Your child’s teenage years are among the most important in terms of their emotional and psychological development. Look back on your teen years and remember how important those days were in shaping the person who you are today. As a parent, one of your many responsibilities to carefully guide your child into finding themselves in these turbulent years.
Although the temptation to leave them to find out for themselves or rigidly control their future can be powerful, you must resist it. Your child should have the freedom to explore their own identity, with you as a nearby guardian, not a warden.
Here are three ways you can responsibly foster your teen’s personal growth and prepare them for the world at large.
Travel Around the World
Travelling by themselves or with a friend or two around the world is generally unfeasible when your child is in high school, but it’s a rewarding opportunity. Not only will your child learn how to maneuver around airports, but they’ll also experience and gain respect or appreciation for other cultures. Travelling by themselves is also an excellent opportunity for them to learn how to be independent. Taking charge of their finances and itinerary will teach them to handle themselves once they leave the nest.
Help them arrange their travel plans and join one of the many reputable gap year programs around the world. Some programs can let your teen experience Thailand, Australia, Japan, and other countries across the globe. Or you can provide them with the funds to backpack across continents on their own for a more adventurous approach. So long as you establish contact points and other common-sense safety guidelines, your teen can explore the world and themselves.
Get Job Experience
One of the most prominent facets of becoming an adult is holding down a job, and teens should be better prepared for this inevitable fact. According to experts, more than 50 percent of employers don’t think that newly graduated students have the professional level or the work ethic they need.
Getting a job as a teenager can teach your child many lessons they’ll find useful throughout their life. These lessons include:
- Financial responsibility
Not only can getting a job as a teen help your child grow as a person, but it can also be invaluable in securing a job later on. Employers are eager for new graduates with relevant work experience, and a career as a teenager could provide the advantage your child needs to be hired.
Develop Creative Talents
Finally, don’t forget to encourage your teen to think of creativity. Although teens have a reputation for being rebellious, they stick to conformity more than you realize. Teenagers can be afraid to stick out or be different, sometimes even in terms of their imagination and mental processes.
Encourage your teen to think in divergent ways and observe the world with a critical eye. By teaching them to view the world in other ways and with more clarity, you’re paving the way for them to think outside the box. For example, have you noticed how rarely people look upwards when they’re outside? Even a simple change of perspective like that can open someone’s eyes to the possibilities.
Once they can view the world from other angles, discover how your teen expresses their creativity and nurture it. Are they visual artists? Supply them with the materials and technology they need to create artworks. Are they more inclined towards writing? Give them access to reading materials and encourage reading.
Your child’s personal development is just as important as their physical health. Take the time to nurture their explorations in their capabilities, and you might strengthen your bond with your teen.