How You Are Sabotaging Your Teenager’s Success

Last week I shared ways to help your teenager take more initiative through my interview with Meg Lee. Meg has 20+ years working in all levels of public education and is a co-author of Mindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids. You can click here if you missed that blog.

How parents sabotoge their teenagers success.

In my discussion with Meg about how to help my boys, I realized there are some ways I am unconsciously sabotaging my teenager’s ability to take initiative.

Here is what I learned from Meg. Often when kids are very shy and lack initiative they have experienced a lot of over-supporting from home.  It is worthwhile for parents or guardians to take stock and really consider…

  • Do I speak for the child? 
  • Do I give him or her enough time to answer before I do it? 
  • Have I always been a safe fallback when the child didn’t take care of something himself or herself? 

While it is not easy to start releasing control when a child is a teen, it is necessary and important to do so.  Meg advises parents to have a conversation with the child and say, “I’ve been speaking for you sometimes when I should have waited and let you say what you thought, so I am going to be mindful of this and try to do better.  Let’s brainstorm together some of those times when it is difficult to know what to say and I’ll talk you through them so that you can handle them on your own when it happens again.”

I took Meg’s advice and had a discussion with my teenager. In our discussion, I found out that my child was frustrated when I did speak for him at times. I would jump in because I knew the answer right away when all he needed was a little more time to process the information. We also talked through a discussion he needs to have with one of his teachers that he was resisting.

Having initiative is a key skill in life. It’s a trait in almost every single job out there. If your child doesn’t have a certain level of initiative, it will hamper their success in most careers.

Here is one last tip from Meg that I want to share. She is an advocate for no screens and no headphones in the car. Why? Because the car is one place where kids tend to open up and have conversations… provided that we don’t allow them to whittle the time away playing a game or watching a show on their phones.  In the hustle and bustle of family life, having a sacred “no screens” zone in the car is a way to build peaceful time to be together.  Or be bored… which is also a good thing for the growing brain!

What do you think of the no screens or headphones in the car? Tell us in the comments.

My Ideal College shares how to not let college debt put a hold on your retirement.

How to Avoid Putting Your Retirement On Hold

A parent recently told me……

“I am facing retirement in less than two years. I wish I put my children’s hopes and dreams into perspective. College kids aren’t the only ones who take out education loans. More parents need to understand the impact of their child’s future on their own hopes and dreams.”

Debbie, Parent
My Ideal College shares how to not let college debt put a hold on your retirement.

My husband and I dream of traveling more in retirement. We hope to get an RV and travel all across the United States. While we are on target, we need more savings to retire. The good news is that we do have 529 plans for our kids, but it’s not nearly enough to cover their entire tuition for a standard four-year institution.

We are not alone. Many parents start college savings plans shortly after their kids are born. Yet, as they get closer to graduating from high school, we realize it’s not enough.

As parents, we are invested in helping our kids find and live their hopes and dreams. I know I would do anything to help my kids live their best life. But how much am I willing to derail my dreams for them?

I have one easy tip for you to help relieve some of that fear. That is to reach a mutual agreement between you, your spouse, and your child about the educational path your child will pursue after high school. The path should drive them towards their career. Makes sense, right? It’s why we pay the $100,000 plus tuition because we expect our children to get jobs in the field their major is in.

Here is why this is so important. A friend of mine has a nephew who had a dream of working in the audio-visual field. My friend and the mom knew the child was not “college material.” The father was fine with the field his son wanted to go into, BUT he was insistent that he attend a four-year institution. The son attended and dropped out a year and a half later. It wasn’t because of the audio-visual courses, it was the other courses required for graduation that he suffered. That year and a half put the family $20,000 in debt. That put a big dent into their retirement fund.

Think about these questions:

  • What are the career aspirations you have for your child?
  • Are they realistic for what your child’s interests are?
  • What kind of financial support can you provide for your child’s post high-school education?
  • How open are you to considering educational options other than a four-year college?

Next, have your child answer these questions:

  • Where do they see their future?
  • What are their career aspirations?
  • If they have specific careers in mind, what about those careers appeals to them?
  • What are the different educational options for that career – four-year college, technical college, certification?

Once you have a clear answer to these questions, have a conversation with your child. Then come to a mutual agreement on a path and start planning for it.

If your child is unclear on what career they are interested in, there are options for you.  Many high-schools offer free career assessments. Some are better than others. You want to make sure the assessment suggests actual jobs versus broad fields and that it’s directly tied to your child’s natural interests.

At My Ideal College, we use assessments that directly correlate a child’s interests into actual jobs. We are able to match your child’s interests based on the research of what it takes to be successful in each role.

Please contact us to help get your child started on the right path and you to your retirement dreams. Give us a call at 678-761-3550 or email us at