Over the past few weeks, I have discussed how to prepare for and have productive conversations with your teen about their future while avoiding resistance. If you missed these blog posts, you can access them here and here. These posts are must-reads before you take the next step.

These conversations will lead to hundreds of ideas and thoughts that will require action items for your teen to figure things out. Although they are making good progress to find the best future path, it can be overwhelming for a teen when they are also balancing school, extracurricular activities, work, friends, etc.                                     

How can you help alleviate that overwhelming feeling for your teen? 

The answer is NOT to do the tasks for them. They must take ownership of their future. As parents, our role is to support and guide them in the right direction. Your teen hasn’t yet acquired all the knowledge and skills to process what to do next, and they need our advice to process the next steps. Heck, as parents, the whole process is confusing for us. There are thousands of opportunities and paths your teen can take that we didn’t have.

Here is how to make it easy. First, break down the action items into two categories – Career and Education.

Your teen identified potential careers during your brainstorming session, but they still need to determine if these careers are suitable for them. Here are some steps to help narrow down their choices:

  • Ask parents, friends’ parents, coaches, and teachers if they know anyone in these careers that they could interview. 
  • Determine what questions to ask professionals about their role.
  • Research professional organizations and chat with their members.
  • Watch “day in the life” videos on YouTube to learn more about certain jobs.

As they identify careers, your teen should then take steps to determine the necessary education. Here are some tasks they can take to move forward:

  • Research what education is necessary for these professions – a college degree, trade school, certification.
  • Identify what schools offer the education required for those careers.
  • Create a list of what you are looking for in education – internship opportunities, location, class size, access to teachers, etc.
  • Find out the admission requirements for the schools.
  • Plan for campus visits, if necessary.
  • Determine if the SAT or ACT is necessary, and when you will take it.

I encourage the teens I work with to get granular with listing actions or tasks to complete. For example, if the item is “take the SAT,” I would break it down further into these tasks:

  • Find out SAT test dates.
  • Register for the SAT.
  • Identify the best option for preparing – tutor, books, online resources.
  • Create a schedule for studying.

Why is this important? Breaking down tasks into specific action items ensures nothing is overlooked and reduces procrastination because they simply don’t know where to begin. Plus, I know I get a feeling of accomplishment when I put a checkmark next to a completed task. The more checkmarks I have, the more motivated I am to do more. 

Would you like additional guidance or just someone to listen? I am here to help. Schedule a free College Assessment Plan call with me today. We will discuss you and your teen’s goals, what obstacles are getting in the way, and determine the next best steps.

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