You’ve likely heard of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, but maybe you aren’t ready to commit to reading another book that promises high but fails to deliver.
So to save you some time, we’ve done the legwork for you and have compiled a list of the 7 habits that highly effective teens develop.
1. Be Proactive
Part of the reason teenagers struggle with the transition from childhood to adulthood is because they are expected to be more accountable for their behavior. When they were children, they got used to being told what to do in every aspect of their lives. But as they age and gain more freedom, they may not always use it responsibly.
Successful teens take responsibility not only for their present actions but also the ones they have yet to make. They know that their current choices have an impact on their future and knowingly make decisions based on that knowledge.
This can be harder for some teens to accept than for others, and may require specialized therapy to help struggling teens learn to approach life proactively.
2. Begin With The End In Mind
One way teens can learn to be more proactive is by identifying where they want to be in 10, 20, and 30+ years. While still in middle school and high school, it is easy for them to skate by doing the bare minimum and postponed thinking about the future.
But by having concrete goals in mind, those teens will have a much higher likelihood of success rather than those who have vague, undefined goals.
3. Put First Things First
Again, this may be hard for your teen since they may not be used to prioritized on their own. Organized parents fill in a child’s priorities, because if children had their way, no chores would be done, most children would never be clean, and they would eat dessert first.
Instead of your teens leaving the home and living their childhood dream at college, help them start prioritizing on their own. You may need to prompt them to start, but unless they choose something drastically life-altering (dropping out of high school to start working at McDonald’s), you should allow them to set their own priorities.
4. Think Win-Win
Teens who develop the habit of working for compromises not only learn to be less selfish but also develop strong leadership skills. It can be difficult at first for them to learn to compromise, as it is natural to want to get your way, but it is a valuable skill for them to learn before they fully enter the adult world.
5. Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
This habit can be difficult for teens, especially if they are like many other teens who are habitually convinced that they are right about everything.
Effective teens will learn to give and take when it comes to being understood. Whether it be on race relations, politics, or other hot button topics, help teen learn to listen to others, ask questions and let others explain their side. Your teen may even learn that they don’t know everything!
As teens learn to synergize, they will learn to achieve their wants and needs while combining them with the wants and needs of those around them.
They can practice this skill with you when they make special requests. Remind them that good synergy is much like a good compromise: it isn’t a “my way or the highway” situation but what they will likely have to do with their own romantic partners, roommates, coworkers and their own children.
So if they want the car for a date and you are concerned about the care of the vehicle, allow your teen to work with you on how to meet both your needs. Maybe they wash the car on the weekends, learn to change the oil and other parts of car maintenance, so that both your needs get met.
7. Sharpen The Saw
The last habit a highly effective teen develops is taking time for themselves. Areas for them to hone are:
These areas may have different meanings depending on your teen. Encourage them to define what they mean to your teen and help them define how they will hone each area.
If you’d like to look into a more in-depth explanation of these habits, we highly recommend you read Sean Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.