HAVING A TEENAGER? YES….WE ALL UNDERTAND HOW HARD IT IS!
I will be writing a few posts in the next couple of weeks about teenagers, changes that occur in this age and ideas to help them be successful with school.
As I was just reading another blog post with parent concerns with studying and practice, I wanted to start the process somewhere. This is going to be a very “quickly-written on the spot” blog post with some ideas that I just started thinking about. Comments with feedback and criticism welcome!
Think About The Social Aspect Of Your Child’s Learning
Social pressure becomes more and more important as your child gets into the teenage years!
At this age you want the “pressure” to come from your child’s peers, not from you! The positive peer pressure that is! We all know that teenagers start refusing any parent guidance. The more you push, the more they would resist. It is their time to emotionally detach from their parents. Find ways to use this to your advantage.
Provide an environment where your child can make friends with kids with similar interests. You want to make sure that your child gets the right influence. Then…don’t pressure, just guide them into doing their work by belonging.
With music that may mean joining Orchestra or a class where your child can play with others. I have talked to many parents who have shared that their child’s enthusiasm drops in the teenage years and they have lost their interest in practicing. With most of the parents I have talked to, they have kept their child’s learning the same way they did when they were young. They would practice in a room by themselves receiving guidance from their teacher and parent only. Practicing in an isolated room could become pointless in the mind of a teenager. Your child will need to feel connection to others while making and thinking about music.
If simply motivation is the issue, then enroll your child in the orchestra in a school or a program where the pressure is not very high. This way they can just “be”. Let the other kids in the program do the motivating for you.
If raising the level of playing is the issue, then you would want to look for more advanced program or a class where ALL kids in class want to succeed.
Have your child be helpful to younger students
Community service and helping others can work wonders in developing your teenager; character and helping them realize things about others themselves.
I do a lot of peer tutoring in my music program. I require each advanced student to work with an younger child. This is extremely important to develop character in all students.
In a music class/studio that can be helping a younger beginner practice, helping the teacher organize their studio, having practice party while inviting an younger student, etc.
Often I use or suggest community service as a way to fight “attitude” problems. As a child gets to help somebody else, they learn to appreciate their own family and develop values.