Teens don’t always want encouragement or inspiration. Often times we wish to be completely independent, going forward with our own “superior wisdom”. Nevertheless, we still require guidance from adults we can look up to and appreciate as role models. This doesn’t always mean that adults have to do some type of heroic act to inspire us. It can be as simple as the following points.
1. Believe in us. Praise us if you want to build our self- confidence. Teens that lack a dream may be overwhelmed with life and unable to motivate themselves. Encourage us to explore things we’re good at and build our self-esteem. When we believe in ourselves, we'll be inspired to try new things.
2. Help us make decisions. We often beg for independence, but that doesn't mean we want the responsibility of making major life decisions on our own. Stay connected with us and help us when we need you (though we may not always approach you directly with problems) Teach us problem solving and brainstorming techniques along the way.
At the same time…
3. Give us choices so we feel empowered. With parents and teachers telling us what to do, we can sometimes feel powerless in our own lives. Give us options and let us make some choices on our own. As long as our decisions aren’t going to severely damage ourselves or others, allow us to make mistakes; it helps us feel empowered and inspired.
4. Encourage us to have our own interests and dreams. Take the time to listen to us. What you have mapped out for us may not always be the path we’ve chosen to take. Find out what makes us excited and what makes our eyes light up. Encourage us to build these interests into an attainable dream.
5. Help us set a goal. This could be anything from passing a test to starting a career. Teach us to enjoy the little achievements along the way. Attaining goals makes people feel proud and gives them the courage to try new things; teens are no exception.
These few points will encourage us to respect your wisdom. By simply respecting a teen as a person and not always putting them down, you can inspire them to do great things.
Asia is a student in the Born For Greatness Youth Writers class: www.BFG-youth.com