7 Steps To Help Your Teenager Succeed

While coaching one of my teenage clients who was feeling frustrated and unhappy about life we came upon some universal insights which can serve as useful reminders for us all, and in particular if you have a teen aged child.

1. What people think of them matters and can hurt your teen

We started exploring the cause of her frustration by using a recent dream in which she saw herself climbing up a mountain, slipping from the peak, falling and hurting herself badly. What she discovered was that the mountain represented her self image or how she wished to be perceived by the people who were most important to her, primary in this case – her father. When she slipped and fell in his opinion, she felt bruised and hurt.

2. Recognize signs that tell you they are feeling unworthy

Further investigation revealed that her self image began to slip when she behaved in irresponsible ways that involved spending most of her time in unproductive endeavors like watching TV, listening to music on the I Pod, playing games on the I Pad, chatting or texting on the phone or sleeping excessively. This led to a vicious cycle where her father would then admonish her about wasting her life, which made her feel unworthy and useless and she would want to shut her mind and spend even more time on those devices to avoid facing her feelings of unworthiness.

3. Identify what makes them feel responsible & proud

She also realized that when she did things that made her feel responsible and proud she felt happy and fulfilled. We made a list of all the things that made her feel this way.She began to see that the power to be happy or unhappy lay within her and that she was not a victim of her circumstances. The penny dropped home that no one else was responsible for her happiness except she herself.

4. Find out what stops them from being responsible

We then examined what stopped her from doing the things that made her feel responsible so that she could be aware of these and avoid them. Two important areas emerged. One was that she lost her motivation to do things when she was scolded by her dad and the other, that once she had completed the pressing tasks that included her studies and guitar practice, she didn’t know what else to do. Clearly what she needed was purpose and focus.

5. Help them to recognize their purpose & keep focussed

Together we arrived at her purpose in life. We then made detailed lists of all the things that got her closer to her purpose and made her feel responsible and proud on a daily basis so that she could focus on these. We also made a list of the things that eventually led to her feel bad so that she could consciously avoid them.

6. Identify behavioral signs that tell you they are slipping

Interestingly it also dawned on her that each time she complained about being bored, she was actually beginning to slip into an unhappy and irresponsible state of mind. It was then that she started spending more time engaging with the devices and not doing the things that gave her life purpose and fulfillment. She decided she would not let herself slip into the state of boredom in times to come.

7. Support them to recognize their special gifts and talents

In order to be happy, teenagers need purpose in their lives and they must remain focused and feel motivated to fulfill that purpose. Parents can help by supporting them in the areas of their interest. Avoid scolding them and instead discuss and share insights with them. Often these kids are not sure what they want to do and they need hand-holding and direction while searching for their purpose. Speak to other parents, research opportunities online or engage the help of a counselor or therapist to help them recognize their special gifts and talents.



One Comment

  1. reachss says:

    Nice article, Suzy

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