Teens - their future & sports and interests
* FUTURE ASPIRATIONS
Practically all schools have some sort of career counsellors or careers days available to the older teens. Ensure your teen takes advantage of these opportunities. If your teens school doesn't offer such opportunities then get in touch with the head and ask why not.
Many employers/institutions offer career days for youngsters to visit. Your local fire station, local newspaper, or hospital are good candidates. Talk to your teen about what they might be interested in and then together explore what local opportunities there are. Wherever they can they should try and get a day's voluntary work experience.
Help your teen to draft a great curriculum vitae (CV). This should not only include their exam grades from school, but every odd job they've done (e.g. babysitting) and any activity they've tried. Also they can add in their personal strengths. Again there school maybe happy to help with this.
It's important to encourage your teen's aspirations however you must keep their feet on the ground, too. You only need to look at shows like the X factor and Pop Idol to see there are many deluded young people who think anyone can become a pop star. If your child wants to become, e.g., a pop-star they should join the school choir and look to taking proper singing lessons. You should know fairly soon whether or not they have any sort of voice.
Unfortunately our youth are growing up in a society that emphasises such occupations like acting and television presenting. Try to keep their feet on the ground by encouraging them to get some real skills.
There's nothing wrong with them pursuing their dreams but they should have a second fiddle to their bow.
* SPORTS, CREATIVITY & HOBBIES
As mentioned, during adolescence children often give up activities thinking they’re stupid or childish. It's important that you encourage any activity as mentioned in my article on Teens Outside the Home, research shows that teens involved in interests and hobbies are less likely to have under-age sex or misuse drugs and alcohol. And in terms of their general well-being and future, continuing with an activity outside of school will benefit them in many ways.
If your teen is politically-sensitive to peer pressure they may agreed to get involved in activity but won’t want their friends to know. It's important you respect and accept such feelings.
Getting involved in sports, hobbies or creative activities outside the home teaches your teen self-reliance and resilience as well as giving enjoyment. However if as a starting point your child agrees to do some activity at home then this is important to encourage too.
Accept they may start an activity and then what to give it up. If gentle encouragement doesn't change their mind it's absolutely fine to suggest they try something else.
Activities and sports are essentially their for your teen to enjoy obviously, but also to find out more about themselves, what they like, what they're good at, and perhaps what they should leave behind. All of these are part of life's lessons.
Some useful contacts:
After School Activities and Groups – www.local.co.uk and search ‘After School’
Theatre Arts – for up to and including 16 year olds - www.stagecoach .co.uk
The Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme - www.theaward.org
A useful general contact is www.parentlineplus.co.uk