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5 Tips to Prepare Your Teen for College and Career - Part 5

Dec 20, 2021

Tip #5: Encourage asking for advice

Every parent wishes their teenagers would come to them for advice. And in those rare occasions when they do, we often screw it up.

We know that we have a wide variety of advice we would love to give them, but they often seek elsewhere: the Internet, their friends, YouTube, podcasts.

And this seems to be the trend of the present – to seek advice from peers rather than those with experience.

Perhaps trusting someone in authority feels like sacrificing independence. Perhaps it’s the societal trend that recognizes everyone is flawed and everyone is figuring life out, so why trust someone who claims to know an answer? Answers appear relative, so their peers seem to have input that is just as valid as anyone else.

But the wise know that everyone has something to teach us – even if they are flawed, even if they have failed, even if they are struggling. The homeless person on the corner has a perspective about wealth and friendship that the Manhattan businessperson may not. And the Manhattan businessperson may have a perspective on social nuance and politics that the homeless person does not.

Both have their flaws and failures, their wisdom and their successes, their pain and their joys.

At the end of the day, it isn’t only advice that we want. It’s connection. And belonging. And knowing that someone will be there for us. Knowledge has only a certain amount of power; relationship and community have more. That’s why they go to their peers for advice.

So how do you encourage your teens to ask for advice?

Be available.

Be a safe place for them to ask.

Respect their individuality and their unique perspective.

Show that you are figuring things out, too.

Show them that you are someone striving for positive change, too.

Be an example of asking for advice and humbly learning from others.

And wait for them to come to you.

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