We know that young adults are pushing off adulthood. But our kids are even lacking a life purpose as teenagers. If you’re wondering how to help, there are some things you can do.
David Kozlowski shares how we can help our teens find their purpose in life.
How to Help Your Teen Find Their Life Purpose
Despite growing up in a world of opportunities, many teens lack purpose. And because we know more young people are struggling to launch into adulthood than ever before, we’re wondering: what are we missing? Below are some reasons why teens these days seem to lack direction – and what parents can do to help them shape their purpose.
WHY OUR TEENS LACK PURPOSE:
1. They have too many options, which can be paralyzing when trying to make a decision
2. They have a desire to make an impact, but aren’t sure how to do that in their daily lives
3. They desire attention and success from social media
4. They are facing an increase in distractions (social media, YouTube, video games), which takes their focus away from the question “What do I want to do with my life?”
So, how can parents help shape their purpose?
GIVE THEM PURPOSEFUL STRUGGLE
The walls of life are padded for most teens right now, thanks to their parents support and help. Give them a couple of choices to make each and every day – big decisions and small. Then allow them to choose for themselves the route they want to take. Many parents try to push their teens to make the choice they believe would help them get ready for life – but today’s teens have been given so much. They know the “cheat codes” to avoiding hard work and daily struggles. The teens of today actually need more purposeful struggle – that means they need to be free to make their own choices even if it “messes up the path” that may lead to success.
LET THEM OWN THEIR FAILURES
Gaining self-confidence and successful independent living skills comes when teens figure out how to manage their own struggles. Teens learn more about how to find purpose in life from their own small failures than they do from living off the wins and privileges of their parents.
DON’T STOP INFLUENCING
It’s better for teens to struggle when you have influence over them. That influence comes from strong bonds and connections that can be forged during everyday conversation. Listen. Let them talk. Offer empathy, but not always answers. A strong connection will lead them to turn to you in moments when your influence can matter the very most.
David obtained a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from National University in San Diego. Since 1999 David has worked as a counselor, behavioral specialist mental health worker and therapist in group homes, crisis treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, drug addiction facilities and schools for severely emotionally disturbed kids and teens. David has his own private practice, is the host of “The Just Koz Show” and “Light the Fight” podcasts, and is the Executive Director of the non-profit “Quit Trip’n.”
Find more advice from David at www.lightthefight.com.