-minded folks, and they hire coaches to help them grow, so, too, can parents and families find judgment-free zones and coaches. And those can be found at ParenT(w)een Connection.

Clarissa Constantine

About the Author: Clarissa Constantine