Teens today have so much more to distract them besides their homework, the opposite sex, friends, family members, and extracurricular activities. Besides learning how to drive, teenagers are occupied with playing with an assortment of electronic gizmos including cell phones, camera phones, personal computers, MP3 players, DVD players, ipods, xboxs, digital cameras, the list goes on. Wired? You betcha…and then some. Perhaps all of this electronic gadgetry has you concerned and you are wondering just how you can extract your teen and involve them in an outside activity where they can expand their minds and refresh their bodies. Are you out of ideas? Let’s look at some options that may appeal to them and remove the worry from you.
Work on the Car So, you think that a car isn’t a kid magnet as much as when you first learned how to drive? Think again. Today, kids are pimping their rides and expressing themselves through their cars. Custom paint, decals, blacked out windows, even faux aircraft wings are being attached to the outside of their cars. On the inside, it can be totally surreal: rear view mirrors wrapped with a studded belts, frilly seat cover trim, pushpin art attached to the headliner, decals everywhere, etc. Let them pimp your Camry or Explorer…that’ll keep them off the computer…and get you noticed too!
Volunteer Help your teen organize a group of his or her friends to clean up the neighborhood, paint an elderly neighbor’s house, teach younger kids how to ride bikes, or visit folks at the local nursing home. You remember when you were a teen and you heard the comments from your parent’s generation about kids not wanting to do anything or being “no good, " right? With a little direction, young people can do just about anything and are more than willing to help out if you believe in them. Rewards are nice too…be prepared to throw a pizza party after their time of service is over for the day.
Get a Job Kids who hold a job while going to school learn how to handle their money and budget their time. Limit work hours to fewer than 20 per week to ensure that their grades are not adversely affected. If your student is involved in extracurricular activities too, make sure that this time is included with the hours that they work. Maintaining good grades is essential, no job or outside activity is worth it if it takes away from their schooling.
In all cases, show your teen that you believe in him or her. As you know, parenting is much more than providing for their needs…you want to guide your child from youth toward adulthood by showing them that there is much more to life than all things electronic. So, gently disconnect your teen and get them involved with other pursuits.
Copyright 2006 – Matt Keegan is a contributing writer for the Auto Parts Warehouse a wholesaler of parking lights , window motors , turn signals , and other fine parts.