Find a Counselor – Kids hate counselors. Doesn’t matter their age whether they are a teen to a young adult, they all feel the same way. Why? First and foremost, the fact that the parents have picked them out is part of the reason. They didn’t have a whole lot of say in the matter or get to be a part of the decision making as to “who” they would be spilling their guts to. So…. it is important that they play an integral part in who their next counselor will be. The best route to go is to pick 2 – 3 counselors, meet with them, then ask your child to whom they had a connection with (which makes counseling all the easier for everyone involved), and then make a choice from there. P.S. – the child HAS to pick one of them. They cannot opt for no one.
Get a Mentor/Life Coach – Again, this is something your child can be a participant in who they would like to mentor or be a life coach to them. Allow your child to make some choices, and you the parent make some choices. Compromise is important because, in the end, you want someone that your child will really bond with enough to change their life in a positive way.
Join a Support Group – There are many good support groups for teens and young adults. It is important to get good referrals to support groups because you want your child to grow but not fall into the same traps if there is a support group that does not have good guidelines in place. However, when a child in crisis finds someone who they can relate to, this can often help them to flourish in the right direction because they are all going for the same goals, and improve their lives.
Make a Bucket List – Does your child want to fly a place, going diving with sharks, race a car, connect with someone they look up to, get their first car or first job, see their dreams come true? Teach them how to make a bucket list and help them achieve it. The more you put on the bucket list, the more excitement there is to start doing it and feeling like a big achiever. Anything that is not accomplished can be revisited down the line when they are a little older. Your goal is to get them revved up for their bucket list. Show them the things you always wanted to do and how you actually got to do them.
Plan a Trip – Don’t wait until it is too late to do a family trip. It doesn’t have to involve the whole family. It’s about them and encouraging them to see the country, events, and people. It can be a day trip or a weekend trip or longer. Let them plan the trip and then compromise on what is doable and what is not, make some changes, set a date, how to save money and the things to do during the trip. If you’re a mom and not into fishing and there isn’t a dad around, do it! If you are a dad and your daughter wants to visit all of the makeup stores, do it! The idea is to support them and their goals and to just have fun together.
Volunteer – It is very important that teens and young adults step out of the selfish roles that they have surrounded themselves in and step out of the box and volunteer their time to very worthy causes. By doing so, they learn about others, the importance of giving in your community, how to help others from small things to big things, and learn something about themselves in the process. This can be a compromise by making a list of volunteer places such as the shelter, a farm, a soup kitchen (for the homeless), Samaritan’s Purse, and so many great organizations in which help is so needed.
Learn Life Skills – Every teen and young adult need to learn life skills. You can easily google life skills to learn and there will be a plethora of them to do. For example, for a girl, how to check the oil on a car or change a tire. For a boy, how to iron a shirt, cook dinner, etc.. For both, how to open a bank account, how to survive in the wilderness, and so much more. https://www.weareteachers.com/life-skills-for-teens/ The best gift we can give to our teens or young adults is how to be responsible and accountable as well as how to survive on their own.
Get a Job/Save for a Car – Getting your first job is exciting and scary at the same time. There is a lot of pressure to get through an interview. This is where a mentor/life coach would come in and teach them. This is also where life skills have their play by learning how to open a bank account for the money they will be making. Having a job also builds self-esteem, responsibility, and accountability to other peers and older adults. Saving for a car is also important for being independent. It is all a part of growing up. To get them into the game, match them per dollar or bonus money for what they “save” towards their car. Create a savings account just for them so you can show them the bonus money you are putting in to support them in their endeavor. It is all about encouragement and guiding them in their new adventures.
NOTE: When a child is in crisis, they will not be up to doing many of these. The goal is to get them to do one or two. As they move forward in gaining ground in growing and doing better, then it is time to add another goal. Make sure that you start out with short goals first so that they don’t fail. Let them know that some goals will take longer than others but that you promise, good rewards will come when they follow through with their goal, no matter the outcome.