Like other parents, I’ve been concerned about the future of today’s generation. As I specifically work with teens struggling with anxiety, ADHD, delinquency, depression, and other issues, it can be easy to become stressed about my children’s future.
Yet, as I have guided and watched my children grow into their self-identity, I’ve been consistently amazed by strengths which many news pundits discount when discussing today’s younger generations.
Younger Generations Embrace Technological Change
One of the hallmarks of younger generations is their enthusiastic embrace of changing technology. While Gen Xer’s around my age began to experiment with technology in our teen years, I still vividly remember the sound my dial-up modem made, the inability to make phone calls while online, and how intimidating creating an AOL account was for me. This is not the digital world my children have grown up experiencing.
We all want our kids to grow up happy and healthy, and of course, that is the number one priority. However, number two for many parents is that they will be smart, get lots of qualifications, and be successful. In this article, we will outline 7 parenting tips on how to raise a smart child.
1. Give them experiences, not possessions
Many of use worry that we are raising kids that are too materialistic. There is a growing trend of minimalism, and appreciating the value of owning less and doing more. Likewise, studies have shown that there is a direct link between the number of possessions that somebody has and their levels of anxiety. Thus, if you want to foster personal growth in your child, how them the value of experiences (watching the sunset, visiting a museum, eating a dish from another country) rather than material possessions.
There are certain things that help children to develop quicker; the right environment, a healthy diet and plenty of resources, to name just a few. In a space of learning, getting the right balance of everything your child needs to flourish is crucial to a good education.
One such crucial need is creativity. Even in subjects like math and science, which seem to be the furthest thing from anything like art and self-expression, bringing in a creative aspect can really help push your child forward in their development.
Creativity can be merged with education in a number of ways. From using play toys for little children to encourage their development to creating songs that help your child to remember key facts – there’s a wide array of options when it comes to creative learning.
I remember a few years ago I was watching a news program and it offered a list to teach parents about decoding texting slang they claimed teens were using. Among some of the more colorful gems were:
– LHS – Let’s have sex
– IGTD – I got the drugs
– PIRDTAS – Parents in rooms don’t talk about stuff
– SMH – Satan makes me happy
These were so ludicrous that I have never forgotten them. Have you ever seen those used anywhere? Can you imagine your teen doing it? Of course not, it was so out of touch that I was sure it must have been a joke (spoiler: it wasn’t).
Slang is a normal part of communication, especially for young people as they assert their independence. Each generation has their own and in the digital era it is a little different than the “boss” and “sick”’s of our own decades.
No one learns without failing or making mistakes. Yet, we as parents often forget this universal truth as we raise our children. Instead of pushing them to take risks, experiment and uncover their true potential, we refuse to let them learn from their failures.
However, shielding our children from risks only cripples their ability to learn new skills and prevents them from discovering their innate abilities. It also hinders them from learning how to overcome failure and adapt to change- key attributes required for personal growth.
As parents of teenagers, you can think of many things that cause you worry and anguish. Likely near the top of such a list are their interactions with bad teen friends. Years of effective parenting can unravel with a few bad choices made via the influence of negative peers.
Luckily, you have many practical steps you can take to help guide your teenagers through this time when peer influence is at its strongest.
Building teen trust can be hard at times. Your teenagers are experiencing a transitional stage of life, enjoying more freedom than they had during childhood, and the taste of freedom can be addictive. As the parent, you place a certain amount of trust in your teen, hoping they will not abuse their freedom. But sometimes poor choices are made and that trust is broken.
I understand dealing with the shifting dynamics of trust between parents and teens can be difficult. As I have advised many parents of troubled teens, I have compiled some advice for you parents out there who are struggling with trusting your own teens.