Lessons in Life for Teenagers

 Lessons in Life for Teenagers

 

I have two teenagers, and one hot on the heals, and I am always wrestling how to prepare them for independent adult life. It concerns me that our school’s don’t provide any real life skills training for them and that the world that they are going to enter into as adults is a complex jungle that they will be under prepared for.

 

Being a teenager in the 21st century is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Teens have so many tough decisions, peer pressures, personal insecurities, anxieties of what others think and increased pressures to perform academically. And there are the destructive distractions of easily accessible pornography, drugsand social media. Teenagers lives today are on show 24/7 with things like Instagram and there is huge pressure to keep up a public image.

 

I met a head teacher of a top independent senior school this summer and they said, ‘we are facing a tsunami of mental health issues’.  In fact, this is the biggest challenge of secondary education in the UK, mental health, or the lack of it. Why are we in this crisis in secondary education and could it affect your child? And, more importantly as a parent what can we do about it?

 

I believe there are three factors causing this lack of mental health and life skills in our teenagers.

 

They are:

 

  1. An education system that focuses heavily on the acquisition of academic skills, but places little emphasis on developing a child’s character. Our education system puts pressure on teens to perform academically, yet it does not equip them with the skills needed to cope with the adversities of life. Academic success takes priority, and this leaves teenagers hopelessly under prepared for life and lacking in confidence.

 

  1. The culture of parental over-involvement that leads to teenagers having little skills to navigate life outside their structured school environment. Many parents actively smooth out the bumps in the road ahead for their children and thereby eliminating any opportunities for setbacks. This creates a teenager who is not hardy enough to excel in the real world, or take responsibility for their life. Abraham Lincoln said, “the worst thing that we can do for our children are things that they should be doing for themselves.”

 

  1. The lack of independent life during the teenage years. The teens years are a vital transition period where teenagers need to move away from dependency to independency and ultimately interdependency. Every part of a teenager’s life is becoming more and more structured and micromanaged. And, the message this creates is – ‘I am not capable without significant and constant external guidance’.

 

My teenage daughter visited a friend this July and they cycled into Kingston together, (about a 20-minute ride). She expressed afterwards how scared she was cycling with only a friend. It occurred to me, that something which I had done everyday as a child independently as a means to get to school, visit friends and get to sports matches has now become a fearful activity for the modern day teenager.

 

Compound this with the research that reveals teenagers are spending 27 hours a week online and becoming dependent on their screens. That’s almost four hours a day online. The results of this are much less time to socially interact and social awkwardness.

 

I think that teenagers need life skills to thrive in the rapidly changing world. Moreover, I passionately believe that parents need to drive this change so that our education systems will provide our children with life skills that will help them be successful and happy in life.

 

I am going to send you an email in two days about the the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers. These habits are based on timeless principles that any teen can learn and apply to their life. I am really excited about sharing this with you because I know it can make a positive difference to your teenager, and family life.

 

The 7 Habits help teens to:

 

  • take responsibility for their life
  • gain self-belief
  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • make good decisions
  • recover from setbacks
  • communicate effectively
  • listen sincerely
  • prioritise the most important
  • improve friendship relationships

 

I would like to hear some of your thoughts on the challenges you are facing with your teenagers. What are your two top questions? 

Please email [email protected]

 

Clinton Lamprecht

Chairman

England Sports Group

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“DREAM BIG AND WORK HARD AND THE SKY IS THE LIMIT“ - Clinton Lamprecht


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