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Motivating Teens Toward Greatness

ďAdolescence is a time of maximum resistance to further growth. It is a time characterized by the teenagerís ingenious efforts to maintain the privileges of childhood, while at the same time demanding the rights of adulthood. It is a point beyond which most human beings do not pass emotionally. The more we do for our children, the less they can do for themselves. The dependent child of today is destined to become the dependent parent of tomorrow.Ē

Teach them responsibility. Responsibility is a mark of maturity. It needs teaching from earliest childhood.

Internationally-known authority on personal development, Denis Waitley, in his best-selling book, Seeds of Greatness, gives ten action steps for teaching responsibility. Briefly, they are as follows:

  1. As soon as children are old enough, they need to put away their own toys, eating materials and clothes. They need to be taught to make their own beds, clean up their own rooms and their own messes, and not be paid for it.

  2. Every family member needs to be given chores that are attended to on definite days and times. Payment can be in positive strokes, allowances or special privileges.

  3. Television needs to be disciplined in the amount of time spent watching each day. Programs need to be selected according to their value, and other forms of recreation need to be initiated. Too much television makes people passive onlookers and not participators in life. Constant watching also unconsciously formulates unrealistic values of life that people come to accept as normal.

  4. As long as teens are living at home, it is the responsibility of the parents to know where they are, who they are with, and basically what they are doing. Friends need to be welcome at home. And when rules are broken, discuss with the teens what they feel the discipline should be.

  5. Donít buy your children a car. If you should stand as guarantor for them, make sure they have earned and saved the deposit first, and ensure that they make their own car payments and insurance. 

Teach your children and teens that
life is a do-it-yourself project.

If there is any evidence of any use of alcohol or drugs connected with your teens or young adultsí use of a car, automatically take action for a three- to six-month period.

  1. Teach your children and teens that life is a do-it-yourself project. Help your children to solve their own problems; donít do it for them. Train them to make their own decisions and to accept responsibility for the outcome.

  2. Never preach what you donít practice. If you donít want your children to smoke pot, donít smoke cigarettes. According to one authority, no child ever smoked pot without having first smoked cigarettes. And if you donít want your children to drink while they drive, be careful what you drink yourself and when.

  3. Become a role model for those you wish to influence.

  4. Let your children make mistakes without fear of punishment and rejection.

  5. Never make excuses for anything. Always accept the responsibility for your own actions, and if a commitment canít be kept, call immediately, giving the reason.

Finally, trust your children to God. Denis Waitley also points out that according to the most recent studies, there are three cornerstones in the lives of teens and young adults who do not use drugs of any kind: a strong religious belief, healthy family and extended-family relationships, and high self-esteem. Therefore, and above all, commit your own life to God, put him first in everything you do, take your family to church every Sunday, and daily commit and trust your life and way, and that of your children, to God.

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All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.