I often work with teens who are somewhat discouraged about the future. The teen feels pressured to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their life.
The pressure comes from:
- Having friends who know exactly what they want to do
- Knowing that high school will come to an end
- And yes, they feel pressure from us parents
In addition, teens worry about student debt, potentially hating college, finding a job after graduation, ending up with a job that they dislike, and their biggest worry – disappointing their parents. Even if you say, “I don’t care what you decide, I just want you to be happy,” the teen still feels you have certain expectations, and they want to live up to them.
I tell teens…it’s not about figuring out what you want to be when you grow up. There are some adults still trying to figure that out. It’s about learning and identifying what aspects of life do you and would you enjoy. Everybody has a unique path, and there are options. My goal is to take them from 1000 options to maybe five or ten.
I start off by getting the teen to dream big. There are no pressures, and they can design the life they want. I do this by having them answer these two questions below. You can use these with your own kids:
1. What does success look like to you? Possible answers could include graduate from high school, live on my own, having lots of friends, having a nice car, getting married, having a family, etc.
2. It’s ten years later and you are living your dream life. Describe how you are feeling. Who are you spending your time with, what are you doing for fun, what are some things you have acquired, and what have you achieved?
When you ask these questions, do not expect your teen to start spouting off a bunch of different answers. When I ask this question to teens, I get a deer in the headlights look. They have never thought about what they want in these terms before. Allow them time to think and get back to you with answers.
The important thing is that you are setting the stage for your teen to think positively about the future. From there, they can start figuring out what they want to do and how to get there.
If you would like even more tips on how to help your teen plan for the future, schedule a complimentary strategy session with me here.