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February 25, 2015

Four Traits That Will Launch Your Teen Into Adulthood — Part 3: Curiosity

ScreamFree_Nov_2014_0048Earlier this week, we started a discussion of the traits that your teen needs to be successfully launched into adulthood. Those traits are resourcefulness, grit, curiosity, and self-discipline. Today’s discussion is on curiosity.

Curiosity: The desire to learn or know about anything

It seems that little kids have a natural curiosity. If you ever visited your child’s kindergarten class, you saw it. There were 25 kids who were amazed to hear about the many legs of an octopus or learn about how to check out a library book. You may think back fondly to those days and long for your child to show that same innocent curiosity, wondering where it went. Here’s a challenge for you: spend a little time over the next few days, asking yourself what your teen IS curious about. Look for her natural bent. What kinds of things attract his attention (besides the opposite sex!)? What are her favorite school subjects? What does he like to talk about? If he could spend a day doing anything he liked, going anywhere he wanted, what would he do?

Now think about how you can encourage that curiosity. Maybe your daughter seems OBSESSED with her hair. Why not take her to a hair show where stylists display their trade? Maybe you could buy her a subscription to a magazine about hair styles. Maybe your son loves to read about war history. Take him to a historical battleground or watch a reenactment of the Civil War.

Some of you may be thinking, “All my son wants to do is play video games. All my daughter is interested in is her phone.” Well, I’m sorry to say I’ve got nothing for you…Just kidding. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to get to know him better, to start a conversation about what else she’s interested in. Perhaps he’s in a rut and needs a gentle nudge to try something new—maybe a new hobby or a new skill.

Maybe it’s even more complicated. Before it can be in them, it has to be in you. They might not be curious because they don’t see that trait valued in your family. So maybe you can try something new together—learn the guitar, play tennis, take a cooking class. This may not simply be an opportunity to increase their curiosity; it could be a chance to truly connect with your teen as you ALL learn what it means to be curious.

Check back tomorrow for a discussion on the last rocket fuel:  self-discipline.

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