Parenting is oftentimes thought of as something that one can learn while “on the job,” however life coach Veenu Keller has been helping families by offering insight, advice, and support to parents and children who are struggling to find common ground with one another.
Veenu Keller of Jacksonville, North Carolina has been working with families for fifteen years, helping parents and children through an approach she developed called “Getting R.E.A.L.:”
Keller describes this approach as a step further than Psychology in that instead of “delving into the same emotions over and over until they’ve exhausted that emotion,” it helps them to create a new story, or “rewrite” their current story or situation.
The key to a happy and cohesive household, Keller says, as she pulls from her own experience as a mother of six, is “listening to my children, and by doing that, I have learned so much about being a parent, and guiding them versus dictating them. Making sure that they understand life is about choices. We have choices that get good consequences, we have choices that have not-so-great consequences.”
A common misstep that many parents take, according to Keller, is making parenting decisions based on how they were raised as children, however every child is different, and so Keller suggests deciding on the outcome that parents want from their children, and taking actions based on those goals.
Another aspect of Keller’s approach that sets her apart is that although she works with the family as a whole, she also works with the children separately. During her time with adolescents, that the thing she hears most is that they would like more freedom. She continues, saying to her clients, “if you don’t give freedom, they’re going to take their freedom,” stressing that the most important part is coming to a “mutual boundary.”
Using boundaries is also how Keller often tackles the issue of “friend vs. parent,” something that a lot of parents have trouble navigating on their own. She suggests setting boundaries between parents and children, but reminding parents that they don’t always have to be in authoritarian mode, saying “Nobody said you can’t go to a concert with your kid and have a great time. Nobody said you can’t go to the beach and start picking up surfing and surf with your kids […] find a commonality between you and your child that you enjoy doing. That’s the friendship that you’re going to have with them.”