A 3 Step Process For Mentoring Your Teenager
Many parents leave their teenager’s development to chance. During the teen years teenagers are making some of the most important decisions they’ll ever make. Why not take a more proactive approach to developing your teenager?
The key to being proactive is learning to guide their personal development. The easiest way to guide a teenager’s development is by intentionally mentoring them. Every teenager has a mentor, whether it’s their parents, television, friends or a coach. Parents have the opportunity to be the most influential mentor to their teenager. The key is deciding what kind they’ll be.
Mentoring isn’t as complicated as it sounds. When we think of a mentor we think of formal settings where two people sit down together and discuss life issues and goals. While this works for seasoned adults this doesn’t always work with teenagers.
Mentoring is a 3-step process:
Don’t assume your children know what you know. Take the time to share with them why life decisions are important such as personal finances, relationships and occupations. Don’t just give your children things, teach them principles to live by.
Take the time to model to your teenager what you teach them. If you’re teaching them the importance of managing your finances, then sit down with them and show them how you manage your personal budget.
The last and most important step is take the time to let them put what they’ve learned into practice. In this step you will let them teach you what they’ve learned. If they can explain it to you on their level, it’s safe to say they have a good grasp of the principle.
Real Life Example
This summer my wife and I had the opportunity to put this model into practice with our oldest daughter. Like many parents, my wife and I constantly teach our children about the value of money. This summer my wife and I gave our ten-year-old daughter a budget for her clothes. She was preparing to go to camp and we thought this would be a good opportunity to learn and practice personal budgeting.
My wife took her shopping and gave her a budget for her to spend on some needed items. After going to a few name brand stores my daughter wanted to go to Target to purchase them because they were cheaper and she could get more for her money. I was excited to say the least, because I knew she was getting it!
We have spent months and years talking to her about making good decisions regarding money. We’ve tried to model it to her and we’ve even attempted to show her our mistakes. Finally, we let her practice what she learned.
In letting her practice it we let her do it in a way that the stakes were much lower. Learning to manage a clothing budget isn’t difficult and if she messed up the consequences wouldn’t be life changing. She simply would’ve had a few less clothes.
I know if she can learn to manage the small things now, she’ll be able to manage the bigger things later. When she’s older the stakes will be higher and the potential consequences much more life changing.
What kind of mentor will you be? Will you choose to be intentional or will you leave their development to chance?
About the Author:
Eric Speir is a writer and college professor. He lives with his wife and 3 children near Atlanta, GA. He writes on parenting, practical Christianity and other topics. He blogs regularly at www.EricSpeir.com and you can follow him on Twitter @ericspeir
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