Tips for Teens:  Three Things for Success

I have been writing a series on Tips for Teens.  These tend to come in threes and are things that teens can start doing immediately.  Parents can suggest them to their young person or read this blog, as the information is written directly towards teens.  The three tips for today are:

  1. Learn planning skills
  2. Work on self-esteem
  3. Establish hope in your life.

Let’s start with planning skills, as many young people lack or choose not to have some form of planning in their life.  As a former school administrator, I would see kids standing at their locker at the end of the day, trying to remember what they had to do for tomorrow.  Taking life as it comes is great, and there are definite benefits to that attitude until you miss a deadline or an appointment.  Then planning becomes essential.  Most schools today, elementary through college, give kids some planners.  Kids start out using it, but it quickly falls by the wayside, and before the end of the first quarter of school, they aren’t even sure where it is lying unused.  If you are not a planner, start with a list of 1., 2., 3.  List things that are a point of focus for the week.  Keep it simple and check it a few times a day to ensure that you get them completed.  If you enjoy planning and consider it a strength, consider offering your talents to the school to help plan various events.  Schools always need people to take the lead and organize various events and celebrations for the school.

The second suggestion is to work on self-esteem.  Be sure that you know how to define it, and then think about how it plays out in your life. Self-confidence is the self-talk that we have going on in our heads about ourselves.  That self-talk can be judgmental, i.e., “you knew that would happen, or why did you do that.”  If you make a mistake, are you gentle with yourself, or do you berate yourself? Why am I so stupid?  The self-talk that goes on can help your self-image greatly.  Give yourself a “Great!” or even just a verbal pat on the back when something goes well.  If you have negative self-talk, get in the habit of changing it to a positive statement.  Believe it or not, there is something good in everything; you have to get in the habit of looking for it.

The third suggestion is to have a positive outlook for your future.  I spoke with so many kids over the years that had no idea what they wanted to do or would answer with something like, probably not much, followed with some negative statement about themselves or their family.  No, have a positive outlook for the future.  Your positive thoughts will shape what happens to you.  You don’t have to see how or see how it will happen, but you need to believe in it.  When you picture yourself reaching your goals, you stand a significantly better chance of getting them.  I like to mention Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s hamburgers.  He started with nothing, lived much of his life in foster care, and had many reasons he could have chosen not to believe in his future.  But no, he chooses instead to see what he wants to do and then go about getting the experience of running a business.  Starting step by step with clearing tables at a restaurant in a few years, he started his food chain, and the rest is history.  You can do whatever you wish with some visualization and personal attention to making things happen.

For additional information on What Kids Need: Planning Skills, please see my blog posting at What Kids Need: Planning Skills – Dr. Rich Patterson (

For a well written article on Establishing Hope, please see How to Help Students Develop Hope (

I challenge all youth to work on these three, once a week for the next three weeks.  That makes six weeks of ideas already between my last post and this one.  I wish you the best in your future.

Yours for a Better Life,