Change is hard for many people, especially our teens.
When they are presented with an opportunity or scenario where change is required the fears start to kick in.
Fear of failure!
Fear of the Unknown!
Fear of GOOP (The Good Opinion of People)
These are all legitimate fears but when faced, almost always are rewarding.
As our teens grow they will have to make decisions that have a larger impact on them in the future. Sometimes these hard decisions are in direct challenge to a passion they want to pursue. Oftentimes, they forgo following that passion because the thought of change needed to go for it it’s scary and that fear keeps them from choosing to follow it.
Many times, it is us the parents, who are fearful of that path and the changes and challenges that come along with it. We love our kids but are anxious about how things will turn out for them so we carefully teach then to choose a different path.
I wanted to be a Child Psychologist as a teen. I had undiagnosed ADHD, did poorly in school and struggled with focus. My parents knew I was good with people and suggested I try the Hospitality Field. I listened and for most of my career was working in a field I was good at but that did not really resonate with me. It paid the bills! I thankfully have come full circle and now get to do what I love but as a coach.
I don’t have any regrets because things worked out for me and I ended up doing what I love. My son wants to be a professional drummer. He is in college for a Music Business Degree, but trust me, I worry too about the difficulty of making a career of that.
When I watch him play, I am amazed at the level of talent he displays. His ADHD is certainly a factor in his focus with drums. This is a perfect example of ADHD working to a persons advantage. Many kids with ADHD may struggle with what bores them but what excites them, they excel in.
I want him to know I believe in him and I want him to believe in himself. The regret he would have for not going for it and the resentment he would possibly have toward me and my wife for dissuading him from doing it seem much more painful than the fear of watching him go for it and give it his best. I trust that he will figure it out and if he doesn’t make it, he is going to be just fine. This is all part of the journey of growth and learning.
I am certainly not saying we should not intervene at times and make sure they don’t make a choice that can have devastating consequences but a little pain won’t kill them. It will help build resilience and a growth mindset.
Next time your teen struggles with a big decision or as a parent, you struggle watching the path they choose, just remember this:
The Pain of regret is far worse than the pain of failure. There is no lesson in regret, just a feeling of loss and self disappointment. Failure can hurt, but the lessons are priceless and regret and resentment don’t get to rear their ugly heads.