Inspiring Teens to Do Something Worthwhile This Summer
The teenage years are filled with hormones, emotions and uncertainty. It is a time of transformation from childhood to adulthood. When our children are young, we send them to camp or take them on family vacations – these plans are not made by them, but by us. But teens often want nothing to do with their parents and most certainly don't want anyone making choices for them.
Some teens become apathetic and lazy; they may end up sitting in front of the TV, playing video games and video chatting with their friends, or just plain “hanging out” - ALL DAY LONG! So, here are some ways to inspire your teen to do something worthwhile this summer:
Ask your teen what motivates them to go out and do something -- what excites them and what do they have to do to get that excitement. Having a good dialog with your teen might surprise you! When I asked my teens what motivates them, I got answers that ranged from fresh air, to being outside without responsibilities, to anything that helps get me into a good college and something that will attract the opposite sex.
2. Find Inner Passion
Encourage them to find a new passion (like photography or surfing) and sign up for a course to learn how to master it. Get them to go outside and smell the fresh air - go on a hike with friends. Exercise and getting their body in shape will not only make them feel better both physically and mentally, but will help them with self esteem and self-confidence.
Make them feel good about their choices. Let them be proud of their decisions. Getting and maintaining a part-time job over the summer will not only instill responsibility and commitment, but give them a taste of financial freedom.
What is their dream for the ultimate summer? What do they have to do to achieve it? Help your teen set a goal. Success is gained from guidance and experience. Let them figure things out on their own. During the school year they are told what to do. During summer, they will welcome the chance to decide on their own. Encourage your teen to make a list of activities that interest them. Show them how to resource and guide them towards accomplishing their goals.
5. Support Philanthropy
When teens do something good for someone else, they feel good about themselves. Helping others will reward your teen with a sense of well-being. As a bonus, charitable endeavors or working as a camp counselor look great on a college application.
Motivating and inspiring your teen to do something worthwhile this summer will not only help them build confidence and inner strength, but will also guide them on their path toward success as they enter adulthood.
Lisa Miller is the mother of three teenage boys and the founder of Kids for a Cause Club, a community service group for kids on Facebook and hiked this past year to the top of Mount Fuji with the foundation Love Hope Strength to raise funds for global cancer care.