Educating teenagers through travels and summer schools
Many parents complain that dealing with teenagers is quite a challenge. While this is true, it is also true that those teenagers were once the little babies they cuddled, so if something went wrong, that's because discipline started with a certain delay when it should have been replaced by dialogue. Using discipline with teenagers isn't one of the best techniques. This works with the younger ones who can still find motivation in receiving their favourite sweet, being taken to the zoo, or allowed to watch a certain cartoon.
With teenagers, dialogue should work. Now let's redefine dialogue from the teenagers' perspective:
|If you start yelling or complaining that he/she didn't do is not called a dialogue. That's a complete failure|
|Criticising them in front of your friends won't make him feel ashamed or embarrassed – rather angry at you for putting them in such a position. So failure again. Praise them, even if you have to lie. They won't tell, but your lie will sure make them feel embarrassed.|
|Taking the iPad away from them or banning the use of Facebook are not smart moves either; they might work for a while, but they may also make the teenager ten times angrier. On top, the teenager will fail to understand the real problem.|
|Go to a movie or rent a movie that has a clear educational purpose; watch it together.|
|If you want your rebellious teenager to listen to you, you need to open yourself to him/her. Making him/her aware of your own problems or the family's problems might work.|
|Pretend that you are having a backache and need help from your teenagers. Ask them to help you in the kitchen or join you when going shopping – this way you'll get a chance of spending some time together and you can talk.|
If dialogue fails and chores fail, then you might want to do something more radical, like sending your teenager either on a holiday or on a study holiday, a summer school. You may not want to do this, as it rather sounds like a reward, but sometimes, teenagers need to see that you trust them.
There are quite many summer programmes that combine “academic” teaching with “life” teaching. It's not just about improving certain subject knowledge; it's about belonging to a group or community where rules are respected. He may not wash up his plate at home, but he will in such a community. On top, they will meet other teenagers from different countries, with different mentalities maybe and different life stories. Exchanging ideas and simply interacting with other people will have great results in shaping teenagers' personality and their level of maturity.
People, no matter the age, learn from the examples they are provided with. It's not the general rule, but even the most rebellious ones will eventually wash their own cups if everybody does that.
Hardships and real life experiences are the best discipline methods with a proven track record. Take them abroad and let them see how other people live – they might finally become grateful. The more teenagers are protected from life, the less mature they get. Getting them involved in something constructive or leaving them on their own might work better than you expect.
And as long as parent-children communication is something constant, as long as there is a bond between the two parties, the whole concept of ”teenagers” fades away. They are just children growing up. This is a guest post written on behalf of Bellerbys College, an international College in the UK. Their main goal is to help international students achieve their ambitions, that is why they offer foundation programmes and have also partnered with some of the UK's top universities. Summer courses that help international students prepare for a UK university or simply have fun and gain some real life experience are also available.