Do you remember playing “Opposite Day” when you were a kid? In my experience, this was a fun and (mostly) harmless way to tease others and be silly. My friends and I could make almost any statement into an “Opposite Day” joke and we laughed a lot as a result!
Today (January 25) is National Opposite Day. While the elementary school jokes were a lot of fun, I prefer to look at this “holiday” as a day to honor individuality.
Here are some ways parents (and other adults) can help teens express their individuality!
Allow them to make choices.
Even though elementary, middle and high school students are not ready to make many big choices on their own, it is good for them to have some opportunity to choose. Clothes, leisure activities and how they spend their money are some great places to start.
Teach your teen that all actions have consequences.
Some choices have consequences your teen will not foresee. Other times, they will act despite knowing the consequences. Use these times as teaching moments to help your teen improve their decision making skills.
Do not embarrass them on purpose.
Publicly criticizing your teen’s decisions is unlikely to be helpful in the long run. If your teen has made a choice that is not acceptable, do your best to address this away from the public eye. Not only will this allow for real conversation about the issue, it will also help your teen feel as though you are on their side, even if you do not always agree.
Sometimes teens will make decisions that make little or no sense to the adults in their life. It is not your job to steer your child away from unpleasant experiences, but to be their cheerleader and help them learn. If your child decides to wear all black for months on end, find out why it appeals to him or her rather than forbidding the choice. If your awkward or uncoordinated teen is certain he wants to try out for the basketball team, encourage him to give his best effort and help him prepare. Not only will your teen feel supported in their decisions, they may just surprise you and themselves in the process!
That’s enough from me for now. See how you can help your teen express their individual greatness today! And get a good “opposite day” joke in if you can! :)
She is passionate about helping teens and families be happy and healthy!