Models for Your Teen
By the time your children reach their teens,
there's a limited amount of time left to influence
them and help guide them in the right direction.
The teen years are a critical time for role
models in your children's lives. Many teens
have a difficult time talking to their parents.
Even in the closest families, teens often feel
more comfortable talking to another trusted
adult about some of the things going on in their
you obviously have no real control over whom
your teen seeks out for advice, there are a
number of ways you can help steer him or her
in the right direction.
Extracurricular activities provide excellent
opportunities for your teen to interact with
other adults. There are all kinds of activities
your teen can be involved with, including
church youth groups, scouts, sports, music,
school clubs, community service, just to name
a few. I don't encourage parents to involve
their teens in so many activities that it
leads to burnout for both the parents and
the teen, but carefully selected activities
led by good and capable leaders will enrich
your teen's life in many ways. It will also
increase the likelihood that your teen will
establish a relationship with one of the group
word of caution, however. Talk to your teen
about their activities and get a feel for the
character and effectiveness of the group leader.
That's not to imply the leader must excel in
every way, but it will help you to ensure that
he or she is a positive role model and not a
negative influence on your teen. There can be
bad leaders in any activity, including church
groups, and it's the parents' responsibility
to check them out.
activities are especially valuable for teens
from single-parent households. Teens who lack
regular contact with mature adults of both sexes
often struggle to build healthy adult relationships
later in life. Exposure to mature adults of
both sexes at this age significantly increases
the teen's chances of becoming a well-adjusted,
emotionally mature adult. I have seen many examples
of boys raised by single mothers who have greatly
benefited through group activities led by mature
male adults. These teen boys have much less
difficulty transitioning into adulthood than
those who lack positive male role models.
Cultivate Your Teen's Unique Abilities
From my own experience, I have often found
that other adults can help my teen in ways
that I can't, mostly due to personality differences.
I'm more of a quiet introspective thinker,
and my daughter is very outgoing. She has
lots of potential leadership qualities that
are hard for me to help her develop because
I do not possess those qualities.
how important it is to help her develop her
natural abilities at this impressionable age,
I make every effort to ensure she is exposed
to other adults who can help influence her in
ways I can't. My daughter and I are very close,
but there are many things that I can't help
her with, and I encourage her to develop relationships
with adults with complementary abilities.
daughter and I respect our different abilities
and personalities. It's all too easy to be critical
of people who are not like us, and parents and
teens often fall into this trap. It's important
to honestly assess your own abilities and the
abilities of your teen, and do whatever is necessary
to find outside influences who will help draw
our her unique potential. The more you can help
your teen develop their abilities now, the less
they will have to do on their own later (often,
the hard way).
don't forget, you are also a role model. Get
involved in the lives of your teen's friends,
or volunteer to help in a group activity in
some way, even if only occasionally. There are
teens out there who really need to hear what
you have to say.
Paxton is a freelance writer and
mom who is the author of the Creative Homemaking
Recipe of the Week Club Cookbook, a cookbook
containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas.
For recipes, tips to organize your home, home
decorating, crafts, and frugal family fun, visit
Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com