Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Helping Teens Find Success

by Linda Shaw
Do you remember when your toddler took that first step? If you are like most parents, you cheered. Maybe you clasped your hands together to keep from scaring your child with over-enthusiastic clapping. In those few moments your toddler began learning the art of walking, and you began to learn the art of helping them succeed.

Teenagers take many first steps too. As they mature they need support for the goals they choose. As they strive to succeed and learn they need direction, suggestions, and encouraging cheers.

A pivotal time for teens comes when they transition into their middle school years. Although many teens want us to believe they are “cool and capable”, parental support has been proven to be critical at this time of a teen’s life.

There is a “great myth” that many parents tend to believe. It is that they “don’t want you involved in their lives or their school experiences.”

Where it is true that many may not want you around to be their class volunteer parent, they do not want you to disappear from their life. Teens may be the last to admit that they enjoy their parent’s presence providing they adhere to a few respectful rules.

What are some ways that parents can respect their teens growing independence?

• Get to know their class schedules, their teachers, and their friends. This gives opportunity to help work out or prevent difficulties.

• Keep tabs on their homework. They are much more likely to do their work (without a fuss) if they know you care and are aware.

Attend as many of their sports or musical events as possible. These events give reason to their goals and talents and help them showcase their hard work.

Read what they are reading so that you can share detailed and directional discussions. When delicate questions arise, fictional stories provide good background for non-fiction issues.

Volunteer to be their chauffeur to dances, ball games, or movie outings. Not only will you score big points, but you will also get to know their friends.

Remember that success requires practicing every day.
You can help your teen achieve success by cheering them on with encouraging words such as:

• I like your good work.”
• “You have such a new perspective on this subject.”
• “You’re doing a good job”
• “Good work”
• “I’m proud of you”
• “You have a real talent for this”
• “I love you”
• “You are very important to me”

Teen self-esteem needs just as much encouragement as their bodies need good nutrition. Sometimes in the hectic pace of life, we forget to slow down and remind our teens just how special they are. As they take their first steps in life's many varied experiences, remember to continue to cheer them on!

How do you help your teen find success?

What did your parents do to help you stay on the path to success?



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