There’s another reason this is important – and it’s not just about keeping them busy. It has to do with dignity. When we help our teenagers develop a skill, we give them a sense of self-worth that may help them resist some of the more dangerous pressures to gain acceptance by their peers.
Build their confidence
When we help our teenagers develop a skill, we give them a sense of self-worth.
Having a skill builds confidence, gives purpose, and in the case of a testing teenager who shares a home with a compliant sibling, may just save the day. The reason behind this is not hard to fathom. That testing teenager lives all her life with the knowledge that in most of the categories of family life her compliant sibling scores ‘A’s. She’s not stupid; she knows her parents love her sister’s sunny disposition and the way she’s always asked to take the lead in school plays.
She watches in despair as her sister helps around the house, cleans out the rabbit cage, and greets guests and makes them coffee. And all of this creates two opposing emotions in her. First, she sometimes thinks she hates her sister for being such a creep, but second, another part of her longs for the acceptance and praise that she senses her sister enjoys from her parents. She believes there is nothing in her life that her sister can’t do better than her.
But now she has taken up ice-hockey. She’s at the rink at least three evenings a week, and she can’t remember now how she had so much time to hang around every evening outside the local corner shop. Every weekend she’s in a match. And the really cool thing is that she knows her parents are proud of her. They still have loads of rows in the house and her goody-two-shoes sister is still top of the pile in every other category – except for this. And when she scores a goal or even just makes a great pass, she senses her parents on the rink-side, smiling … And it makes her feel warm inside and kind of special.