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11 Things To Appreciate About Parenting A Teenager

11 Things To Appreciate About Parenting A Teenager

There are many negative attitudes from the public and media towards teenagers, and parents of teens complain about how difficult they can be. As a parent of two teenagers myself, I believe there is much to appreciate about parenting them. The good far outweighs the bad. Whether you are a parent of teens yourself, or a parent of younger children who may be worrying about the teenage years, take a moment to think about these eleven things to appreciate about parenting a teenager.

1. They Know How to Behave in Public

Remember the days of toddler tantrums? The worry about how they would behave if you took them out to a restaurant, or to someone’s house? With your teens, that worry is gone. They may behave differently when they’re not with you, of course, but take comfort in knowing that when they’re out in public with you, they will probably behave appropriately.

2. They Can Entertain Themselves

Young children look to you to provide constant entertainment for them. Teens are far more self-sufficient in that regard. You could spend your time despairing about how long they spend on their devices, but instead appreciate that you now have some time for yourself.

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3. They’re Transitioning and You’re There to See it

The teenage years are when they make the transition from child to adult. That’s a pretty amazing thing and you’re lucky enough to be there to see it. It’s scary and exciting. Don’t waste time yearning for when they were small. Observe them change, soak it up – it’s the biggest transition of their lives.

4. They Help You to Improve Your Negotiating Skills

If you were looking for an opportunity to improve your negotiating skills, then you’re in luck. It’s a difficult and confusing time for teenagers as their bodies and minds change. They won’t always deal with things in the best way and you will experience the full force of that first hand. You can spend all your time locking horns with them, or you can learn to pick your battles by letting the trivial things slide and focusing on the important things. You will make mistakes but over time you will learn the most effective way to negotiate with them. Take time to appreciate your new skills.

5. They’re Making Big Decisions With Your Help

During these years, they will be required to make big decisions about their future. Which subjects they want to drop, which they want to study further, what career they would like, what route they will choose to get there. You’re involved in those decisions, guiding them, helping them. Think about that for a moment – you’re helping human beings make plans that will affect the rest of their lives. Always remember what a privilege that is.

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6. They Can Have Grown-Up Discussions With You

Your teens will be developing new, more informed, opinions on the world, and you will be able to have discussions with them on the same level. You will notice a shift as they look less and less to you to provide the answers. You will learn as much from them as they do from you. Make the most of these discussions whenever they are willing to have them. You will gain new insights into their character.

7. They Show You That They’re More Than Just Your Children

Of course you’ve always known that they were people in their own right, and not just your children, but you never really felt it before. Now you can imagine them as adults, as people making their way in the world without you. It’s bittersweet. Focus on the sweet.

8. They Have Genuine Shared Interests With You

Movies, books, places to visit. Almost overnight it seems they switch from childhood interests to adult ones like yours. You can go to the movie theater and see a film that you both genuinely want to see. No longer do days out have to be chosen based on the quality of the soft play area, or whether they have a kid-friendly menu. You can enjoy doing the same things together that you would also choose to do alone.

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9. They Show You The Results of Your Earlier Parenting

This can be both good and bad of course, but there will be good. You may curse yourself for having let them get into some bad habits when they were young, but you will pat yourself on the back when you see the emergence of good traits that you know came from your parenting.

10. They Enable You to Have More Time For Yourself

The change is so gradual over the years that you may not notice it. You may not feel like you have more time for yourself, but just spend an hour with a parent of a young child, observe, and remember. You do have more time for yourself now.

11. They Teach You That Teenagers Are Actually Pretty Cool

If you haven’t really spent any time with teens since you were one yourself, then you’ve probably forgotten how cool they are. How funny, and optimistic, and full of life they can be, and how strong and loyal their friendships are. Watching them hanging out with their friends, enjoying their youth before having to take on adult responsibilities is a joy. Cherish those moments. Remember what it’s like to be young again.

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Featured photo credit: Group of teens at the beach/Vladimir Pustovit via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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