Helping Teens Live Up to Their Full Potential

Teenagers often fail to realize how talented and skilled they are. Because of this, they may not live up to their full potential. Concerned parents can assist in a number of ways to help their teens live an optimal life and have a bright and promising future. The first goal is to help the teenager believe in himself and his abilities.

Be an Example

If a parent is not living up to his own potential, it is difficult to provide teens with a framework for success. Show by your actions what it takes to achieve goals and expectations. Techniques such as going the extra mile, continuous learning, common courtesy and business etiquette, and networking will all assist in showing your teen what it takes to be successful and fulfilled.

Instill Confidence

Have discussions with your teen as to what his strengths are and how using them will help him achieve his potential. Steering him toward activities and projects where he can best use his talents will help him shine and instill belief in himself. Remind him how capable and intelligent he is and point out ways and means to grow and develop in his chosen area of interests. Let him know that the occasional failure or disappointment is all part of the process and will just make him that much more capable and strong.

Provide Resources

Help your teen choose classes and activities that will best enable him to achieve his goals. Tutoring or extra coaching may also be needed if there are gaps in his education. Books, magazines and videos may also provide more information if needed. Add motivational CDs to his music collection and play them often while driving with your teen. Introduce him to well-known success experts such as Sean Covey, author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens." His first habit listed is for teens to be proactive -- he advises teens to "take responsibility for your own life." He is a classic example of a son who followed in the footsteps of his famous father, Stephen R. Covey, author of several well-known motivational works 13.

Give Them Space

Allowing your teen room to grow and become independent is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children. Stepping back and giving them opportunities to experiment and grow will help them mature into independent and resilient adults. Knowing when to step in and when to hold back can make the difference between a dependent, clingy child and a confident and mature teen.