When you think of the most successful person that you know, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is their strong work ethic. Unfortunately, when it comes to today’s teens, that is one of the last things that usually comes to mind. “Teens are lazy.” “Teens are entitled.” “Teens don’t know how to work for things anymore.” Sound familiar? But as parents, we don’t want these stereotypes to be true of our teens.
So, what do we do? We must give our children the tools they need to become successful individuals, but it can be a challenging. Trying to help teens develop a strong work ethic isn’t an easy thing to teach. Here are a few ways that you can help encourage a strong work ethic in your teens, and set them up for a bright future.
Model a Strong Work Ethic
Leading by example may sound a little simplistic, but it truly is one of the best ways to encourage a strong work ethic in teens. Make sure that they understand that everything you have and everything that you provide for them is a product of the work that you do.
Show them how you set goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Explain your process of prioritising work and fun. As they see your hard work and dedication, they’ll be more likely to emulate those traits.
Make Personal Responsibility a Priority
Teenagers often struggle with taking initiative. Keeping them motivated to take personal responsibility for their chores, school work, and activities can be a struggle. Lay down the ground rules that these things are their own to manage and you will not make it your business to ensure these things are done.
Allow them to experience the consequences of missed homework, being sidelined for forgetting sports equipment, or not receiving their allowance for not completing chores. As their sense of personal responsibility to take care of things that matter to them grows, so will their work ethic.
Teach Them How to Balance Commitments
Many teens balk at the idea of dedicating themselves to a task for fear it will prevent them from having fun in their life. Help them to coordinate their schedules and teach them how to prioritise so that there is room for the things they must accomplish along with things that they enjoy.
Giving them a healthy understanding of work-life balance will help them grasp the important concept that they need to take care of their personal needs in order to maintain a strong work ethic.
Give Them Space to Fail
As parents, our initial instinct is to protect our children from failure and disappointment. By allowing them to experience failure, they will learn valuable lessons about picking themselves up and handling their mistakes while will contribute to their overall work ethic.
After all, if someone else will just fix your problems for you, why put in the effort in the first place?
Allow Them to Experience the Results of Hard Work
Be generous with praise and acknowledge effort in everything your teen does, whether it is in school, at a job, or in an extracurricular activity. When appropriate, offer rewards for a job well done or bonuses when they go above and beyond.
Help them to recognise the feelings of achievement that go along with completing a tough project or reaching a goal that they have set for themselves. Though hard work isn’t always acknowledged in the “real world”, learning to appreciate the internal results of their accomplishments will go a long way.
A strong work ethic is something that takes time to develop and the right guidance to encourage. By helping your teen to focus on the long term benefits of working hard and the rewards of putting forth their best effort, you’ll give them the tools they need to thrive as adults.
Not only will you be proud of them, they’ll be proud of themselves. by PARENTINGTEENSANDTWEENS