Parenting a teenager can be a source of joy and a test of your saintly patience. You want them to learn from their own experiences, yet you’re tempted every single day to stop them from harming or shaming themselves. What are the essential lessons you must teach your teenage children to give them a fighting chance in the real world?
Find a Creative Outlet
It’s not all about getting high grades and being beautiful in high school. Teenagers need to express themselves in a safe, harmless, and personal way to help air out their frustrations in life. If you’re an artist or an entrepreneur yourself, you can be part of their creative learning by teaching them your skills. Order a few craft supplies online such as ribbon trim or paper and help them experience the joy of journaling. You can also let them discover their own talents and boost their self-confidence with your support.
Learn to Travel
America is a huge place. You can spend your entire life traveling and learning about every single state and still not cover enough of its history on your own. Despite that, it’s a good idea to encourage your teenager to go state hopping or even know their hometown more intimately. If you’ve got a flair for adventure, try out a motorcycle rental or tour to get a real glimpse of history as you speed past long stretches of road.
Sometimes, life lessons are quite painful. Your teenager can go through a pretty messy breakup or their first bad day at their part-time job. But nothing can be more devastating than losing a friend because they have changed their interests or their favorite people. A loss like this is misery for your teen, and they can completely give up on making friends or even not want to be seen outside. Let them work on their emotions and be their friend and parent at home. They might not open up to you at first, but they’ll eventually see that you do care.
Cool Doesn’t Cut It
Remember that scene in the movie, Back to the Future, where Marty McFly can’t resist racing the punks on the road? Remember Ferris Bueller and how he is such a dude when dealing with authority? What looks cool in the movies won’t always translate properly in real life. Smoking, drinking, and drugs are easy enough to lecture against, but there are modern-day habits that can ruin a young person’s life if left unchecked. Smartphones, social media, and parties are an integral part of young life, but they can be destructive when used wrongly. Instead of banning them outright, be a good example instead. Avoid showing dependency and show them that you can live without being famous, popular, or pretentious.
There are just a few of the important life lessons you can teach your children when they become teenagers. Some will have more meaning; others will seem ridiculous. Still, each one has a chance for you to bond with them. Practice patience, timing, and care when handling the fragile ego of a teenager. You were in that stage once, too.