Teenagers Need Life Skills and Independence

A huge thank you to everyone for your feedback and questions so far. I am excited to hear that so many of you think that the 7 Habits of Highly Effective teenagers can provide your child with valuable life skills.


More than ever, our teenagers need life skills that will build independence, confidence and successful relationships, and character skills that will enable them to do the right thing even when no else is looking. Above all, teenagers need to develop independence during the teen years.


Problem with Dependence

The problem is we know that schools and parents are struggling in this area because of the pervasive culture of academic achievement without life skills. I received an email from a university lecturer;


She said, I have noticed that those who struggle most are often those who lack even basic 'streetwise' skills. There are 18 year olds who come to us who find it hard to manage their own freedom. They struggle with timetables, with feeding themselves properly, with managing their money and their time. Some even struggle negotiating public transport on their own. Some get beaten up in the first week of term as they wander off into dodgy streets late at night while drunk, or at the other extreme spend all their time indoors and online’.


Private Victory to Public Victory

What I love about the 7 Habits is that as one applies them to your life you begin to move from dependence to independence which is the missing transition for many teenagers. This is referred to as the Private to Public Victory. Habits 1: Be Proactive, Habit 2: Begin with the end in Mind, Habit 3: First Things First are the Private Victory that create independence within a teenager. Habits 4 to 6 are the Public Victory that create interdependence in teens.


The Private Victory always precedes the Public Victory. You can’t invert the process any more than you can harvest before you plant the seed. Dr. Stephen Covey


The Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern

I want to share with you on the the highly effective practices that has helped me keep my sanity during the teen years (each habit has a number of practices linked to it so that they enable us to live them). The Circle of Influence is a highly effective practice that is linked habit 1: Be Proactive. Your Circle of Influence includes all those things that are within your power that you have control over. Whereas, your Circle of Concern includes all those things you care about but have little or no control of. This was a breakthrough moment for me when I realised that all of my teenager’s reactive behaviour was not in my Circle of Influence, definitely in my Circle of Concern, but I had no control of it. With this realisation it gave me the self-awareness to stop judging, manipulating and trying to control them, instead I was free to choose how I could respond by only focusing on the things within my control. I moved from having a reactive focus with little influence to a proactive focus where I focus on things I could influence and started to build trustworthiness in our relationships. I began to choose a response based what was really important to me – a relationship of high trust. Moreover, modelling this, not always successfully, has helped my teenagers be more proactive and focus on things that are within their influence.


Seek to Understand, Then be Understood – Living the Circle of Influence

Senior school relationships can be a turbulent time, in particular for girls as from my experience they tend to fall out more often due to the party politics (often due to over-involvement of parents). My daughter a while ago fell out with one of her friends at school and she was in a highly reactive mode. It appears that her friend had said some mean things behind her back. My daughter said that she was going to freeze her out and never be friends with her again.


Applying the Habits

We talked and and I mostly listenedtrying to understand her (Habit 5). In the end I asked he if she really wanted this ill feeling to exist between the two of them for the rest of years of senior school. I could see that the thought of this was not appealing and she wanted to repair the relationship.We talked about what my daughter could control and what actions she would need to take to rebuild the relationship. In the end, she decided to apologise, even though she believed it was not her fault, tried to understand her friend’s thoughts and feelings. Her friend explained that she was feeling left out and neglected in their group of four friends and that is why she had reacted strongly. The net result was that today they are close friends with a deeper understanding of each others needs. And, my daughter learnt to live being proactive, whilst focusing on the things she could control to achieve what was important to her. She took one step closer to independence.


All unhappiness is caused by when we focus on the things that are outside of our control.

Clinton Lamprecht


On Wednesday I will share with you how I have used more of the 7 habits with my teenagers and give you an offer for your teenagers to attend a course where they can learn the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers.


I believe our character is made up from our habits and that teenagers need to learn these powerful life changing habits so that they can be mentally healthy, happy and successful. What do you think and what questions are on your mind?


Email me on [email protected]


Clinton Lamprecht


England Sports Group and United Education Group

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