10 Things Teens Should Know Before High School

10 things teens should know before high school 

1) Everyone is nervous going to high school- everyone!  Don’t think you are the only one freaking out, because you aren’t.  Some people are just better at hiding it.  You are not alone, so remember that.

2) Take a chance early on… that way taking additional risks later won’t seem so big. It’s kind of like jumping into a cold pool. It’s a bit scary, but once it’s over, you like it and wonder why you were so nervous in the first place.  You will comfortably take more chances after that.

3) The longer you wait to do something…the harder it is to do. Procrastination is not your friend. It will hold you back from amazing opportunities, experiences, conversations, people, etc.  Don’t let it!

4) Talk to your parents.. don’t drift away.  Some teens get distant from their parents in HS.  However, trust me, this is the time that you really need them.  Find time to talk with them every day, even if only for a few minutes.

5) Get involved in HS- it goes by fast. It’s easier to stay involved in high school activities if you get involved freshman year. So, join a sport, student council, theatre or the newspaper right away.  You will thank me.

6) Pick friends that have your back. It’s ok to walk away from unhealthy people you knew in middle school. Chances are your high school class will be pretty big compared to your 8th grade class. Meet everyone and make new friends based on shared interests, likes and values.

7)  Every day is a new opportunity to re-invent yourself. This is a perfect time. Why? Because everyone else is doing the same thing!  Don’t let others define you. Find new interests, change your attitude and explore new things.

8) Clothes, electronics, make-up and music don’t make you cool. Confidence trumps all those things.  Drop the labels, products and latest apps. These things don’t make you interesting or likable. Show people who you are, have an opinion and make decisions for yourself.  People will respect you and your confidence.

9) Stay away from drama- don’t get involved.  High school drama is the worst and it’s everywhere. Don’t gossip- it will come back to bite you.  Don’t tweet, post, say or share inappropriate things. You will be labeled very quickly as a mean girl/a gossip and this label can be hard to shake.

10) Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.  If you stand up for yourself, say no, or walk away from the first bad situation freshman year, people will take notice. That way peer pressure will not follow you for the next 3 years. Instead, you will attract like minded friends.

When, if Ever, is it OK to Let Your Teen Quit?

Stick it out!  This question is really about the lessons we learn from failure and how to build confidence in teens. One of my favorite quotes ties in with this question.

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” — Vince Lombardi.

As a parent, you have to help her get back up. Why? It builds self-perseverance.

So what’s self-perseverance?

Confidence,  self-esteem and approval are all tied very closely. Combined, I call this the triangle of self-perseverance.  They are interwoven and when out of balance, we can’t be the best version of ourselves. Like a science project that successfully shows cause-and-effect when elements are evenly poured, so too happens with the proper mixture of confidence, self-esteem and approval. Keeping the triangle of self-perseverance in balance is not easy.

Confidence is that undefinable ability or feeling we have that tells us that we can do it.  That we are smart enough or strong enough to take something on, win or lose.  It provides us with a sense of self where we are comfortable to try something and not fear failure, but look upon it as a growth opportunity. This builds resilience in all of us which in turn squashes fear and cultivates self-esteem.

See more at yourteenmag.com.

Why the Father-Daughter Relationship is Critical for Self-Esteem

A healthy father-daughter relationship is key for developing positive self-esteem. For all little girls, dad is the first male figure in her life….numero uno. He and mom are everything; they become the child’s world. If that relationship between father and daughter is strained at an early age it can make for a lifetime of internal challenges and struggles with the opposite sex. This powerful relationship between father and daughter begins around age 2 and lasts a lifetime, but the critical (formative years) are ages 2 through 4.  The basic questions that go along with development at this age are: Is it ok to be me?  Am I free to explore, to experiment with my new environment and enjoy the things I gravitate toward?

If mom and dad allow the child to be self-sufficient, to explore, and be repetitive in her actions, then she will grow with a sense of autonomy.  She will also learn to understand that parents are there as a united force of safety and security.  If dad demands too much of the child at this age, ignores her new skills and doesn’t allow them to be exercised repetitively, then mastering her environment cannot occur and she can develop self-doubt. This self-doubt can seep into how she sees herself and limits her actions moving forward as she grows older.  Statements like “I can’t try out for the school play. I can’t run fast. I can’t enter the spelling B” may be heard in the home. This leads to second guessing her actions and can slowly turn into low self-esteem. Parents can mislabel her as “just shy” or “cautious” when she is neither.  She is looking for signs of approval or disapproval from her parents instead of exploring new things freely. There is no curiosity in the child, no experimentation…. just rules she has learned. This can be exhausting.

If not dealt with, these issues will consistently resurface well into adulthood. We will continually play out our role from childhood if we don’t see and correct the negative patterns.  Dads encourage your daughters at a young age to try new things, cheer them on, allow them to make mistakes. Offer advice when asked, look her in the eyes when talking to her, be patient when teaching new things and lend a supportive shoulder for her to cry on.  Find something that just the two of you can do together.  Don’t make fun of the father-daughter dance…GO!  Find something that is special and meaningful like working on a project together for a few hours every Sunday. Try cooking dinner together one day a week, hiking, taking a drive to the beach, or playing a game of basketball after dinner.  The options are endless. It’s never too late to start this supportive pattern and I guarantee your daughter will look forward to it. Remember to let her be part of the suggestion and selection process too!

Women who grew up with positive relationships with their fathers (and mothers) feel confident, choose appropriate partners, respond to situations in emotionally healthy ways and can have meaningful relationships with both men and women.  We are truly a product of our environment. Dads, the best gift you can give your daughters is the gift of respect.  Showing her and her mother respect consistently in your actions and with your words is incredibly powerful and sets the standard for how she feels she should be treated by other men. You have the power to put a healthy pattern in motion that lasts a lifetime. The old saying “girls marry their fathers” is true. Regardless if the relationship was positive or negative, we are human and gravitate towards what’s comfortable and familiar to us. There’s no bigger job and title than dad, and none more rewarding.