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Tips to Keep Your Teenagers on Track in Life

Teenagers need to be motivated by the people they admire and respect. This includes parents!

Be specific in correcting teens where they are off-track. Vague feedback such as “screwing up” or “disappointing you” isn’t helpful.

Well-meaning parents can do more harm than good by shielding teenagers from consequences. They need to learn through experience that waking up late for school or procrastinating on assignments will hurt them in the long run.

Be a Good Listener

If you want to be a good listener, you must first understand the importance of this skill. It shows the person you’re talking to that you really care about what they are saying. You can also take listening to the next level by asking a probing question after they’ve finished speaking. This demonstrates that you are truly interested in what they have to say and it allows you to add your own experiences to the conversation.

Many teenagers have trouble starting projects or tasks, especially those that offer no instant gratification. Having a system in place to keep track of school work and other commitments can help. Using a system that incorporates color may also be helpful, such as keeping a water bottle in their favorite bright colored hue.

Teach your teen how to express empathy and understanding of others. This is important to their social skills as well as their career success. Teach them to apologize when they make a mistake and to take responsibility for their actions.

Be a Good Communicator

Parents who want their teen to get on track must be prepared to correct them when they are misbehaving. Giving them generalized feedback such as “You are disappointing me” does not work, but specific correction of what they need to do helps them understand that they are off-track.

Teenagers are particularly sensitive to distressing events. It is normal for them to be moody or withdrawn and to feel angry with people they believe are responsible for the event. It is important to reassure them that these feelings are part of their reaction and will pass with time.

It is also important to teach them how to plan and prioritize tasks. This will help them to improve their grades and will enable them to handle more responsibilities in the future. Teach them to use tools such as setting alerts on their phones, using a calendar and blocking out chunks of time for different projects. These tools will also help them learn to be more punctual.

Be a Good Encourager

The more positive reinforcement your teenagers receive, the more likely they are to do what you ask of them. However, it’s important to avoid pep talks that come across as lectures or nagging, which can be counterproductive and demotivating.

Avoid blaming or criticizing them for poor decisions, and help them to identify the reasons behind their behavior. It also helps to recognise their efforts – try descriptive praise like “You did a good job of staying focused on your homework tonight”, rather than “You were late for the bus again”.

It’s essential to teach them to cope with negative emotions and learn how to take responsibility for their actions. Teach them to deal with personal emergencies, like a flat tire on the side of a road at night or how to call for help when they are lost. It’s also a good idea to help them develop self-management skills, such as setting realistic goals and learning how to schedule their time.

Be a Good Model

Teenagers need positive role models, but they also want to feel that they have the freedom and autonomy to make good decisions on their own. This means you should show independence by not hovering and over-analyzing their choices.

For example, if they start skipping school, consider giving them a time-based consequence, such as having to sit out of extracurricular activities until their grades and attendance improve. This will make them realize that you are willing to prioritize their education over anything else.

Similarly, you should model healthy lifestyle habits by not smoking or binge drinking in front of them. In addition, you should encourage healthy coping mechanisms such as exercise or positive self-talk.

You can also teach teens to be responsible by having them help with household chores or get a part-time job. According to Acceleration Partners, a youth development company, this can also help them develop financial literacy and learn the value of money. A criminal defense attorney in Harrisburg would probably agree with the fact that parents who support their children can mold them into responsible young adults.