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10 Hot Tips to Help Your Teen Through the Rough Patches


We see changes in kids every summer at our SuperCamp programs where we teach learning and life skills that help them know themselves, like themselves, and learn better. During our more nearly 35 years of running these summer programs we have learned lots and lots about teens and their problems—and how adults can help them through those sometimes rough years. Here are some of the most important and easily utilized things we’ve found over the years.

  1. A great communication tool for building relationships with teens is, Tell me more. If you get one of those dead-end responses to a question like How was your day, try Tell me more. 
  2. When your teen has been hurt by something someone said or did to them, try asking them How do you feel? Tell them that how we feel and think about ourselves is a choice. We can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we react to it. Then ask How do you CHOOSE to feel? 
  3. To help teens build self-esteem, acknowledge every effort. When your teen makes an effort and completes a task, stop for the high-five or the hug before urging them on to the next task. 
  4. When you see FEAR (what we refer to as false expectations appearing real) in your teen, acknowledge it and show that you understand. Then ask What’s the worst that could happen? and What’s the best? Usually this will lead to more clarity about the perceived fear. 
  5. Excelling in school—as well as in life—begins with a positive I CAN attitude. Encourage your teen to keep a positive attitude in all areas of their life. If they constantly look for what’s positive in any situation, they miss the negatives . . . or at least they don’t focus on them! 
  6. Physiology affects learning. Our mind, body, and emotions are all connected—change one, you change them all. Remind your teen to walk tall into every class (even the most dreaded), sit up straight at their desk, focus on the teacher, fight off distractions—and concentrate on what the teacher is saying! Studies have shown that students in a state of focused concentration learn faster and more easily, and retain information longer. In other words, they maximize the moment of learning. 
  7. If your teen is struggling with low motivation, help them find their passion—and the accompanying motivation—by asking them, What would you do—today, tomorrow, or in the future—if you knew you couldn’t fail? It may take more than one conversation, but the motivation can be immediate when a teen discovers their passion. 
  8. Once they’ve identified their dream, help your teen to understand that they need to take ownership of pursuing it—no blaming, no excuses, no justifying, no giving up. You can encourage them and help them to make it part of their life, but make sure they understand that with dreams—If it’s to be, it’s up to me! 
  9. If your teen is hitting the inevitable “bumps” on their road to success, remind them that Failure Leads to Success. And help them to change the way they think about failure. Instead of thinking that they are a failure, encourage them to think about failure as a valuable learning experience. When they learn from their mistakes rather than sending themselves negative messages, they are on the path to success. 
  10. Remind your teens that Speaking with Good Purpose applies to what they say to themselves as well as what they say to others. They can use this to correct those voices in their heads that tell them negative things about themselves.

Most of these tips relate to topics that are core beliefs and teachings of Quantum Learning Network and SuperCamp. Failure Leads to Success and Speak with Good Purpose are two of the 8 Keys of Excellence, our character education program.

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Since 1982 SuperCamp has increased the academic and personal success of 73,000 students. Participants experience breakthrough learning, the 8 Keys of Excellence principles to live by, self-discovery, deep friendships, and fun! They learn valuable collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity strategies, and how to apply their SuperCamp experiences and skills to school, college, career, and life.
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