(continued from June 29 2009 Raising Super Children Ages 8 through 12)
Age Thirteen Through Age Seventeen
Now is the time for early preparation for adulthood by fine tuning the personality, interpersonal skills, and a sense for business. Age 13 through age 17 is a good time to really explore these areas and hopefully uncover their hidden genius.
Every child has the potential for entrepreneur-ship. If you are able to help cultivate this creativity earlier in your child’s life, then capitalize on that education now with an even bigger push to get that dream into reality if they want.
Is it prudent to build a business around a childhood dream? Only if the child wants to, and of course, only if there is a market for what value they intend to present to the consumer. If your child can perform a market study and prospects are good, then they should seriously consider going into business. At the least, it could be a tremendous experience for your child. Who knows, it could turn out to be lucrative too. Make sure they cover themselves legally and take full responsibility for their products and/or services.
It is important to remember that not all children will shift into being entrepreneurs, and these young people will be just as happy working for someone else adding extreme value to that business. As long as they know they always have the option of starting their own business, then that passion may arise later in life.
Having the training and knowledge about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and run a business generates a great set of tools that can be applied to other areas in your child’s life. You don’t have to become an entrepreneur to benefit from that mindset. Problem solving and creating marketable solutions are just a few benefits of learning to be a businessperson. Interpersonal skills, friendly competition, and business related friendships also come from business relationship training. These experiences can then be transferred to all areas.
As your child blossoms into young adulthood, their interests in relationships will increase. It’s important to support your child’s choice to be with whomever they select as a partner or as friends. If handled properly from early youth into young adulthood, your offspring will be much more mature than comparable children raised under today’s typical methods will be, and they will gravitate to other children with comparable intellectual skills and interests.
Suggest things that might interest your child in trying, such as sports, learning a musical instrument, and taking acting classes. Participating in these and similar interests can help develop a young person’s personality and confidence. It can also inspire a passion or awaken hidden genius. Be sure not to force your child into anything they don’t want to try, but leave it entirely up to them to choose. Music and sports are great testing grounds for interests.
When it comes time to help your child learn to drive a car, there are several things you can do to help prepare them for the unexpected and to be an evolved driver. It’s important that they know how to handle any vehicle that they will be using, so if you have access to several types of vehicles, then make sure to allow practice driving in small cars to large vans. Even rent a different sized and handling vehicle from the family car. The more education you provide early, the better driver they will be their whole life.
If at all possible, drive to a wide open dirt area where it is safe and acceptable and practice straight-line skidding or sudden stops, left and right turning slide-outs back into control, and backing the vehicle up over long distances. Also, find an empty area of a large parking lot and practice pulling into stalls forwards and backing in. Teach them how to use visual points on the vehicle to judge the safe zone around the vehicle and to line up for perfect parking. If it helps, demonstrate the techniques and then let them try. A good way to let them know the dimensions of the vehicle from the driver’s perspective is to stand outside the vehicle right next to the bumpers and corners and have them ingrain those visual cues from all angles and mirrors. Pull up next to and slightly ahead of a parked car so that they know where the blind spots can occur.
If they haven’t already, children in this age range will definitely start to find attractions in other people. Not only have they been exposed to relationships in the movies, books and other media, their adult hormones are beginning to show up in their systems as well. To some children, this rush of sex hormones can be a bit of a shock no matter how well you prepare them with logic before hand. The best you can do for them during puberty is simply being there for them to talk with and help curtail the emotional spurts with rational thoughts and choices. Let them know that what they are feeling and the new desires are a normal part of being human. Love relationships can mean sexual relationships, so educate them about the differences and how they can blend together with responsibility. Attraction and infatuation may or may not lead to love relationships.
If prepared with enough good information – both pros and cons of what relationships entail, then most children can learn to be rational about relationships, with less of the turmoil and stress most often associated with pubescent development. Always encourage rational thinking and you will be surprised at how grown up they will act not only with their peers, but with adults as well. They are definitely changing into young adults now, so afford them adult-level responsibilities.
Discuss sex and love relationships in detail, and be supportive no matter to what gender your child is attracted. If you can talk logically about intimate acts, your child will learn to respect those acts and how they relate to building a love-based relationship with someone. You really cannot stop young people from experimenting, so it is better to prepare them about sex by using caring and rational thinking on your part. If handled properly, you can save them the heartbreak and devastation of diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
(continued Jul 13 2009: Raising Super Children Ages 18 through Adulthood)