It’s natural for a parent to want to wrap her child in protective bubble wrap and keep him safe from all the challenges that life can present. Of course, you know that you can’t really do that. However, you can help prepare your teen for future challenges, enabling him with confidence and knowledge to help him face and overcome difficulties and problems that might come his way.
Help your teen face future challenges by helping him build his self-esteem. According to the KidsHealth website, your teen’s healthy self-esteem is his own protective body armor against all the challenges the real world can toss in his direction. If your teen’s self-esteem suffers, he might not have the confidence to face challenges in the future. You can help him build his self-esteem by being a good role model, being optimistic and praising his efforts not just his successes. You should also use positive reinforcement to encourage your teen to do the right thing. For example, if he has his eye on a new electronic device, you might tell him that if he turns in all his assignments on time for the rest of the school year, he can have it.
Teach your teen to have good values and to commit to those values, advises Richard Weissbourd, a family and child psychologist at Harvard University. For example, when you teach your teen to live a fair, honest and committed lifestyle, you are making it possible for her to appropriately face life’s future challenges. This way, when she goes out into the workforce, she will likely strive to get ahead, but her commitment to her values will help her avoid making poor choices and decisions that might involve lying, cheating and or even stealing to reach a goal.
Talk to your teen about how her current choices can affect the challenges she might face in the future. For example, explain that she can avoid future challenges, such as monetary problems, if she commits to making good grades while in high school and college so that she can get a good job that pays well. Additionally, you can explain that a decision to study and focus on her schoolwork can eliminate the future challenge of getting into a preferred college.
Discuss the future with your teen. You might think he knows what he wants to do and you might have ideas about what you want him to do, but if you don’t actually talk to him about it, you’re not helping him prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. For example, if your teen really wants a career as a professional athlete -- and you want him to have a career as a professional athlete -- you still need to discuss alternative plans in case he doesn't get that football scholarship, or an injury prevents him from pursuing his dream. Your teen might not have the life experience to know that things don't always go as planned, so as a parent, you need to encourage him to reach his goals, but at the same time help him understand that sometimes life can throw you a curve ball, so you need to keep your mind and options open.
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