Keeping your kids safe and healthy is no longer enough according to research, now they have to be happy too! So, you are already doing one of the toughest jobs on the planet and now it is even more challenging.
It turns out that happiness is a big advantage in the real world for success. According to this study, happy people are more likely to earn a college degree, land a good job with better pay, and get promoted more quickly than unhappy people.
So, how exactly can you help your teen transform into a happy and successful adult?
Part of being happy comes from knowing your own resilience; knowing that when life knocks you down, you’ll get right back up. While some innate factors like being attractive and intelligent might make life easier, resilience is a skill that can be developed and fostered.
You can help your child build resilience by teaching them how to put things into perspective and be cognitively flexible. Being able to face challenges and adapt to constant change means recognizing the significance, or insignificance, of life events. Teach your kids not to sweat the small stuff and choose their battles wisely. Also, to look at problems from multiple angles to avoid tunnel vision.
Feelings of accomplishment naturally lead to happiness and we feel good about ourselves when we are productive individuals; as long as we learn recognize our effort and accomplishment. You can instill this sense of worth by allowing your child to take on more decision-making power and encourage them to feel proud of their hard work and accomplishments.
It’s also important that you help your teen discover their interests, talents, and abilities. People that know their passions and what makes them tick are well prepared for reaching goals.
It may seem counterintuitive, but teenagers cannot gain independence on their own. They simply don’t have the perspective or experience necessary to separate from you. Independence is actually a gift you give to your children. You can help your teen become more independent by:
- Teaching responsibility – Help your kid have a clear understanding of what is expected of them at home and at school as well as the consequences for not fulfilling those expectations.
- Demand Accountability – Make sure you follow through with consequences. If you don’t hold your child accountable for their own behavior and actions, how will they be able to hold themselves accountable as adults?
- Practice letting go – It’s important not to send mixed signals to your teen during this time. As you help them become more independent, practice letting them go. Be open to stepping back as they step forward.
You and your teenager are embarking on an exciting journey; one with many ups and downs. The best thing you can do is to let your kid know you are there for them and that they can talk to you about anything. Good communication is essential during this time.
Therapy can help support parents and teens through this challenging time. For parents, it can help to have someone outside of your circle who you can talk through your parenting struggles without judgement. For teens, it can help to have another adult perspective and they are often more willing to listen to adults outside of close family members. If you think therapy might be helpful for your parenting worry or to help your teen, give me a call to schedule a free consultation.