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15 Important Things Kids Should Know by Age 15

15 Important Things Kids Should Know by Age 15

A few years ago, my own mum gave me a copy of a parenting book. I was both amused and highly indignant at the same time. Now a few years have passed and I must say I have on more than one occasion resorted to looking through “that” book!

Lets face it, I am not Supermom. I don’t have all the answers, and unfortunately, although I would like to take tears and heartbreak away from my kids, I know this is all part of growing up and dealing with the complexities and challenges of life. There are some journeys I can travel with them and there are some they must go alone.

Looking forward into the not too distant future, if I was to come up with a list of what kids should know by the time they are 15, it would be the following.

1. “Parents are people too and why I will never be your best friend.”

I will never be your best friend. I am so much more that that. I am your greatest supporter, a devout lover of you since the moment you were born, and that will never change, no matter what you say or do. I will never give up on you, abandon or forget about you. However, I have my own life too and would like to enjoy it! Yes, I have a sense of humor too. It helps!

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2. “Think for yourself, that’s why you have your own brain.”

As a parent, I may try to guide and influence you when you struggle to make decisions that I believe are in your best interest. But I do want you to think for yourself, to use your brain more, make decisions that are right for you instead of caving in to peer pressure, and going against your better judgment and willpower. Easier said than done, I know, but I just have to say it.

3. “There will always be problems: focus, focus, focus!”

Yes, focus on the problem not the person, if it is a person who created the problem in the first place. That way, it is easier to leave emotions out of the problem. The problem loses some of its complexity and it becomes more manageable. If any problem seems insurmountable — I am here to help.

4. “It’s not the end of the world.”

It take guts to own up and take responsibility when you mess up. As adults we still struggle with it, and believe me there are some adults who will never grow up and admit they were wrong. They still play the blame game. Please do not be one of those people. It is not the end of the world. It is just another lesson in life to learn from and move on. This reminds me of a saying I heard recently: “I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I am thinking of making a few more.”

5. “Remember what you are good at.”

Success means different things to different people. Create your own personal success story knowing what you are good at, what you want to be better at, and what you feel you should be better at! Above all, you are good at so many things. If you ever are in doubt, come ask me!

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family lunch

    6. “You are unique. Yes, there is only one of you.”

    Do you know how awesome that is. Think of the billions of people in this world and yet you stand unique, a one of a kind. You are not me. Don’t try to be me. I don’t want you to be me. I will try to be a positive role model for you, but I am not perfect either. This is your life, please live it fully, joyfully and in the best way that celebrates everything that is wonderful about you.

    7. “Let your voice be heard, but in the right way.”

    The power of words can heal, harm, uplift, inspire. I could go on and on, but it really comes down to this: Let your voice be heard, but in the right way. Say what needs to be said but do it in such a way that it is tactful, considerate and never with malice. There are so many ways to communicate and let your thoughts and feelings be known. Choose wisely my child.

    8. “Sex and relationships: yes, there is a difference.”

    I know this is not something you may be ready to talk about now but I’ll say it anyway. I hope it will mean more to you when you reach this point in time. Yes, there is a difference between sex and relationships. Sex is simply the physical acting out of an expression and that expression isn’t always love or carried out in a loving way. To enter into a relationship with someone there should be a situation where there is mutual respect, healthy interest, patience, love, consideration, and of keeping your relationship exclusive and to yourselves only. I hope this makes sense to you and it will save you from being badly hurt or from hurting another.

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    9. “Social media alert!”

    Oh yes, if you are about to make a mistake or do something you may later regret, think again! You may have it shoved in your face and be constantly haunted, taunted and reminded of any wrongdoing you were involved in long after it took place! Be aware, be careful. Friends may not always be friends when it comes to social media. Be clued in and stay safe.

    10. “A whole bag of emotions.”

    Being a teen, I know you may find it hard to relate to me, but I still have a few brain cells left working that allow me to remember what I was like at your age! Its like being on an emotional roller coaster and you can’t always get off or even know how to. The good news is that it doesn’t last forever and things will settle down. Just try as best as you can to show an awareness of your feelings and emotions and how they affect you and those around you.

    kiss

      11. “Why respect can be your greatest ally.”

      You may not feel very special or unique, but every part of you — your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being — thrives and is in balance when you show respect for yourself. You should also expect respect from others, not in a pushy, aggressive or challenging way, but in a way that shows you think highly of yourself and so should everyone else.

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      12. “Learning is not all about the boring stuff.”

      There are so many ways to learn, and it’s not always found in textbooks. Be open and receptive to learning from others who are positive role models, learning from situations both positive and negative, learning from your parents — yes, your parents — and simply learning by experiencing life.

      13. “Show me the money!”

      Sure, having money is a valuable asset, but that’s all it is. Money isn’t elusive. It is something you can get and I encourage you to go get your own. Become more financially independent but to do so in a way that is within the law and won’t come back to haunt you. Of course, feel free to share it with me and we will agree never to discuss how expensive it is to raise a child! Cha-ching!

      14. “Do you really need all this stuff?”

      Gadgets, gizmos, or what I like to call “stuff”, do you really need it all? I know back in my youth, I had less and I was happy. I know that is hard for you to understand. Please just think about it. Do they really make you happier or do they make you feel like you never have enough?

      15. “Keep a love for life.”

      Please don’t ever fall out of love with life. Everything you need for a rich, fulfilling and rewarding life is there for you. Nobody owes it to you, but you owe it to yourself to make your life the best life possible. Find your passion for life and use this passion to motivate you to greatness.

      “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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      Last Updated on November 9, 2020

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

      Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

      Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

      If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

      Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

      1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

      Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

      Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

      Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

      2. No Motivation

      Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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      This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

      If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

      3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

      Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

      A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

      A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

      The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

      4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

      One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

      We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

      Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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      You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

      5. Upward Comparisons

      Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

      The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

      These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

      Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

      6. No Alternative

      This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

      Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

      Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

      Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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      7. Stress

      As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

      When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

      We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

      If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

      8. Sense of Failure

      People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

      Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

      Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

      If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

      9. The Need to Be All-New

      People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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      These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

      10. Force of Habit

      Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

      Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

      These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

      Final Thoughts

      These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

      There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

      More on Breaking Bad Habits

      Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
      [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
      [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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