Does your child have an unrealistic wish-list? Is she generally dissatisfied with what she has? Here’s how to teach your child to lead a contented life.
By Rukmani Jayaraman
“I never get what I deserve.”
“Nothing happens according to my wish.”
“Life is boring.”
These are some of the common expressions one can often hear from today’s teenagers. Although technological advancements have made life a lot easier and comfortable, today’s teens are still not satisfied or content with what they have. What they fail to realise is that no one in the world leads a contented life and has everything one likes or wants. Nowadays, most teens want to banish their disappointments in the blink of an eye instead of working towards finding solutions.
In such a situation, parents of teens find that making their children understand the reality of life is an uphill task. Here are 7 ways to help you equip your teen to beat the feelings of discontentment that is spreading fast among individuals of his generation.
1. Setting a goal: Just as a sailor is guided by the mariner’s compass, your teenager should be guided and driven by his goals. Encourage him to set goals at every stage of his life, both for the short term and the long term. An example of a short-term goal can be working towards getting the ‘A’ grade in all the exams of the current academic year, whereas gaining admission in a reputed college a few years later can be a long-term goal.
2. Changing the perspective: Happiness in life depends on how one looks at successes and failures. If your teenager develops the habit of taking things as they come, there wouldn’t be any room for dissatisfaction. So, make her understand that if she sees things in a positive light, even failures, instead of causing disappointment, can appear as stepping stones to success.
3. Developing interest and involvement: Commitment and involvement guarantee success, which, in turn, gives rise to a sense of fulfilment. So, teach your teen the value of taking interest and involving himself in everything he does. This will not only help him focus on the task at hand, but also make him understand that half-hearted efforts only lead to failure and cause distress.
4. Enjoying those little moments: There are so many little things to enjoy in life. Make your teen realise that there is something to cherish in every moment of our lives — be it enjoying a meal, walking down the beach, viewing a beautiful sunset or just listening to some soul-soothing music. Teach her the art of forgetting the past and future, and living in the current moment. Let her realise that life is a long journey, every moment of which should be enjoyed.
5. Accepting reality: We can’t control everything that happens in our lives. What matters most is accepting what we have and trying to achieve our goals. John Milton was blind, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a great poet. Beethoven achieved greatness as a composer despite being deaf. And Helen Keller couldn’t see or hear, but still rose to great heights. Make your teen understand that he should accept his strengths and weaknesses, and then strive for success accordingly.
6. Taking up responsibilities: It’s human nature to take credit for victories and disown failures. Teach your teen to own responsibility for his actions, irrespective of the result. Not blaming others or circumstances for failures, and taking corrective measures to put things back on track is the sign of a strong personality. Help your teen develop one.
7. Realising strengths: Discontentment arises from unmet expectations. When expectations are based on strengths, there will be no failures, and hence, no discontentment. Help your teen learn how to take decisions based on her strengths and abilities. If she focusses on her expertise and skills, success will never elude her.
A combination of patience, persistence and hard work forms the foundation of a successful life. Being content doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t have high aims and aspirations. It’s all about setting realistic goals in life and achieving them through proper planning and execution. As parents, it’s our duty to help our teens achieve success, and thus contentment.
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