Raising a great teenager means raising an independent adult. It means letting them shine in their individual way and helping them grow the skills they need to thrive. You cannot be there for them every step of the way, and in fact, if you hover over them you can dent their growth. It’s going to be hard, but if you follow these top ideas you can raise a great teen:
Meet Them Halfway
It’s natural that you want them to go on to a college and get a degree that will help them get a great job later down the line. It’s also natural if being a doctor or an accountant is the last thing that they want. There is a middle ground.
Try to find a good placeholder degree that allows them to pursue their passion in a meaningful way early on. There might be a great business program from Purdue that would allow your teen to market their passion and become an entrepreneur that you are both interested in. Take note of the Purdue admission requirements early on and then build slowly so that your teen stands out without last minute stress.
Have Your “Thing”
You should have a “thing” with every single one of your kids. Have family “things” like going on weekend bike rides, but never underestimate the power of one-on-one time. If your teen wants to get into a big, prestigious college then you can even use this time to help with their admissions application later on. Do volunteer work together, for example, to bond and help your child improve their resume.
Give Them Responsibility
While chores might seem unfair, they are very important. Try to have everyone in your household do their chores at the same time so that you can feel the community responsibility.
More than that, however, actually teach them how to:
- Do Laundry
- Mend Clothes
Give Them Independence
Is your teen going to do stupid things? Yes. Is it important to give them their independence regardless? Yes. In fact, you can get your teen to be more responsible by letting them feel free. If your teen does not feel the need to rebel, they are more likely to follow the few rules that you do have, like don’t drink and drive, don’t do hard drugs, and don’t have unprotected sex. Instead of saying no sex at all, you can put a limit in their mind that will encourage them to stay safe and practice good safety measures now and when they move away.
Make Sure They Know You Are Always There for Them
If they are in trouble, you need to be the one they turn to. It doesn’t matter if they did something stupid. It doesn’t matter if they broke one of your few rules. If they are in trouble, they need to feel safe to call you. Save yelling for later, because if your teen calls you because they are too drunk to get home on their own, you need to make them feel like that was the right move to make.
This kind of trust goes far in raising a great adult.