Being a teenager can be difficult, there’s no denying it.
You are awkward and confused at the best of times. Your face, hair and body change so fast that you have absolutely no idea what to do with yourself.
You feel like a grown up in many ways, but a child in so many others.
Most teens desperately want to be older, and feel very frustrated at all the things they are not allowed to do. It can feel like life doesn’t really start until you turn 18.
Then when you do, you suddenly realise how much time you wasted. Every extra freedom as an adult is balanced with 10 new responsibilities, and you will never have as much free time as you did as a 16-year-old.
While you may not be able to get your teen years back, you can help your teenager make the most of theirs and discover where their interests lie.
This is easier said than done with a teenager. Their personality is basically like a rollercoaster, twisting and turning at breakneck speed. But there will be things they always seem to go back to, and you can turn their interests in productive directions.
If they are big into computers and games, encourage them to learn how to program and design. It’s an incredibly useful skill to have, and can be really creative and fun. There are lots of online tutorials or classes for teens such as Coder Dojo
– a free coding club for young people with groups across the country.
If your teen takes to it they might be able to sell their design services to local businesses, which would not only get them a bit of extra pocket money but make them feel more like an adult.
The internet can be a great tool for allowing teens to test and apply their interests.
If your teen likes reading and writing, encourage them to start a blog. If they love films, they could make short videos for YouTube. If they are great artists, they could showcase their work online or learn graphic design.
Having a portfolio and experience putting work together, even on a small scale, will coost their pride and confidence in their own talents.
You could also encourage them to apply for work experience. Work experience will not only help them when it comes time to apply for college and part time jobs, but give them a taste of the real world.
Publishing houses, local papers, short film productions and other local businesses are often glad to have some extra help. Even if they hate it, it will give them a clearer picture of what they want from life, and they will appreciate being a teenager all the more.