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Home / Parenteen

Confessions: My children find my advice outdated

 I’m getting quite upset by it all (Shutterstock)

Hi Chris,

I have teenage children, and I’m beginning to realise that they already think that they know everything there is to know about life!

Worse still, they think my knowledge and experience, and my husbands, is obsolete and irrelevant to their future.

So we’re having some terrible rows with them, and I’m getting quite upset by it all. But are they right that our advice is out of date and useless? Or should we go on trying to explain to them how we see things?

Over Confident Teens

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Hi Over Confident Teens!

Your teens are utterly wrong. The things you’ve learned are true forever. And you should at least try to pass them on, though it’ll be an uphill struggle!

So, tell your teens that no-one suddenly wakes up mature one day. Maturity comes from learning the skills that make you successful. It takes years, and some people never get there. Until then, you’re just coping.

Tell them that success comes through hard work, and isn’t guaranteed. That life’s never fair. Schools try to be fair, and teachers care. But people at work are just too busy. There’s no safety net to catch you when you fall down. And plenty of people to take your place.

Teach them that problems are inevitable, and it’s how you cope with them that matters. That no-one can ‘make’ you succeed. Succeeding is something you do on your own.

Some of the life skills young people need are very basic, but many still never learn them. Like keeping time. Walking tall. Making good, confident eye-contact.

Explain how debt’s habit-forming, while savings give you options. That everyone can make good money if they develop the right skills and attitudes. But also that money isn’t everything. Many wealthy people are deeply unhappy.

Tell them how they should learn to control their emotions. And how important it is to network. Because the best jobs, the best dates and the best ideas almost always come from outside your usual circle.

Tell them to learn how to do relationships gracefully and kindly. That sex and drinking yourself stupid teaches you nothing about long term relationship skills. That STDs really are a big deal, and that the college party scene’s a complete waste of time.

Above all, help them understand that their 20s won’t just be about hanging out and hooking up. Most of life’s defining moments take place in our 20s.

The first years of their career will have a huge impact on their ultimately earnings, most people meet their spouse before they’re 30, and that by then their personality will have settled into a pattern that lasts all their lives. So make sure it’s a good one!

 

All the best,

Chris

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