It takes time and training for us to become good mentors who can assist our youth as they grow into something new.
I have a book that can help:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey, is chock-full of good advice for teens or for anyone. The teen version of the 7 habits is simple and entertaining. It is full of practical advice, relevant stories and funny cartoons.The principles in this book are classic and stand the test of time.
Here is the "cliff-note" version for you, but it might be worth it to you to study the real deal.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Take responsibility for your life. Don’t blame your problems on others. Refuse to be a victim. If you want something, go get it. Use language such as, “I’ll do it,” “I can do better than that,” “Let’s look at all our options,” “I choose to,” or “There’s gotta be a way.” As you do this, you will find the realm of things you have control over grows. You will become able to make meaningful changes in your life that previously you thought were out of your control.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Define your mission and goals in life. Know where you want to be in 5 years. Visualize your best possible self. It’s important to know your destination before you set out. At your last breath of life, what pique experiences or accomplishments would you like to remember? Most of us don’t know where we are going. We don’t take time to visualize the details and commit to that vision. If you clarify your goals and your end destination, you may be surprised how having a clear direction changes your daily choices and helps you stay on course. Write it down in your journal or planner.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Prioritize and do the most important things first. Prioritize. Get your most important tasks done first. “You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want.” When you plan, make goals, and keep schedules, you are able to fit in more. When you plan, carve out time for important relationships, exercise, and relaxation. If you don’t, the most pressing things will take over and squeeze out what’s most important to you. Avoid procrastinating, attending to unimportant tasks, other people’s small problems, or interruptions, or slacking.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Have an everyone-can-win attitude. Think Win-Win. Successful, cheerful people can find a win-win in any situation. There are 4 ways to think of a situation: win-lose, lose-win, lose-lose, or win-win.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Listen to people sincerely. The deepest need of the human heart is to be understood. If you learn to be a good listener you will have better relationships, get quite smart, and be more efficient with your problem solving. Avoid spacing out, pretend listening, selective listening, focusing solely on the words being spoken, or having a self-centered perspective when listening. Instead, listen to the body language, imagine what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes, and make mirroring/empathic statements such as “I can see you are feeling…” or “So, what you’re saying is…” Get better at listening by trying this:
Habit 6: Synergize
Work together to achieve more. To synergize is to celebrate differences, teamwork, open-mindedness, and finding new and better ways to work together. Avoid ignorance, cliques, and prejudice. When faced with a problem of my way vs. your way, try this:
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Renew yourself regularly. Sharpen the saw. We all need a little me-time to unwind and rejuvenate. Check your balance on taking care of your body, brain, heart, and soul. Sometimes the most effective approach is to take a break. It can bring you back to your task with revived spirits and energy.
And finally, keep hope alive. As Covey puts it, “If you ever find yourself falling short, don’t get discouraged. Remember the flight of an airplane. When an airplane takes off it has a flight plan. However, during the course of the flight, wind, rain, turbulence, air traffic, human error, and other factors keep knocking the plan off course. In fact, a plane is off course about 90 percent of the time. The key is that the pilots keep making small course corrections by reading their instruments and talking to the control tower. As a result, a plane reaches its destination… keep hope alive, you’ll eventually reach your destination."
Stephanie Patterson, M.S., LMFT
Downtown Atascadero & San Luis Obispo