In my last post, I was asked how we can raise children that turn into the amazing teenagers I discussed. If I had the answer, I’d be a millionaire. But I can tell you some common attributes of amazing teenagers who I’m completely confident will go on to become adults you’d want to know.
1. They’ve been taught to take responsibility for their actions. They’re not victims and they’ve not been allowed to blame others when things don’t go their way.
2. They’ve been raised to look adults in the eye, shake hands, listen and respond appropriately. They have NOT been taught that adults have to earn their respect. Instead, they are raised to believe that adults (as well as ALL people) are worthy of their respect unless or until they prove otherwise.
3. They are able to laugh at themselves. They see the humor in their mistakes and recognize their weaknesses.
4. They know where to draw the line between joking with others and crossing over into disrespect.These kids always know who they’re talking to and dealing with and understand how to be appropriate. This doesn’t come naturally – it’s something that is demonstrated and taught by parents.
5. They see the world beyond themselves.They have not been led to believe that they are more important than other people or that their needs always come first. Community service does wonders in teaching kids about the world around them.
6. They find other kids like themselves and foster close relationships with their friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s one friend or 20, they know who they are and who is important to them.
7. They know what their bottom line is – what they absolutely will not do. This usually comes from years of parental influence, whether they admit it or not.
8. They have religious beliefs or a strong sense of ethics, again, usually introduced and practiced by parents. They can be church-going or praying or just believe that the bigger world around them needs for them to be kind, generous, and thoughtful. Levels and degrees will vary but an ethical foundation is crucial.
9. They have been taught to value themselves. This will preclude them from devaluing themselves through unhealthy relationships, activities that hurt their bodies, or bullies who tell them that they’re not worth anything. They will know better.
10. They have been raised with a delicate balance of love and discipline. Their parents aren’t their friends, but they will be when they’re older. Instead, they know they’re loved, but there is a very clear sense of boundaries and behavioral expectations.
What do you think is important to raising teenagers who are amazing? What have you done or seen done that was truly successful?