There is an age-old gulf separating the minds of teenagers from that of their parents. We often struggle to understand one another, and the middle school years seem to be particularly difficult. But Washougal teen Ricky P. is on a mission to bridge the divide. As part of a boy scout merit badge project, Ricky sent me a letter outlining how parents can help their teenage sons be successful. As a parent of a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old myself, I appreciated the counsel. Below is Ricky’s letter, uncut except for removing his last name. Parents, listen up.
Editor, Vancouver Family Magazine
How Parents Can Help Teenage Boys Be More Successful (Written by a Teenage Boy)
By Ricky P.
Hello Ms. Klock. My name is Ricky P. I’m a thirteen year old young man that lives in Washougal with my mom, dad and three sisters. I want to give information to parents about how to help their teenage boys be successful.
Our brains our being programmed to not be able to focus on work because of our interest in video games. We need video game time limited and cell phone use monitored. We need to be encouraged to get outside or work on homework or study for a test. Take us fishing. Go on a hike. Play a game. This would help boys be more successful in school and for jobs where communication and focus is needed.
Encourage us teen boys to set goals. If we don’t set goals we won’t try hard to do well. Make sure those goals are reasonable and not too easy and not too hard, just hard enough so we have to try. Having something obtainable can boost the confidence we need to get to the next step. We can do hard things if we have the right training and cheering section as we work.
Give us love and affection even if we make a dumb mistake. We are going to make mistakes, we are human, that’s what we do. Don’t give up on us. Giving love is also setting expectations, rules, and guide lines so we don’t make those mistakes over, and over, and over again. Hold our hand, tell us you love us and give us hugs. We may say we don’t like it, but we need it. A good relationship with our parents will help us create healthy relationships in our lives.
These are just a few of the ideas to help us be successful, hard working adults like you. There may be times these tips don’t work, but be persistent. With your support, we may just surprise you at how well we can get through life and be a positive, contributing member of our society.