I am happy to see you visiting this blog for the part 2 content. As mentioned earlier, I am collating some suggestions and steps that could be helpful for building a better relationship with your teens as you support them through their graceful transition into adulthood. First, I’ve added a brief summary from Ana Homayoun’s book “That Crumpled Paper was Due Last Week,” where the author talks about eight different groups of adolescent boys based on their organizational styles, attitudes, and behaviors from an academician perspective. I recommend that this book should be on your bucket list to read if you are a parent seeking professional help. Secondly, I have listed some “What to do?” along with a guiding questionnaire.
Where does my child belong?
A generic summary of teen types based on their work patterns and general attitudes.
The Overscheduled Procrastinator
This kid is a natural leader, sociable with a warm smile, an incredible hard worker consumed by his commitments. He is juggling a full load of academic works, alongside responsibilities from the school community, the social network, and plenty of activities. He never likes to miss a deadline, so he results in having a study cycle looming over deadlines; hence, he is exhausted, agitated, and ends up with sleep-deprived midnights. He is always going a mile a minute without opportunities to rest and relax, becoming easily stressed and overwhelmed.
The Scattered Charmer
They are usually laid back,easy-going, outwardly calm, naturally gifted test-takers, socializing more, and creating harmless mischief. They are bored in static environments but thrive in surroundings that allow social interactions and group activities. They are forgetful or distracted by their social obligations, find difficulty prioritizing, takes to work after social obligations are ended, misses assignments or tests, and often couldn’t follow directions when required.
The Tech Master
Often shy and spends lots of time indoors. Loves computers or is easily enthralled with technology. Computers are his social crutch and his distraction. Deeply interested and invests lots of time on tasks demanding conceptual and intellectual abilities. He is very creative and works at a higher level of thinking than his peers. Forgets assignments or fails to do tasks if he deems is worthless. Incredibly messy and doesn’t plan or organize systematically.
The Seriously Struggling Student
Diligent, good-natured, wants to please, quiet, studious, and attentive. He thinks concretely and does what is asked of him without questioning authority. Spends lots of time on academics even though academic performance is generally low. They may even be diagnosed with learning difficulties which in turn could be impacting their self-confidence and self-esteem.
The Creative Wonder
They are artistic and generally a right-side brain kid. Creatively intuitive, abstract thinking, focusing on attention to detail, doodling, daydreaming, perceptive are some of their inborn traits. Engages in the pursuits of interests, but forgets routine and mundane tasks, is messy, often misplaces things, and working in small-block periods with frequent breaks are few of their work habits.
The Intellectual Conversationalist
They are incredibly verbal, a deep thinker and analyser, can interact with adults easily, can offer pithy analysis and insight due to their elevated thought process. Completes tasks reactively rather than proactively as they have difficulty prioritizing tasks. He is usually stubborn and has a tough time admitting that he needs help. Loses track of time when engaged in interesting projects.
The Sincere Slacker
They are more of a thinker than a doer. They have misunderstandings on the amount of work/ effort required hence waits for the last minute jab; hence, tasks are done in quantity over quality. It creates an illusion that they are hard-working and diligent while, in fact, they are toggling between work and leisure activities simultaneously. The efforts they put in are not sufficient enough for success. Hence, even though they are capable, they end up a peripheral member rather than a leader.
The Satisfied Underachiever
They are articulate conversationalists, weaves intricate stories of effort and success, poses they are in control of tasks but are actually presenting a false reality to mask their fear and frustrations of low performance. They have no issues with less than stellar performance and puts minimal effort. They seem not to care much about incomplete or under expectation results as they feel incompetent if they have to seek help. They have the potential but need to believe in their abilities or redefine themselves.
What to do?
A lot of tips and advice are definitely available for the illusioned parent from an ample number of resources. To my share, I have collated some definite simplified recommendations that are easy and tested to get the desired tangible result. They are furnished in random order below:
- Accept your child for who he really is. Enable them to set goals and envision the pursuit of their own interests.
- Be flexible. Listen to what your son really wants.
- Communicate freely and frequently. Focus on both their strengths and weaknesses, suggesting strategies on appropriate levels. Remember, never insist on doing what you think is right, even if you sense they have a foggy vision. Subtle recommendations work better than authority.
- Allow them to take ownership of their success and mistakes.
- Identify your child’s organizational style from about types. You will be equipped to guide him to strategies and solutions for the way forward.
- Help them to set three personal and two academic goals that are measurable and specific. It’s a monumental step in their life and success. It’s more vital to time frame, list, track progress and follow up periodically.
- Teach them about strategic or smart learning methods (work smarter than hard).
- Seek like-minded parents for collaborative meetings and positive reinforcements.
- Stop worrying …what if my son is left floundering on his own and can’t develop or maintain his organizational system. Gradually wean off your support and encourage seeking outside support as necessary to develop independent life skills.
- Believe they follow by example – so be a role model.
- Allow them to find success and validation outside of the classroom in other social activities. This boosts their self-confidence and esteem.
- Try to incorporate their interests and creative pursuits within an academic setting wherever possible.
- Provide multiple options or choices of engaging time effectively and, most importantly, guide them to prioritize choices. An adult-supervised outing or school trips away from the comfort of home for a brief period should be allowed whenever possible.
- Empower them to be proactive.
- Encourage self-competition rather than peer competition.
- Try to facilitate a separate effective study space in the house that is calm and free of temptation. A teenager’s mind is susceptible to more distraction – a calm bed, alluring cell phone, tempting social media, noisy household or siblings, anything in the wink of an eye could grab their attention unnoticed for hours.
- Create a routine of work and free time that brings out the best in them.
- Keep off unwanted gadgets during work time and space outwork hours within a maximum of two-hour blocks to get fruitful work done.
- Nutrition, exercise, and sleep are as vital as academics. So practice discipline and guide them to prioritize these habits on a daily basis.
- Show them ways to get rid of stress and help them maintain an emotional balance by opting for easily accessible therapeutic activities like yoga, mindfulness meditation, etc.
Some guiding questions are furnished below that can help you understand your teenager better and will serve as ice breakers to initiate and communicate freely with them. Ask these questions or discuss their views at an appropriate time.
- How would you choose to spend a free day?
- If you could do anything with your life, what would it be and why?
- Do you have friends or family members with whom you can be truly expressive of your thoughts and actions?
- Do you have a to-do list?
- What dream would you pursue if you are sure that you would not fail?
- Do you feel stressed if you are proactive rather than reactive?
- Please continue asking …………..
As a final note, the one last thing for every parent to bear in mind is that “I am not alone and I should not hesitate to seek professional help so as to raise a responsible adult.”
About the author:
Name: Anisa Abdul Gafoor.
Current residence: Doha, Qatar.
Profession: International Educator (Freelance)
Institutions engaged: American School of Doha; Doha College and British Council Qatar.
Disclaimer: The above information is entirely provided by the owner of the article itself and all media files belongs to the owner of the article only. We are just a medium to publish their story on this website. Educators Journey is not to be held liable or responsible for any information.