Connecting With Your Teen to Prepare Them for Adulthood
Written by WinGate Therapy, in Section Articles
Where does that rooted desire come from – that steadfast and resolute determination to successfully prepare your teenager for adulthood? Perhaps it is innate and evolutionary in nature, for a prosperous grown child is more capable of caring for elderly parents. However, the origin may be biological, with the emotions and hormones that come with parenthood resulting in such desires. Then again, your longing for your child’s readiness could be psychosocial in nature – you love your child, and want what is best for them.
Though its fundamental source may be unknown, there exists a universal desire among good parents to help their teenagers prepare for the future changes, encounters, and struggles in their years ahead. In many ways, life and society are becoming more demanding and fast paced, and those unprepared will have a much more difficult time adjusting to the transition. Now more than ever, parents need to be attentive in finding the right ways to prepare their child.
Approaching the Conversation
If your child initially resists your attempted lessons on preparing for adulthood, one of the reasons may be that teenagers are not strangers to struggle. In response, teenagers are likely to think, “I don’t need this. I know what I’m doing, and can take care of myself.” As such, it is important to approach each conversation on the subject first with acknowledgement that your teen is growing up, and has already proven that they can overcome difficulties. This will validate your child’s feelings of independence, and communicate to them that you view them as capable and experienced.
Do your best to make the conversation just that, a conversation. Avoid creating a lecture environment, with parent as teacher and child as unlearned student. Instead, ask questions, and get to know how your teenager currently views adulthood, including their overall expectations, worries, and goals. Assessing your child’s existing perspective first sets a comfortable foundation to correct misconceptions, relay personal experiences, and have a beneficial discussion uniquely attuned to your child.
Provide Opportunities for Hard Work and Learning
One of the most valuable qualities to have in adulthood is one that appears to be slowly diminishing in upcoming generations, and that is, a strong work ethic. With the many technological advances enjoyed today, youth are becoming more comfortable and accustomed to constant access and immediate convenience. While these technological breakthroughs are useful, it is important that they are viewed as additional tools to achieve success, as opposed to avenues that commonly distract from achievement.
Sit down with your teenager, and together devise goals to work toward, and ways to make hard work and learning gratifying experiences. For example, parents and children could together find ways to give variety to regular “chores,” including some household work and some time spent on the development of new skills. Most importantly, capitalize on your child’s interests, and create a plan that reinforces the development of these positive characteristics.
If you are seeking additional help in teaching your adolescent how to properly prepare for adulthood, WinGate Wilderness Therapy is here to help. With professional and highly experienced counselors, and a nationally acclaimed program, you can get the assistance you need for your loved one. Call and learn more today at 1-800-560-1599, or email [email protected] for more information.