All teens are gifted. However, not all teens are provided the necessary structure to succeed. A teens’ success can be hindered by a myriad of factors. Poor family, educational and community supports rate high among the many contributors to a teen’s lack of achievement.
There are some who will argue that teens do not want to succeed. However, it is more likely that teens do not know how to succeed. It is difficult for a teen to desire success, if his family does not guide and support him toward success. It is difficult for a teen to achieve success, if his teachers lack the interest, energy or time to motivate and inspire him to achieve greatness. It is difficult for a teen to achieve success, if his community is not one that supports education, e.g., it belittles education, glorifies crime and fast money, or commits acts of violence against those who aspire to achieve the kind of success that will take them out of the neighborhood.
The transitional stage of adolescence can be tough terrain for teens to navigate. Teens are, not only learning to cope with physical and biological changes, but they are learning to navigate the influences of family, peers and community. At this stage of development, teens need guidance more than ever. Teens need the kind of guidance that extends beyond telling him what he needs to do, along with the subtle threat of impending doom. It is imperative that parents become more proactive in guiding their teens towards success.
Here are three things that you can do to help your teen to succeed:
Communicate with your teen
- Check –in with your teen daily, by asking him about his day. Listen. Ask him what he thinks and how he feels about his studies. Listen. You want to identify the good and the not-so-good, and where you can lend more guidance and support.
- Review your teen’s grade report(s). If his grades are declining, investigate by asking him what he thinks the problem is. Is the problem related to pressure from peers to “dummy down” and settle into the lull of the student body, or the community? Has he lost hope of achieving more than what his current environment has to offer?
- Ask your teen what his career aspirations are. Listen. If you are already aware of his career aspirations, find out if anything has changed; has more options been added that makes him feel confused? Are his career aspirations authentic, or has he configured his aspirations to family expectations? Has he stated a career goal, but does not have a clue as to how to attain it?
Be advised that specific training on how to become a professional at any career is not something that is always offered in high school. So, the closer your teen gets to graduation, the more he may cling to high school by producing poor grades. Graduating from high school, oftentimes, exposes a teen’s lack of awareness. The lack of awareness may cause your teen to feel like a failure. So, talk to your teen about his grades, graduation and his career aspirations. Most importantly, listen. Teens need to be, and feel, heard. Follow discussions with support and guidance.
Next week: How to help the gifted teen – Part II