Teenager needs are numerous in number and nature. We often hear about the importance of preparing your teenager for the physical changes that occur during this point in their life. However, the teenager needs also go beyond the tangible and material, as their brains are literally rewired during adolescence. As they begin to interact with the world in new ways, parents should engage in holistic preparation for their teenagers. They should aim to provide teenagers with the right ideas, attitudes, and goals for their life ahead. Here are five of the most essential teenager needs.
An integral part of everyone’s life is their identity. This comprises their interests, strengths, and things that make someone unique. A teenager needs to experiment and figure out what makes them ‘them’ during adolescence. This may be difficult when we conflate our identity with success in specific fields, which is not strictly the case. Teenagers must understand that beliefs and values also make them unique, regardless of relative success in their field of choice. Parents should encourage teenagers to explore the different facets of their identity and praise them for their efforts. Having support from respected figures will go a long way in solidifying a teenager’s identity.
Coinciding with what is perceived as a rebellious phase, teenagers seek to carve out their own existence in one way or another. They seek greater independence in their decisions, looking to be free to choose what they deem best for them. As difficult as it may be for parents to let go of their children, allowing them to make their own decisions is an excellent long-term investment. Teenagers need to learn the consequences of their actions, for better or worse. Good choices help them learn how to stand on their own two feet. Bad decisions give them valuable insights and learning opportunities, building and strengthening them for the future.
Finding new friend groups and establishing a social network of their own becomes an increasing priority for teens as they age. As they exercise their independence and find people whose identities align, teenagers need the support of their families as they navigate through acquaintances and friends. While spending less time with your children may be challenging, parents should encourage this endeavour. Teenagers must find companionship and support from other sources than their family, providing them with additional, valuable perspectives.
Being a teenager is a stressful experience. It can be hard to stay afloat between the increased expectations and physiological changes. What a teenager needs is enjoyment to keep them going and growing. Their joy can be connected to the previous three things in this article. There really is no healthier way to find happiness than personal growth and the people around you. That being said, joy should not be the only pursuit. There is much to learn and gain from challenges and difficulties. Teens should find avenues to challenge themselves while also deriving joy from their activities. A good balance of hardship and happiness will keep them engaged and motivated for life.
5. Life skills
To complement one’s increasing independence and focus on their interests, a teenager needs to learn essential life skills. These may comprise basic skills like cooking, doing laundry, or fixing certain household appliances. More advanced skills might take the form of financial literacy or preparation for their career. Beyond that, having important internal mechanisms like dealing with failure or learning new things will assist their growth journey. Not only should teenagers find out what skills are essential for their lives, but they should also develop methods to continually improve themselves. After all, skills that are crucial for the future may not even be around yet.
Everyone can get support from a mentor, but teenagers will particularly benefit during this malleable part of their lives. A mentor does not necessarily need to be older. They need only be more senior or experienced in a specific aspect of life and still guide teenagers well. Having a mentor provides much-needed guidance and structure during a chaotic and messy part of growing up. In addition, mentors can help teenagers shape their own identities and come into their own. Through this particular relationship, teenagers can walk their journey together with someone willing and able to support them however they can.
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