Raising Teens to Thrive in the Real World
Category: Parenting
Tags: Parenting Teens Successful Teens

This fall, our fifth (and last) child will be launched from our home and off to university, and my husband and I will settle down to fully embrace this new season of the “empty nest.”  Am I worried?  Not at all—not for her, not for us. After all, when you parent with purpose, you can let go with confidence. 

Sure, we’ve all read the headlines about how scores of today’s young adults are floundering in the “real world.” Sadly, their “book smarts” aren’t always translating into “life smarts.” Admittedly, the list of most common problems is enough to weaken the confidence of even the most competent parent: Entitlement mentality. Failure to launch. Low college graduation rates. Poor work ethic and struggles in the workplace. Succumbing to negative values and influences with their newfound freedom. Abandoning their faith. So, it stands to reason that young adults who don’t fall prey to these issues and attitudes will stand out like candles in the darkness—and they do.

How can we go about raising young adults who distinguish themselves in this way—people of admirable character who live with purpose, honor, and impact? The key is to equip them not only with strong academics, keen critical thinking skills, and an authentic faith—but also with a solid personal leadership foundation that includes:

  • Healthy life perspective
  • Character
  • Communication and relational skills
  • Personal productivity (e.g., decision-making, time management, goal setting)
  • Resilience and overcoming adversity
  • Thriving spiritual life
  • College and career readiness
  • Preparation for (eventual) marriage and family
  • Financial literacy

It’s no easy task to cover all these bases, along with everything else required to successfully prepare children to thrive in adulthood. That’s what makes What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead such a valuable resource for homeschooling parents! It’s a comprehensive road map to a successful life, delivered conversationally to teens, with an engaging curricular guide to put feet to the principles of a successful life.

What I Wish I Knew at 18, available as a stand alone book and as a leadership and life skills curriculum, offers:

  • comprehensive leadership and life skills training for adult living based on the practices of honorable and successful leaders
  • practical wisdom and decision-making strategies for college, career, family, and finances
  • a conversational tone to promote engaging parent/teen conversations
  • the benefits of a third party voice (often, kids will take advice better from someone other than Mom and Dad!)
  • resources that equip, encourage, and empower parents in raising self confident teens prepared to soar

It’s amazing how quickly the launch comes. They don’t stay babies for long and before we know it, they’re teenagers. Then off they go while we ponder how much of our training sunk in! Will we let them go with confidence or hold on for dear life?

            The years leading up to the launch constitute a season of parenting some might call the “best of times and the worst of times.” It’s good to know your goals and objectives in advance—and how you’re going to accomplish them. You need to objectively know your teen—and yourself. You’ll want to have a strong relationship and be able to communicate effectively. And you’ll want to set up for a successful transition for all of you. The companion book to What I Wish I Knew at 18—Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real Worldcan help you answer these and other weighty parenting concerns.

Some families go through both books at the same time—parents reading Parenting for the Launch, teens reading What I Wish I Knew at 18—meeting weekly to discuss what they are reading. Others have successfully incorporated What I Wish I Knew at 18 into their homeschooling curriculum as a leadership and life skills course (51 lessons, available in standard and Christian versions).

Regardless of how quickly you arrived at this point, or how unprepared you feel, you have arrived. You are parenting a teen—or better said, a future adult. How strategically and purposefully you approach this next season of parenting will have a huge impact on your teen’s success in the “real world”—and the quality of your relationship for years to come.

Kids today need more than head knowledge. They need a solid, holistic leadership foundation that enables them to make key decisions in these crucial years and beyond. These books will help build the foundation your teen needs to flourish in all aspects of life. They can help bring clarity to your parenting goals and offer innovative strategies to achieve them.

My hope is that these resources inspire and equip your family for the greatest of successes—and a relationship with your adult child that will only grow stronger and more rewarding as the years go by.


Author bio: Arlyn Lawrence is the mother of five grown children and a veteran of 14 years of homeschooling. She is the co-author with Dennis Trittin of Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World, and What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead. Dennis and Arlyn speak to and provide resources for parents, teens, educators, and mentors about building “life literacy” in teens, empowering them to live strategically and successfully, with integrity and impact.

 

 

 

 

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