I'm currently parenting a teen in the age of social media and instant gratification. She seems to think that a well paying job will land in her lap at the age of 18 because she's cute and has a lot of Instagram followers. No matter how many different ways I try to motivate her to succeed in school, she is simply not interested. I am at my wit's end. Anyone have experience and suggestions?
At the "very mature age OF 12 Y/O" my brother told my parents he was quitting school and going to work. My mother told him "OK, but also find a place to live because we don't like freeloaders. " My mother knew he would go to my grandmother's home. My mother called my granny and told her what was going on. Granny, wise as ever, said not to worry.
Yes, my brother went to granny's....three hrs away, by train. From the go she gave him work in exchange for food/shelter. My brother had to paint the entire fence, go into town to get the newspaper and other necessities -every day before 5 am, help the ranch's foreman and few other things.... After a week he was back home and ready to return to school.
15 is still pretty young. I work in a school as the Director of I.T. and teach some programming and technology classes and am a parent myself. I've seen some students really mature between 15 and 18, while for some others it takes longer. Who her friends are can make a big diffrence. Encourage her to get involved in athletics, band, robotics, clubs, or drama. Those activities keep them busy but also foster being part of a team, setting goals, setting deadlines, being more responsible, and developing a good work ethic. Also, students in those activities often have college in their future. Also remember that the daughter you see at home may be very different from the young woman she might be out of your sight. While teens often rebel against parents, teachers and coaches can be seen as mentors.
I'd suggest being supportive and honest. Let her know what things cost. Set limits. My parents would provide the neccessities, but if I wanted something beyond that I had to work for it or pay for it myself. Kmart sneakers were fine by them, but if I wanted the Nike or Converse sneakers I had to pay the difference. I was the oldest of four kids. When it came time to drive, it was up to me to buy the car and pay for the insurance which required me working. (Of course driving is not what it used to be for teenagers today.) First it was babysitting, then mowing lawns, then bagging groceries and stocking shelves. I've been working ever since I was 14 one way or another.
Here is a video you may appreciate, it is titled, "A Millennial Job Interview":
I run an afterschool tutorial program with a majority of at-risk students. There are two things that make a difference. First is parental commitment to education and your child. Second is consequences. You have to be tough because she is not mature enough to see her future. Take away her phone, computer, sports, etc. Whatever she loves make her earn it back with grades. As an adult she will have to earn money by going to her job daily, no one is going to give her money for no effort. You have to model that same system. You want wifi password? Earn it. You want your phone back? Earn it. You want to go out with friends, earn it. The biggest hinderance is parents feeling bad, feeling guilty or giving in because kids push back.
Some kids take longer to grow up. I took the long view with our rebellious teenage daughter. "This is temporary," was my mantra.
In high school, my daughter, Claire, did Running Start in WA State. She got a two-year Associates degree with her high school diploma. She had a 3.5 GPA.
Unfortunately, she wasted our college savings, partying and drinking in Central WA University. After being raped in college at age 19, we set Claire up in Seattle and told her to earn a living. Her dad paid for her car payment, medical insurance with counseling, and car insurance.
"I didn't know you could get a 1.7 GPA," I told her dad, a teacher with a master degree. "Kathy, at 19, I had a 1.5 GPA when I flunked out of college," he replied. "I spent two years traveling in Europe before going back to become a teacher."
For six years, Claire worked as a caregiver for severely mentally ill women in a home care setting. Living with dysfunctional roommates, she had a series of dreadful boyfriends.
My message to Claire was consistent: "I love you and believe in you. You are strong and intelligent. Your inner strength will help you say no to alcohol, drugs and negative people, and finish college."
Good news! While working, Claire took college classes part-time. Last year, the Univ. of Wshington gave her a full ride scholarship.
In March 2018, Claire, 28, graduated from the University of Washington with a 3.9 GPA and a bachelor degree in Health Studies. Claire and her boyfriend, Matt, bought a house together. Matt proposed to her last New Year's Eve at the Seattle Space Needle. They are engaged.
The Univ. of Washington identified Claire as one of the top 50 graduates in her program. They sent Claire's contact information to medical recruiters. Claire was recruited by Fred Huchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle for a full time job. She is very happy.
The truth is more frightening still. She might be responding to truths we adults are not privy to. Like, college no longer helps you get a good paying job, and in fact will more likely just landed you in overwhelming debt. Most kids today graduate with over fifty think in debt they will never pay off, and their degree will not really help them unless it is inath or science. The chances of home ownership are practically nil. If they do secure a job, it's likely to not provide a living wage. Most successful people are those who create their own jobs, as content creators and who network online. Sure, it isn't enough to just be cute and have a ton of intlstagram followers...or is it? Content creators are eliminating the middle man and taking money directly from sources like monetization and patreon. Stores like Etsy and Amazon allow people direct market wears and crafts. Web creation and ad revenue has made millions of people who make a living wage just chatting into a camera. The world is changing band our formula doesn't exist anymore. Maybe you should encourage her to take better classes, like adobe and web design. It's a different market for them. With my kid, I'm trying to learn it and help him make decisions that prepare him for that world. He knows it very well, but I'm clueless. Good luck.
When she is done high school she needs to start paying rent and her other expenses or move out. A reallity check or two never hurts anyone. If she elects to go to collegy or university at your discretion you may decide to reduce the rent or even assist her, but by then you have set the ground rules.
At this point, her epiphany may not come from you, but from hard lessons she learns herself. Her motivation has to come from within her. If she isn't working in order to operate her most prized posession herself...her phone...perhaps start squeezing her to perform before you continue providing it. Might as well get a little tough. Teenagers are going to dislike you anyway!