Raising children is often one of the most rewarding yet challenging jobs one has in life. Parents want happy children that grow into responsible, trustworthy and successful (in the broadest sense of the term) adults. There are, however, many distractions and roadblocks that make the journey to adulthood a challenging one. Parents here in Colorado and elsewhere can work to help their children overcome these obstacles and even facilitate bringing in other adults (counselors, coaches, teachers, employers, etc.) to help mold the child. After all, it truly does take a village.
5 tips for keeping them on the right path
Employing these strategies can often have a positive impact:
- Praise the process: There will be plenty of times when they fall short or make mistakes, but parents can cite hard work, courage, determination and a growth mindset. Inspiring a growth mindset can help them overcome setbacks or results that fall short of their goals.
- Provide a safe space: This is easier said than done, but a stable environment often enables children to thrive. Whatever happens outside the home, a durable family unit provides a foundation for them to stand upon. It includes creating a supportive home free of abuse, violence and abandonment issues. Parents must also make promises they can keep rather than create unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment.
- Mentoring: Youth can build confidence by connecting to adults who can foster their interests. It can be life skills, sports, arts, academics, or other interests. These relationships have a positive impact, often beyond the premise of the mentorship.
- Positive conflict resolution: Parents can set an example of demonstrating conflict resolution using compromise and managing anger. They can also find professional help for themselves or the teen through various organizations or mental health professionals.
- Support positive self-expression: While parents may need to keep an open mind about “positive,” safe activities that encourage self-expression can build confidence, valuable skills and leadership.
Advocacy is key
None of these strategies mean accepting bad behavior as okay, but admitting mistakes and moving on are part of life. Parents can set the tone by making children accountable for their actions and then advocate so they can learn from their mistakes. At-risk kids also tend to be singled out as guilty before all the facts come to light, so parents need to be patient and advocate for their children, even when it involves the court system.