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Keeping your Teenager Focused

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It’s funny how decades change the way you think and act. It seems like as a teenager you are pretty self-focused, nothing really matters outside your world, and you seem to take risks like there’s no tomorrow. However, many situations and influences happen during these years that will impact us for years to come. It is important for a parent to stay involved somehow during these years.

Think about the influences our children have; the influences of their friends, if they are deciding to go to college, what their high school class schedule looks like, what are they doing after high school, and if their group of friends is working, chances are your child holds a job at the same place.  

Your child maybe the leader of the pack when it comes to their group. They decide what their focus is and the rest of the gang just follows suit.

Some other items to consider involve if your child goes to school functions or if they are they just completing the criteria needed for graduation. Most schools these days offer Academic classes for college credits so students can get a head start without extra costs. If your child is considering Academic classes, do they have the option of getting their Associate Degree while still in High School? Schools are now offering 5-year plans which would include their high school graduation requirements and an Associate Degree.

Think of the influence of expenses for an ongoing education. Is your student aware of your continual education financial plan? Do you have an idea of what your student wants to be when they grow up? College isn’t cheap. Have you had the discussion with your child or has your child talked to a high school advisor about resources for more education? Can they apply for scholarships?

Another aspect of these teenage years includes Social Media. Most High Schoolers have a Facebook or Instagram profile. With these profiles they may post pictures of random events throughout the school year or even pictures of themselves and their views, which may or may not impact you. All of this is an outside influence as well.  Think about the marketing that is surrounding our students today with these platforms. These platforms differently shape decisions of our children today.

These are just a few of the influences teenagers are dealing with, and even if they think they know everything, they still need parental guidance (as difficult as this is sometimes). Here are a few ways to get your teenager focused on their future.

Be Aware of Social Media

From time to time, jump on your child’s computer and see what education resources you can find that may impact some advertising for Facebook ads. Search items through Facebook regarding more education and schooling. Your child can see these ads come through as he or she scrolls the page.

If you find something interesting, tag your child in or send them a private message. Chances are they will open it.

Leave out Resources for your Child

Being a parent, you have an idea of your child’s interests. Leave out information regarding scholarships where you think your child will see them.

Be Involved

If your child seems to be in the phase of not really wanting to hang out with his or her parents, an idea to try is make a fun date night with your child attending an informational event regarding their future. Perhaps take another friend along and their parents too. Many schools have functions for information especially if your child is a Senior. You can also schedule an appointment with a Life Coach. These individuals have the ability to dive into your child’s interests and target their strengths for their career. Maybe your child isn’t wanting to do the 4-year college plan, but would rather do some sort of certification or other trade practice that is still the next step to their education. Remember, it is not what you want them to do in the future, it is what they want to do with their life. Don’t down play any interest.  

Provide a Road Map

If you see a strength with your child, don’t disregard it! Build on that strength. ‘Wow, Josie, you really handled that situation well, have you thought about doing XYZ?’ Acknowledge and be present with your child. As stubborn as they might be as a teenager it is still your job to present options to develop them into the best person they can be. They will hopefully outgrow the stubbornness in the future.

Clear Communication

Be there for your child. No matter how frustrating times can get, you are there for guidance and further development. Don’t shut down and stop trying. Your child will thank you in the years to come. You must continue to try different ways to provide interest, and keep your child asking questions to provide thought-provoking direction. Communicate with who they associate with and be the person that they can rely the most on.