The fact of the matter is that teens today have genius & luminous minds backed up by a fierce & robust spirit. Expectations from them are prominent because they possess the resolve to achieve the impossible. We want them to feel empowered, we want them to ace at everything they lay their hands on but we’re hesitant to accord them the freedom to pave their own path of greatness and empowerment. Teens are a force of nature and empowering teens becomes smooth when it isn’t recognised as a job to be executed or a responsibility to be taken care of by the parent/guardian but as the natural course of action that’s bound to pan out when they’re trusted with the equitable space and freedom to reflect and undertake.
Teenagers, more often than not, are perceived as a bunch of lazy kids, couch potatoes who demand to be persistently shoved to work harder, aim higher and achieve better. We expect them to look up to us when we’re constantly looking down on them. Before anything, that perception needs to be defenestrated. Before empowering teens, we desperately need a turnaround in our discernment of teenagers. We need to regard them exactly as they are – scintillating geniuses with conspicuous will.
The other paramount thing for us to do is ‘understand’. We need to comprehend what motivates teens and why. Contrary to propelling them to carry out chores that seem consequential to us, we should try to acknowledge what ‘productive’ means to them, what projects offer value to them. Most of the time, teens don’t lack motivation at all, they just fail to see the relevance of the tasks apportioned to them. They don’t relate to those jobs and hence hold them futile and nugatory.
There are numerous ways of empowering teens and motivating teens.
1. Elucidate the magnitude of the work
Teens want to feel substantial, esteemed and prolific.They’re inclined towards working hard as long as they are cognizant of the consequences. Empowering teens constitutes explaining to them the genuine gravity of jobs that may seem like a load of tosh because they don’t have an expeditious impact. Wearisome yet fruitful jobs like eating healthy, waking up early, exercising daily, focussing on studies, and being kind to everyone, everything should be backed up by a sound explanation of what the reverberations would be. How paying heed to these jobs would make them vigorous, ingenious, competent, perspicacious, and acquiescent individuals.
2. Listen & Take Notice
The emphasis of empowering teens should be on paying actual attention to their notions and school of thought rather than imposing and inflicting. Let them have a say and explore their abilities in their own way before bombarding them with questions and criticism. Let’s try to fathom the rationale. It’s salient for teens to feel heard and respected to be able to exercise good judgement. They need guidance, not dominance. Listen to them, give them the room to plan and strategize as they deem fit. Our job should be to counsel, not command.
Listen to them without judgement. They’ve come to you from a place of vulnerability and openness. Don’t catastrophize or even over empathise. They don’t need downright reprimanding or coddling. There needs to be the perfect balance of understanding and recommending.
3. Let failure inspire them
Don’t be scared for them. Never teach them to be nervous to fail. Failure is the most natural thing. Empowering teens comes from a place of freedom to make mistakes. We can’t run away from failures and the irony is we shouldn’t. Failure is the best teacher, mistakes are the best lessons. Assuming that they would be bad at something and so depriving them of the opportunity to have a go at it is the most atrocious thing we can do for them. A lot of effort goes behind doing the simplest tasks. They could make errors in those also, we need to respect them enough to give them the liberty to do it wrong. Don’t steal from them the opportunity to fail, yes failure is an opportunity, the humility and the refinement that defeat brings, success cannot. The extremely momentous lessons that multiple failures teach, success cannot. Also, success after learning from previous failures is much more memorable. That’s the success that begets the most exuberance.
4. Help them to Remember
A magnificent garden that a teenage mind is, it’s always blooming with ideas and thoughts. Teens tend to let things slip because of their preoccupied minds. Empowering teens that are exceptional ponderers, gorgeously anomalous and forever curious entails reminding them of the critical things that they sometimes forget. They need kind reminders and prompts of the plans they made and the steps that are yet to be achieved in those projects. When their focus is befuddled, subtle reminders of their objectives can help them gain momentum. Kind reminders are very different from constant nagging. Empowering teens is about understanding the difference and focussing on the former rather than the latter. We need to work with teens to develop methods of remembering that don’t necessitate our collusion. Use of visual aids such as charts, colour-coded timetables, can help with that. Empower teens by inspiring them to create daily routines in their weeks that help them establish patterns. Leave little hints around the house about a task that is due to be concluded. Get them to use an App or program on their computer, or phone as part of the reminding process.
5. Set attainable goals
Complex and intricate tasks can be very overwhelming. Try to simplify and clarify the tasks by ushering them through the process and most importantly, the start. Starting is the most strenuous part. They tend to procrastinate when they see the magnitude of what’s pending, they need to be reminded to take one step at a time. Empowering teens should be advanced with planning the approach and the process with them. Attaining and successfully carrying through goals build their self-confidence and motivate them to work more & achieve more.
6. Mix things up a little
Now this is not just for teenagers but for individuals in general. Fun things and tasks make the execution exciting and we eagerly anticipate working on them. Fun is a great motivator. Adding little fun and enjoyable elements to notable chores can motivate and empower teens to actually do them voluntarily. Try to understand their definition of fun and include bits of that in the jobs at hand. Empowering teens can become thrilling with just a touch of fun in it.
The Emissary can be the source of entertainment and knowledge in teen empowerment or at least a means to decipher what interests them. The Emissary is a global mass media network exclusively operated by perspicacious teenagers. Because it’s by teenagers and for teenagers, they relate and associate more. They can discover anything that appeals to them and they can collaborate with other teens with kindred interests to nurture, assimilate and enhance in that particular area.
A lot of activity and energy goes behind empowering teens and motivating them to achieve substantial milestones. We need to acknowledge the methods and learn to work on them to help teens achieve eminence and substantial milestones. A mind free from all kinds of shackles can achieve unparalleled greatness. Let’s give them the freedom and the space to be absolutely awesome and witness them achieve great milestones. The Emissary can be an enormous help in attaining these milestones because it ensures and extends a safe space for the teens to hold discussions, call out issues and even probable solutions, all of which plays a great role in empowering teens.