Most teens are motivated about their future, yet concerned about the present. Here's what they say.
- They are extremely stressed out - One of the biggest issues facing teens is not necessarily grades, peer pressure,parents, or drugs/alcohol, its stress. They wake up with stress, live with stress, then go to sleep with stress. Teens stress about everything that goes on each day. They stress about college, they stress about how they look, they stress about failing, they stress about their friends, the list goes on. Furthermore, stress directly impacts their level of confidence. Whether it’s related to their self-image, academic abilities, gifts or talents, or simply to fit in socially, the more stress they have, the more difficult it is to be confident.
- Their friends mean more to them than anything - Not enough emphasis can be placed on just how vital their friends are in their lives. It’s very likely and reasonable that you may feel less important to your child than your teenager’s friends. Whether you like it or not, it’s probably true. However, it doesn’t mean that they do not love you or dismiss your role in their life. What their friends offer that you are not able to is a place in the world where he/she is an equal, where they have a chance to control their life, destiny and identity. Please do your best to understand why this happens and to not be distraught or angered by this attitude. The more you fight it, the more likely your teen will fight back.
- Their grades are important to them, but not as important as they are to you - The pressure for teens to get good grades begins in middle school and jumps 100-fold as they enter high school. For most, by the time their Junior year starts, there are few things more important than their grades. They realize that getting into a “good” college means they must get “good” grades. Most teens really do want to get the best grades possible and realize the implications if they don’t. However, if given the choice, they’d much rather watch television, play video games, sleep, or hang out with friends. They say the right things to make their parents “think” grades are the most important, but the reality is nothing comes close to these other life experiences.
They don’t want to let you down -- ever - There's no question that you do play an important role in your teen’s life. Whether you realize it or not, you have set expectations and standards that they often believe are not reasonable or attainable. They are so concerned about failing that they often obsess over the consequences, to the point that they disengage and detach from the relationship. Most teens do whatever they can to avoid failure. (Something they want to avoid at all costs. Yes that’s all costs-including cheating.) Failure is bad, failure will get them in trouble with you, and failure is not an option.
5. They do love you, but just won’t say it much - If you're like most parents, you're going to have to wait a long time, maybe when their in their mid-twenties, before your teenage child will say "I love you" out loud, without getting embarrassed. Until then, you' will have to take a lot of abuse and possibly pain. Teens care first and foremost about themselves. However, teens share with me time and again how important their parents are and that they really do love them. Even when they complain about rules, expectations, unreasonable curfews and demands for better grades. So know that you do not have to alter your discipline styles or your role as the authority figure to earn your teenager’s love, you already have it.
Coach Randy Nathan, MSW, PCC is a professional coach who works with middle school, high school, and college-aged students, their parents and their families. Through the powerful coaching process he inspires and motivates them to overcome major challenges and transitions as well as identify relevant opportunities in their life. Coach Randy writes for numerous publications and travels throughout the country as a motivational keynote speaker and workshop facilitator. He is the creator of Operation PRIDE, The LEAP Program, Peak Performance Coaching, Career JumpStart, and Workforce 2.0 - powerful programs for millennials. For more information go to www.projectnextgen.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.