It can be tough to look at your child and not just see a mini copy of yourself. Considering that for the majority of parents, their children are made up of half their DNA, it can lull you into the idea that things that you wanted to achieve will be the same that your son or daughter wants to do.
If you want your teen to reach their full potential, and want to avoid pushing them into being a resentful copy of you, there are several steps you will need to take.
Check Your Personal Goals At The Door
One of the first things you will need to do is check your personal goals and expectations. By projecting your personal goals on your teens, they may feel undue pressure to meet a standard that they aren’t really interested in.
For example, say you wanted to play basketball at least at the college level. A knee injury during high school may have put that goal out of your reach, but then you have a child who you push into basketball, so your dream can be realized through them.
But if that’s not something your teen really wants, your personal goal can cause a lot of stress, internal conflict, and potentially lead to depression if they feel like they are letting you down. As depression is a significant troubled teen risk factor, it is critical that your unachieved goals be put away so that your teenager doesn’t feel pushed into reaching your unrealized potential and dreams.
Provide Your Teen With Opportunities For Discovery
Once you shelve your expectations on what your teen should be doing, your next step is to open the door to other opportunities. A study that followed the engagement of children and young adults when it came to their activities showed that those who were allowed to choose their activities had a much higher rate of engagement.
So, if you want your teen to find something they are truly passionate about, you have to give them the chance to discover it. Some ways you can assist them in finding what they want to be involved in is by:
- Encouraging them to try new things, whether it’s cooking at home or trying out for a team.
- Sign them up for short-term workshops and summer camps so your teenager can sample a range of activities from musical instruments to self-defense.
- Suggest your teen volunteer in the community or at school. Volunteer positions allow teens specifically to start to see where they may want to focus their future career aspirations.
Another benefit of providing your teenager with ample positive activities is that you can lessen the chance that they will turn to drugs. As boredom is one of the most common factors when it comes to teens and drug abuse, by keeping your teen busily engaged in discovering and developing their potential, you can significantly lower their drug use risks.
Become Involved In Their Activities
As your teen finds what they are passionate about, your wholehearted support needs to be behind them. With your clear support, whether it’s just your presence at their performance or your chauffering abilities, your teen will be able to more fully engage in their activity and reach their full potential.
In fact, research shows that parental support is key to success in childhood, development, and adolescence. Your level of support and engagement can not only predict how well your teen does in school, but affect their overall health, and whether or not they manage to reach their potential.
While teens can reach some level of success without active parental support, their chances are far lower, and it is more likely that your lack of support will hinder your teens’ ability to be successful. So, if you want the best for your son or daughter, be sure to become actively involved in their interests and education.
As you manage your roles of being a dad, a cheerleader, a discovery coach, and so much more, your teens will more easily become who they were meant to be, rather than just the person you wish you were.