Both my kids have leadership skills but now, as teens, they hold back because they are self-conscious. Will they outgrow this stage? Or should I push them to take leadership roles?

Sometimes we can help most by doing nothing — or very little. If parents just charge in without thinking, fireworks can erupt and shoot dangerously off course before anyone even knows what’s happened. More times than parents would like to admit, they have made the mistake of stepping forward, getting involved, talking too much and expressing what they thought was the best approach — only to wish later that they had just kept their mouth shut. Beware of over-involvement. Try smiles an humor instead. Try to relate to your teen with more objectivity and lightheartedness. Step back. See what happens if you wait a bit.

You might also want to engage in a dialogue on personal values. Teens have their own unique values, and it is very important to let them surface. It might be helpful to have your teen write down his or her values. Write yours down too. And share them with each other. A note of extreme caution: Don’t try to impose your values onto your teen! Teens must discover, identify, and own their values — and not simply replicate yours. A few guidelines for parents: Recognize the strengths of your teen’s values, support the values cited by your teen, and encourage open discussions on the topic of values. You may discover that taking a leadership role is not important to your teen! (...continue reading)