If we don’t expose young people to things that make them feel great, they will seek out things that make them feel “good”.

Once they become teenagers, you have to assume that your children are at least sometimes absolutely miserable.

We have all been there, and we know that it is entirely possible to go for a long time being miserable.  It is a tough time.  You couldn’t pay me to be a teenager again.

Armed with this knowledge, we should always ensure our kids are participating in things that make them feel great:

  • sports, hobbies or clubs they truly enjoy (make sure they actually still want to be in dance/football/girl guides/hockey/book club and are not being forced against their will)
  • spending regular, quality time with positive adult role models
  • honest appreciation, comfort, caring and support from parents

The best way to find out what makes your kid feel great/confident/appreciated/talented/enthusiastic/empowered is to ask them.

If they can’t think of anything, tell them you will work on finding out together!

The trouble is, when young people don’t feel great about themselves, “feeling good” seems an attractive second option.

Things that “feel good” are temporary, often involving physical ‘rewards’ and often resulting in the young person feeling worse than ever after it is over: using drugs or alcohol, being promiscuous, or other risky behaviour that may give a temporary rush (breaking the law, harming others, bullying, dangerous driving or other daredevil stunts, etc).

They don’t always see the risks – they just want the rewards.

Save yourself some future heartache.

Step one: learn what things make YOU feel great.

Step two: expose yourself to those things as often as possible.  Remember….be the kind of adult you want your child to become.

Step three: help your teen feel great about himself/herself and offer support for those days when they don’t.

Step four: repeat for as long as necessary.