Do you have teenaged children who seem uninspired? When you try to chat them up, do you feel they possess a passion for life or a sense of detachment? Do they enjoy school and life in general or does it strike you that they are still struggling to find out what they want?

teensThe teenage years can be quite challenging and some young people feel at a loss when it comes to finding their niche, setting goals, establishing their identities and choosing whom to trust. If you think your own kids could stand to use some much needed guidance, here are ways you can help get them on the right track.

1. Encourage them to read a wide variety of books. Start stocking up your home library or eBook readers with a plethora of books, with a focus on biographical, inspirational, motivational and similar self-help books. The biographies should be of people who made a difference (stay away from the sensational stuff) or made their mark in their respective niches borne out of a passion for life and their true calling. Reading about different people and significant events can help your youngster in discovering his own calling and setting goals that will lead to his carving his own niche.

2. Show them valuable resources online. The Internet can be a bane or boon to modern life. Teenagers are known to waste hours online playing games, “socializing” with both real life friends and strangers, indulging in gossip and other activities that don’t help with their personal growth. You can’t stop your kids from using the Internet, but you certainly can point them in the right direction. Look up helpful websites that give great tips and ideas about hobbies, potential careers, exploring one’s hidden talents, discovering a passion for life, and the sort. Bookmark those sites and then share them with your kids. They could very well find their “lightbulb” moments when they peruse the pages of their sites and before you know it, they’ll be setting goals and sharing with you their new dreams and ambitions.

3. Encourage them to spend less time online and to mingle with more people in real life. It’s hard to discover one’s passion for life if personal interaction is so limited. A great number of kids tend to spend so much time on the Internet that they lose out on the benefits of real life relationships – one of them being able to get ideas and support from people who can help you with determining your true calling and setting goals. So get your kids to log out every now and then and have them invite friends over for real interaction. Take them to visit relatives and meet other people to boost their social skills and open up to opportunities they might miss if they stayed indoors.

4. Have them take up a new hobby. They might be bored with their old hobby that they don’t even bother anymore to do it. Young people’s interests change over time, and every now and then they’re setting goals only to dump them for new ones. If your teenager appears to be disinterested in her usual activities, get her to start a new hobby that can help her reignite a passion for life. For example, if she used to sew her own clothes as a hobby, maybe she can switch to learning how to apply makeup professionally or make her own natural, organic skincare products.

5. Travel with them. Don’t stay put! There’s so much potential in travel – you learn about new places and new cultures that may very well spark your passion for life and help you discover something new about yourself. For example, going to exotic places that have a lot of ancient digs may help you realize a new love for history, archeology, and even paleontology. Visiting a foreign country may make you want to become an expert in that country’s language and inspire you to take lessons when you get back home. Expose your teenager to all sorts of new and inspirational things. And don’t worry about busting the budget; there are so many travel sites offering great tours at very affordable prices. You just need to know where to look.

Look at your teenagers as not just your children but also as soon-to-be-adults who will eventually come to their own. It can be tempting to succumb to the “helicopter mode” of parenting but you need to respect their own need for space and their own tastes. Let them find their comfort zones and passion for life at their own pace, with you cheering and supporting them on in the background. Let them remember you as a great parent and not a control freak, and the more they will thank you for it!

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