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'Mum' advice versus 'Coach' advise

Every day, I consider how people can learn skills to build better habits. In my work with diverse communities, stakeholders, and corporate clients, I have coached and mentored hundreds of people, teaching them skills to develop better habits through the medium of food. 

My now 15-year-old daughter is preparing for her first Duke of Edinburgh expedition without her parents or little brother, I naturally felt compelled to get involved in her food choices. Her initial selection was highly questionable, causing me some concern. However, I quickly realised that my well-intentioned 'Mum' advice was met with eye rolls, side glances, and the typical teenage resistance 😆.

Recognising the need to adjust my approach, I drew on my experience as a coach and mentor. My aim was to help my daughter make her own informed choices about the food she would take on her adventure. Using techniques like nudge theory and choice architecture, I encouraged her to be more mindful of her decisions, considering protein, complex carbohydrates, fluids, fruits and vegetables, and even cheeky treats like ingredients for 'smores'. 

I felt incredibly proud of her final choices and her decision-making process. This experience was a reminder for me to balance my roles as a Mum and a coach, guiding her gently while allowing her to take ownership of her decisions. 

I remember my first adventure away from home at 16, heading off to France to work as a nanny for three months. I didn’t think much about it beyond having my passport and ticket. In contrast, today's teenagers have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Is this abundance of information a good thing or a bad thing?


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