My mother was an expert on preparing teens for successful lives. When I was ten years old, she sat me down for a mom to daughter encounter and told me that I could come to her with any concern or worry I might have. What a treasure that was!
So how can we prepare teens for successful lives?
- Help teens to develop strategies for achieving academic success. Recent studies have shown that praise for good work is not as effective as praise for the path used to achieve success.
- Be proactive in discussing life issues with teens. Talking about good education should begin in the pre-teen years. Don’t wait until grade school graduation to talk about high school years. Talk about financial responsibility needs to take place when the first allowance is given out.
- Use the dinner table to discuss relevant issues. Do the “what if” game at the dinner table. What if a friend cheats on a test? Would you tell the teacher? What if you found out that a classmate was doing drugs? Who would you inform? What if you were approached for drugs? What should you do?
- Why questions are also important. Why is a college education needed in today’s world? Why should you choose a good school? Why is it necessary to work hard to get good grades? Why should you put education and jobs first, followed by marriage, sex, and children?
- Provide a safe environment so your teens will feel comfortable confiding in you. Let them know that they are loved, appreciated, and treasured.
- Eliminate all drug and alcohol use. Addictive behaviors will make them feel unsafe and will set the background for developing addictive behaviors.
- Stress the significance of forming strong positive friendships.
- Raise your teen in a faith tradition. Children brought up to believe in God will have the advantage of placing trust in something or someone above and beyond them.
- Eliminate all violent media from the home. Do not allow your children or your teens to watch violent videos, TV, or movies. The American Pediatric Association has just come out with a warning about the effect of violence on children and teens.
- Emphasize the importance of sexual restraint until marriage while giving your teens a comprehensive education on sexual realities.
- Give your teens your quantity time. In the nineties, there was an emphasis on quality time, versus quantity time. Quantity time is far more important than quantity time.
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