Teaching Self-Development to Your Teens

By Leigh Marcos

American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson was once quoted saying: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” The most fulfilling path to success and personal fulfillment comes through the pursuit of self-development, such as by learning new skills or overcoming obstacles. When you are parent to a teenager, it is important to do anything in your power to negate any typical negative teenage behaviors and teach your children the art of self-development instead. Individuals who take steps to better themselves from a young age typically grow up into successful, well-rounded adults. The trick is, however, how to go about teaching this skill to your kids without seeming too overbearing. By instilling certain skills and qualities in your teenagers, however, it becomes significantly easier to guide them towards a path of constant self-improvement.

Impart responsibility

When attempting to teach your teenager self-development, it is important to remember that today’s child will grow into tomorrow’s adult. Apart from love, one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon your teen is the sense of responsibility. As tempted as you may be to sit your child down and give them a lecture about being responsible, chances are they will not respond very well to it. Instead, set some expectations and encourage your teenager to work towards them. Most people find it easier to motivate themselves to learn and improve if they have a purpose in doing so. As life is all about choices, let your teen in on some of the household decisions, whether it involves planning a family holiday or buying a new television. Valuing their input will give your child a sense of responsibility which will ultimately boost their self-development substantially.

Instill confidence

For many teens, adolescence is teeming with heaps of self-doubts and insecurity. As parent to a homeschooled teenager, you have the power to instill a healthy dose of long-term confidence in your child. First and foremost, educate your child in balancing self-improvement with self-acceptance. Teenagers often have very fragile egos that can be completely shattered when they feel like they have failed at something. Demonstrate to your teen that it is very possible to accept their shortcomings while still aiming to improve themselves. Be a role model for your teenager by refraining from being overly critical of both yourself and others, as that will teach them to be equally as hard on themselves. Instead, have them think about how others benefit from what they do, and if they improve themselves, how those benefits will increase.

Inspire assertiveness

Assertiveness is an important aspect of teenage self-development and can be extremely beneficial throughout their life. Always respect your teen’s assertions without compromising on your boundaries. Model assertiveness to your child by being constantly aware of how you interact with other people. Show them that being assertive means expressing oneself effectively and standing up for yourself, while also respecting the feelings of others. By teaching your teen to be assertive in an appropriate manner, you ultimately also help them to develop into the best versions of themselves. Assertive teens are not only less aggressive and less likely to be bullied, but are also able to communicate their needs a lot better than children who are not assertive at all. Assertiveness can not only help boost one’s self-esteem; it also reduces procrastination by knowing what one wants and going for it.

If you want your teenagers to practice self-improvement, you need to instill it in them from as young an age as possible. Even though it may be difficult at times, your determination and unwavering love will enable your teens to develop into happy and successful adults.

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