Most of us use the words diligence and persistence as synonyms for hard work but diligence is so much more than this because the rewards are instant and what teen doesn’t want an instant reward? Teaching teens diligence in their study habits, personal hygiene and communication skills will help increase their self confidence, self control and autonomy. Diligence is a wonderful virtue for teens to learn in their steps toward independence as it encourages goal setting, role modeling and planning for the future.
Perhaps the most important place for teens to learn diligence is in their homes where they feel free to “express” themselves. As parents, we can be teaching teens diligence by helping them answer the questions which are so important to teens:
“Do I have to?”
“Can I do it later?”
“Who said I did it?”
Teaching Teens Diligence in Everyday Interactions
Make diligence the “word of the month” by posting it on the refrigerator and using it in as many contexts as possible. Be diligent in your praise when your teen uses it in the proper context. (Don’t expect them to like “the word of the month” the first week).
Listen when your teen talks to you with the same interest as you do with your best friend. If you haven’t time now, let your teen know when a good time to talk is and that you are very interested in their opinions/concerns. Demonstrate diligence by keeping the appointment or raising the conversation again. Listening skills do take diligence and your teen will feel important.
Have your teen share with you while you write down their dreams of the future without interruption. Whenever they are wondering why they have so much homework remind them they are diligently working toward a dream.
Find out or help your child discover a hero/heroine for whom they have a great deal of respect and read about their lives and what it took for them to be what they were.
Remind your teen that they can work toward the same qualities they respect about other people through diligence in speech, self determination and responsibility.
When “alien hormones” hit, remind your child that responsible communication is expected/demanded and that it takes a lot of diligence to speak respectfully. Perhaps they would like to try to communicate with you at a later time when they have regained their self-control.
Remember that the only time more encouragement, praise and approval is required in human life than in “teen-dom” is when we were learning to walk and look how that turned out! Remind yourself often, your own diligence with your child will pay off.
As a full access member of the Careapy® Learning Channel you can learn and teach your children these vital character education virtues!
I invite you to listen to the Power of Positive Parenting audio course to learn more.