Summer is one of the best times for parents to inoculate their teen against bullying and social isolation! During these less busy months – theoretically anyway, we can take our kids to dozens of fun and peer inspiring events. Ren faires, reenactments, kite festivals, outdoor fairs, sports events, family hiking or boating – whatever fun you can find to explore and enjoy will help spark your teens!
I spent this morning with three musical teens rehearsing for a chamber recital, all of whom have summer plans to attend music camps, go camping, participate in outdoor programs (freestyle frisbee to geocaching), and going to area fairs and festivals. All three kids were happy, excited, and looking forward to seeing peers in their same tribe through the summer months.
This kind of summer interaction is crucial. Each of the teens I talked with had the same story: in their own schools, they didn’t find many friends who shared their interests. Thus school year is somewhat lonely for each teen. And each one raved about summer with camp friends, kids who share their passion, and the chance to learn and try new skills with people who march to the same drummer.
And all were attending camps that still have openings, some of which were free, and all of which included interested adults supervising. How can you lose?
And as I have said before, these are the kids who get to college and find their tribe and fly!
For us parents, the results are worth it even beyond the college success. Several teens commented to me this morning that my own kids are lucky to have a “cool parent,” and I easily pointed out that each of them had cool parents, too. And get this: each teen blushingly agreed.
Nothing rocks more than watching your child meet friends and fly. And the peers your teen meets don’t have to be the same age: a mentor adult who shares your teens passion for dobro guitar is as valuable as a same age friend. I watch the teens and young adults I coach expand and glow in happiness when they share their expertise with a knowledgeable adult. And knowing these adults is valuable peer cred. For example, several teens I work with have been mentored by Rusted Roots awesome Liz Berlin, and knowing a famous singer/songwriter/producer gives teens and young adults an incredible ego boost.
So take your teen and go get summer fun. Make friends, find mentors, experience all the learning and social opportunities you can muster. Remember the goal: a happy and connected and proud teen, and your own designation as “cool parent.”
Go for it.