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Raising a teenager is not easy, trust me, I'm raising my 2nd teen son and just sent my oldest son on his own back in August! Even if you have an absolute angel of a child, they will have their moments where they are going to be difficult. The absolute best thing to do is ensure you never lose contact with your child. Keep communicating with them, and make sure you discuss with your teen topics that are important. It's something that I still do with my oldest. He texts me at least once a week and gives me updates while he's in Job Corps. Just the other day, he let me know he's 100% completed on his trade and thinking of moving onto a second trade.
Speaking of trades. It's something we've always discussed with both of our sons. Either you go and do the college thing, or you will pick a trade and excel at that. Which leads me into my first topic:
3 Topics to Discuss With Your Teen When it Comes To Their Future
The Career They Will Choose
You have to talk to them about their career and if they’ve got any ideas as to what they want to do. It might seem early, but teenagers need to have a vague idea of what they want to do so they can pick the right subjects to study in school and college. Let them know about different careers that offer room for growth, like nursing. As a nurse, you can go on to study midwifery DNP programs to progress your career. Dentists are the same; you can be a dentist, then explore more degrees to specialize as an orthodontist or pediatric dentist. Just give them suggestions and let them know that there are careers out there where they can continue to study and grow as a person, while also enjoying an excellent salary. Find out what they enjoy doing, and you can think about careers that suit this. Just make them aware that it’s something they need to be thinking about, even at a relatively young age!
Also remember, some teens aren't cut out for the college life. Talk to them about the trades. Construction, welding, culinary, cosmetology, and more. There are awesome vocational schools that teens can learn at trade at, while getting their high school diploma. My oldest started off his trade learning at Lorain County Joint Vocational School here in Ohio.
About the Birds & The Bees
Yes, it can be an awkward subject as nobody really wants to discuss this with their parents! But, it’s beneficial in the long run if you have a talk about the birds and the bees. At the very least, teach your children about consent and boundaries during sex or sexual interactions. This is so important, particularly if you have a teenage son who is brought up in a world where men can sometimes be brainwashed by the culture to act like disrespectful pigs. Teach your daughter about telltale signs that you’re maybe being taken advantage of and what to do if they ever feel uncomfortable and want to say no. I’ve written a whole article on talking about sex with your kids, so please give that a read as it’ll help you figure out how to approach this subject with less awkwardness!
Their Financial Future
I can’t tell you how many people grow up without understanding the value of money. They get deep into their twenties before they start saving, which means they’ve wasted a decade of earning money. You need to talk to your teen about money and the best things to do with it. Teach them how to invest, how to save, what to save for, and why it’ll benefit them in the future. This prevents them from going out and just spending all the money they get right away. After all, their teenage years will probably be where most kids get their first part-time jobs.
When you talk money, it's not always just about their savings. It's also about the bills. Make sure you talk to them about utilities, rent, and of course, car payments. You can talk to them about the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a used car over a new car. You can also talk about what happens if that car ends up needing more work done on it, then it's worth. Selling the car to a junkyard can be an option, instead of letting it sit for years.
Realistically, no teenager will enjoy these talks as they’ll feel like they’re being lectured. Plus, it’s rare for a teenager to thank you for the advice! So, don’t take this personally. But, they will 100% take your advice on-board, and it’ll stick in the back of their minds forever. It might be slightly awkward, but these chats are well worth it.