How Parents Can Increase Teen Success in Challenging Times

January 10, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Kids and Teens

Just as families and businesses are tried in the face of challenging economic and cultural times, teens also face challenges in finding their own success. Teens are affected by the world and environment in which they live, and sometimes parents find it difficult to connect with them about the things that are going on in their immediate world and beyond.

Kids today are growing up faster and smarter than any generation before. Assisted by the plethora of new communications media such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and cell phone texting, kids and teens are much better informed and far more opinionated about the events taking place in and around their lives. In fact, for some teens, the more they learn about world issues, they more they learn to resent previous generations for what has happened. Billy Joel said, “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since the world’s been turning,” and this is a great example of how many teens feel today. Teens see their future as destined to extinguish the fire from the generation before, just as their parents did for their parents.

How can we help teens cope with the environmental stresses of challenging cultural times? It all begins and ends with communication. Everything speaks, and even when we don’t think something speaks, it does. Everything we do, say, even wear, at any given time, sends a message to the people and world around us about who we are. No communication is ever neutral, but is either positive or negative.

Parents are the gatekeepers to the information their teens absorb. By maintaining awareness of their teens’ surroundings, the media they focus on, and the conversations they tune into, parents can better address and explain the ways of the world to their teens. Teens receive media information most often from television and internet news outlets, and it is these sources that can take on the heaviest of tones. It is common for teens to feel information overload when they are inundated with so many sources of media, and it is vital for parents to help their teens process the information. By playing the filter, parents can help keep their teens positive and prevent bad news from bringing down their psyche.

Another great tool parents can use is to monitor the conversation they have with others when their teens are around. Teens today are brilliant crafters of assumption, and when they overhear conversations, especially telephone conversations, it is easy for them to incorrectly fill in the blanks. Teens are masters of extremes and are naturals at jumping to conclusions. By staying aware of the conversations we are having in the presence of our kids, parents can reduce the amount of stress that teens can place upon themselves.

Parents can also provide knowledge to their teen by filling them in on what is happening in the world around them. Simply asking, “What questions do you have about what is going on?” is a great way to begin a conversation. Once the conversation is going, parents can then distinguish differences between facts and opinions so that teens can create their own conclusions, free from bias.

By being the model in the middle, parents can serve as the role model their teens are looking for. Teens are constantly looking for role models, and by giving them a positive, energetic hope, parents can create a first-hand mental picture about what positive outcomes are, as well as what they should look like. When parents hold themselves accountable for their own positive energy and actions, it sends a message we want teens to learn, with the power to lift their spirit. This in cyclical fashion will keep parents feeling excited and motivated as well.

SuperCamp is a summer enrichment camp that has been helping kids and teens gain valuable learning and life skills for over 27 years. Want to learn more ways to help your son or daughter through challenging times? Listen to this free teleseminar for parents as SuperCamp founder Bobbi DePorter gives tips and advice on how to support them through the rough patches.


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