Your teenager beliefs determine his/her actions. What does your teenager believe? You probably ask yourself, “About what?” The answer seems obvious. But you don’t know and have to guess. Probably the world around her/him. Friends. Girls. Boys. Sex. School. Teacher. Subjects. Sports. Cars. Movies. Music. TV. Internet. Smartphones. Apparel. Food. Drugs. College. Work. Money. Family. Hopes. Worries. Dreams. Career. Do you know what your teen believes about each of these? Doubtful.
Your Teen’s Activities
What do you know? Of course, you know your teen’s activities. You’re good parents. Only bad parents don’t know what their kids are doing. Your teen leaves for school at 7 AM. And returns home at 6 PM. 7 to 3 are classes. Advanced placement courses: Latin, geography, history, computer science, psychology, physics, music theory, chemistry, among others. After soccer practice, debate club, hanging out with friends, or the after-school job. But do you really know what your teen believes about all these activities?
After dinner your teen does homework. With all those AP courses. Tons of it. Texting friends. Talking on the phone. Playing video games. Watching TV. Laying out clothes for tomorrow. Getting ready for bed.
What about family time?
How much time do you spend together? Mother-daughter talks. Father-son. Family conversations. One hour? 30 minutes? A few minutes now and then? Think about it and get real. What are the negative implications of not spending time together? And when you talk, who talks and who listens? Are your talks primarily parents lecturing kids?
Do you really know what your teen believes?
So, how much do you really know about your teen? More about her/his activities and less about his/her teenager beliefs. Especially if you’re busy with work and taking care of your home. Unfortunately spending only minimal time with the most important person in your life. Your teenager.
How does your teenager form her/his beliefs?
Like we said earlier. Not from you. But from others. Friends, cliques, gangs, teachers, TV, Snapchat, church. Far-too-often, teens form beliefs about themselves from themselves. “I’m shy.” “I’m not a good speller.” “I hate vegetables.” “I’m lousy at math.” And worst of all. “Nobody likes me.” “I’m not smart enough or good enough.”
What’s the solution for teenager beliefs?
It’s simple. Yet you think it’s difficult. Because it requires change. You need to change. And so does your teen. You need to schedule time each day. Out of both your busy schedules. To sit down and talk. Not lecture. But talk. One at a time. You start. Share what’s happened today. Good and bad. Then switch. Your teen shares what’s going on. Reverse the order the next day. Teen then parent. Make it fun. Popcorn. Coke. Bowl of ice cream. Whatever. Communicate. Get to know one another. Find out your teenager beliefs. Become best friends. Always pepper your conversation with esteem-building comments. “You are great.” “You’re an amazing girl.” “I’m so proud of you.” “You can do anything when you put your mind to it.”
Remember, always end every conversation with. “I love you.” Watch the miracle happen.