Does your daughter feel confused about her future?
Would you love to see her living her life on purpose?
What do you feel the benefits would be? Do you imagine that she would be passionate about her work and contributing to her community? You probably realise that living her life on purpose will mean she values her health more, avoids excessive use of drugs or alcohol, and is generally mentally healthy.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the state of the world… by the statistics and stories of violence and abuse against women… by the slow slow slow move towards gender equality in leadership and economic participation… by the fast rates of environmental destruction… the ever increasing bizarre weather events…
Does your teen love to take risks? Do you worry about their safety especially around drugs and alcohol, sexual activity etc.?
These are not the risks I'm encouraging – these are real dangers and your teen needs you to maintain strong healthy boundaries and parental guidance.
However, teens have a developmental need to take risks. Many animals have this hardwired into their brain development during the adolescent phase. Chicks need to jump out of the nest in order to learn how to fly. Your teen’s lower threshold for risk taking serves an evolutionary purpose.
If they don't get this need met in healthy ways, then they are more likely to take dangerous risks.
So how can risk taking be healthy, safe, and fulfilling?
Are you a perfectionist, an achiever, are you hard on yourself?
I’m sure you’ve failed in your life and made mistakes. We all have, it’s how we respond and get back up that counts.
Your teen needs to make mistakes too, to fail and grow.
They need you to step back, just not too far.
They need you to help pick up the pieces, to face the feelings of disappointment, to tell them you still believe in them, to help them see what they can learn from this and how they can do better next time.
They don’t need you to rescue them, they don’t need you to save them from the consequences of their mistakes.
Jessica Lahey in her fantastic book “The Gift of Failure: How to Step Back and Let Your Child Succeed” gives an example of this…
Do you want the best for your teen?
A life of clear direction, confidence, great relationships, and all round happiness?
Do you worry that they’ll end up in a job they hate, going through the motions of a humdrum life without any real satisfaction?
Do you want them to set their sights high and then go for it?
3 ways to support your teen to dream BIG:
1. Encourage them to dream big for themselves AND others!!
Ask them what their dreams are. What do they really want for their life? Not just in their career, but also in the areas of relationships, lifestyle, health, and finances.
What kind of world would they love to live in? How can they contribute to this? What are the issues in the world that they care most about and that affect them emotionally? How can they use their gifts and talents to contribute?