I was talking to a parent this weekend and she was anxious about her teen doing alot of outside activities and not focusing on study for her NCEA level 3. It’s a tough one because a parent doesn’t want to keep a lid on teenagers striving for success or developing themselves but on the other hand the school exams are very important. This teenager is exceptional at sport and has many opportunities to participate. The parent was doing really well in setting boundaries around her daughters activities. She was encouraging of her sport but also clear that it was an important year and studies couldn’t slip. The mother’s other boundary was with her daughters boyfriend. She always picks her daughter up from wherever she is or drops the two teens off where ever they might want to go. No stay overs are allowed unless at a close girlfriends place.
I reassured this parent that she was doing exactly the right things and reminded her that a teenagers brain is not fully developed as yet and in particular in the decision-making area. Therefore teens really do need guides, parents and boundaries to help them make good decisions.
Fortunately this teen has listened to her mum as her mother overheard her saying to her sports coach that she cannot compete now until the next school holidays – what a great decision!