Young, beautiful and in the best shape of your life, the teen years should be incredibly fun and exhilarating.
In reality, since most of us have been teens, it doesn’t always turn out that way.
Just look at the slew of Lifetime Movies that are based upon a true story.
Ready? Here we go. Let’s consider some of the titles which virtually speak for themselves.
- Double Daddy (he gets two girls pregnant).
- Mom at sixteen (self-explanatory).
- Mommy I Didn’t Do It (in prison).
- Sexting in Suburbia (every parent’s nightmare).
- The Cheerleader Murders.
And so it goes.
What do they all have in common? These are the least of activities a parent would want to see their teen involved in. Some of the fifty other titles were as daunting.
So what activities can a parent encourage a teen to be involved in?
The first grouping that comes to mind is sports. It is so healthy and beneficial in many ways. You learn the importance of teamwork, staying in great physical shape and being emotionally strong to name a few.
That is the easy choice.
Since we were speaking of movies there is probably another choice that you may not have thought of. Let’s listen in.
The plot follows Barden University’s all-girl a cappella group, The Barden Bellas, as they compete against another a cappella group from their college to win Nationals. The film is loosely adapted from Mickey Rapkin’s non-fiction book, titled Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory.
Here is the storyline: The Barden Bellas are an elite all-girl a cappella group known for their sick covers of female pop songs. They WERE, at least. After flopping hard at last year’s finals, they are forced to regroup. In walks Beca, an independent and edgy new student who’s more interested in DJing than a cappella. But she’s just what the Barden Bellas need to spice up their tired shtick and get back into the competition.
Come on. Doesn’t that sound like fun? It does to us.
We have a visiting speaker with some fantastic ideas on how to keep your teens busy during the summer in beneficial activities. It’s worth a look.
Otherwise (smile) we wouldn’t want a Lifetime Movie based upon our story.
Summertime Fun – Keeping Teens Gainfully Occupied, Safe and Out of Trouble
By Awo Amorin
Challenging enough, no doubt, it was when during the school year parents had to ensure that their teens were safe while they were at work. Extracurricular activities such as sports, band, drama club meetings, debate societies and the like helped a great deal, keeping teens actively engaged in productive activities after school. Now school is out and from the moment teens wake up which could be at noon, (a relief to some parents who then will have fewer hours to be concerned about,) to the time when many parents get back home from work which could be early evening, parents have the daunting task of ensuring that their kids are not only staying out of trouble but are making the best use of their time. Here is help for you! Find below, a list of several activities to keep teens and younger siblings constructively occupied. For the next few weeks we will be elaborating on the suggestions breaking them down into very doable ventures to get you and your teen started.
1. Organize yourselves as parents to host activities. Parents in each family can take turns hosting teen activities instead of teens staying home alone unsupervised. Activities can be as simple as playing board games, watching movies, swimming or playing basketball. Beware though. The likelihood of all of the above being ignored and video games taking over is a great possibility.
- Enroll your teen in summer camp. Many summer camps offer sporting activities such as swimming, soccer, karate etc. They can also take music lessons playing instruments such as the guitar, piano, flute or voice lessons.
- Encourage age appropriate summer jobs. Your teen can work at local bookstores, department stores, day cares or assisted living homes. This will give them an opportunity to be responsible. And should paying jobs be difficult to come by, your teen can always volunteer at facilities such as the YM/WCA.
- Introduce the idea of your teen starting a business. This can be done alone or with friends. Having identified their own strengths, teens can offer classes for younger kids in subjects they can comfortably handle, charging reasonably. They can start a lawn mowing or home cleaning business.
- Give your teen your undying support in article writing. Should they express interest in writing articles for newspapers, magazines, websites or even a book, give them all the encouragement they need. Imagine the pride and joy the whole family will experience when an article is accepted and published.
- Set aside time to spend with your teen in recreational activities. Watching movies, visiting recreational centers and parks, the theater etc. can be a lot of fun with your teen. Not only will you get to know them better the more time you spend with them, but you will get to supervise them yourself, while they are still having fun.
- Involve your teen in home improvement activities. The reorganization of items, redecoration of rooms and spaces, housekeeping, to include cleaning and cooking will bring out in your teen any creativity that needs to be brought to the light. Your teen can organize his or her friends to help paint or stain fences, polish furniture and floors, or clean carpets and windows. They can also do simple yard work or gardening and landscaping. Those interested in carpentry, with good supervision and age appropriate tools should be encouraged.
- Get your teen started in college preparation. This will include among other things taking the SAT, ACT tests etc. It will give them a push in life that will be unbelievably welcome. He or she can also take a creative writing course or computer classes at a community college.
- Encourage traveling. Your teen can visit family elsewhere, or participate in an exchange program. Summertime is a great time to keep grandparents company. Spending time with cousins or friends who live elsewhere will afford your teen the opportunity to experience new things. As an exchange student with your teen possibly visiting another continent, your teen will be exposed to a new culture, will broaden his or her scope and will have the opportunity to share his or her culture with those in the host country. You may also travel as a family to fun places such as Disney world or other amusement centers.
- Suggest to your teen, the organization of talent shows. This could be for him and his peers or for younger siblings and their friends. Preparing for a talent show although informal and meant for entertainment can still be demanding and time consuming. It will keep your teen busy and out of trouble.
- Set aside parent and teen days. Father and son days are very exciting for boys who cannot wait to be like their dads. Mother and daughter days make girls feel so special. Considering that you as a parent should be your teen’s role model, it is important that you make time to have fun with your teen. This will boost his or her confidence.
- Introduce a game of career role playing. After identifying careers they might want to pursue in future, imagine how knowledgeable your teen will be after spending several hours researching it and how thrilling it will be to start acting the part.
Even though certain activities such as traveling to visit family or friends or participating in an exchange program might require prior planning, many other activities require less time in planning. Activities suggested are both entertaining and educational. When you have taken the time to find out your teen’s interests be sure to assist them in getting started. That way, not only will they be contently occupied but you will also have your peace knowing that they are happy, safe and sound. By the end of summer, your teen would have learned a great deal of responsibility, acquired useful organizational skills and perhaps even unearthed priceless hidden talents!
Awo Amorin, even while working abroad as an architect, realized that people were drawn to her and often sought her advice. She enjoys spending time with people, listening to their problems and offering advice when solicited. Currently working with children, Awo is always ready to offer a shoulder for comfort, and is more than happy to brainstorm with her confidants to find a solution or merely lend a listening ear.
Marian Pobee, a pediatrician with numerous teens in her care, realized that her teens were very comfortable sharing with her information they could not share with their parents. She also realized that while mothers spend time nurturing their toddlers and younger children, their teenagers were basically left to grow on their own, making their own choices because of the communication breakdown.
After discovering that both had the welfare of others at heart, Awo and Marian came together to create an avenue to reach beyond those they come into contact with physically.
For heartwarming tips and advice from both experts visit [http://www.parentsandteensintune.com/index.html] a website designed by both women for parents and guardians to live in tune with their teens.
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