Meet Sean Donohue, Founder, ParentingModernTeens.com
Sean Donohue is the founder of ParentingModernTeens.com, a family coaching business based in northern California but with clients all over the globe.
Sean and his wife of 15 years, Danielle, are kept busy with three daughters of their own – Maddy, 13, Miley, 9 and Kensie 2 – but the stand-up comedian-cum-family coach, who has been labelled “The Teen Super Nanny” and “The Teen Whisperer”, made time to speak with The Dad Website‘s Daniel Lewis about his endeavours.
TDW: Thanks for your time, Sean. Can you give us a rundown on ParentingModernTeens.com, and what being a family coach entails?
SD: We coach teens to become mature, responsible, successful adults… and we show parents how to expertly parent their modern teen into maturity and responsibility. We don’t have an office and meet with families in their living room, or meet with teens at Starbucks, or while hiking or shooting hoops or in any other
What prompted you to go the whole hog and launch the website and PMT program?
I felt there was a better way to support parents during these crazy teen years. It’s ALWAYS been hard raising a teenager, but today, with screens everywhere, and all of the substances and all the modern issues, it’s harder than ever. I also started it because I had a powerful and impactful experience with a mentor when I was a selfish, insecure, San Diego teenager – meeting with an older man who invested in me was a game-changer for me – and I wanted to give what I received.
Take us through a typical workday?
Well, I drive around town in my Dodge Ram 1500 truck, from home to home, coaching parents, teens and families all day. We have a powerful approach that both teens and parents love. I think of my coaching as this weird combination of Uber, combined with Mary Poppins, a little bit of “The Rock”, some Dr Phil and add a dash of Tony Robbins…that’s me.
Do you remember that TV show Supernanny from like 10-15 years ago? I was a new parent when I first saw that show and I said to myself, “Dang! That’s a freaking great idea. Someone coming to the home to help with the chaos. I should become the Teen Supernanny.” Then, I made it happen.
What makes the teenage years a particularly tricky phase of parenthood?
What is tricky? Come on now, Dad Website, what is not tricky about raising a teen these days?
And by now we should all know about the dangers of the vaping, the pain-relivers, the Xanex, the pot, the molly and all of the other options out there for teens to get involved with. Tough stuff.
The good news is that with the right tools, parenting a teen doesn’t have to be miserable. Just like in any job, you need the right tools to be successful. Even with the most difficult and defiant kids. It can be fun. We can not control our kids. They will make their own choices – good and bad. But if we are prioritising our family, and making good parenting choices, we will foster maturity, responsibility and love in our kids.
We are the first generation of parents to have to parent with screens, fourth-grade kids feeling anxious, sexting, cyberbullying, screen addiction and being afraid their kid is going to get on pills or powders.
Young people often don’t get a great rap. What’s your view on the modern teenager?
I love modern teens. They are so different than we were – and so different
Would you say the realities of the world, circa 2019, is impacting the modern teen negatively or positively – or both?
Yes, both. This generation of kids is struggling. Generally speaking, they are not doing well with all the screens and all of the modern temptations. But before we begin to point the finger, we must look at ourselves. Modern parents are struggling. It’s so hard being a modern parent. We are the first generation of parents to have to parent with screens, fourth-grade kids feeling anxious, sexting, cyberbullying, screen addiction and being afraid their kid is going to get on pills or powders.
What’s one thing a dad should do to ensure he can communicate effectively with his teenage son?
Get outside and do something active. And while you are hiking, fishing, throwing the ball around or standing in line for the coaster, ask him good, juicy, personal questions.
And for a teenage daughter?
Combine gentleness and intense interest. Women want to feel wanted. They want to feel known. No matter how old she is, your daughter wants to feel wanted and known. More than anyone, she wants to feel that from her dad.
If you could tell your 15-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
You mean, besides invest in Google and Amazon? Well, I would tell that insecure 15-year-old San Diego surfer-bro: “You don’t need to show off. People love you. People like you. You are going to be OK. Live your life, be good to yourself and others, and find some cool, older men to mentor you through it.”
You can follow Sean and ParentingModernTeens.com on Facebook and Instagram.