I give 16-year-old Tara Houghton's mom and dad a lot of credit. When Tara went to them with her idea of starting a business making colored stickers for the bottoms of shoes that mimic Christian Louboutin's trademark red soles, they didn't dismiss it as a crazy scheme, they helped her find a manufacturer. Now Tara's company, Rosso Solini, is doing so well her father works for her full time. Lesson for parents: Take your teen's dreams seriously and help her to make them happen!
It's easy to get into the habit of only half-paying attention to adolescent rambling. From the time they learn how to talk, our kids are coming to us with all kinds of wild ideas: Mommy, let's get a zebra and build him a house in the backyard! Hey, why can't we just push a button and make the car fly over all this traffic? Fun concepts, admittedly, but usually completely impossible to pull off. By the time our kids are teenagers, we've unfortunately become quite skilled in the art of listening with one ear and delivering a standard neither discouraging nor encouraging reply: Mmm-hmm. Yes, "Zig-Zag" would be a good name for a zebra. We'll see.
I say "unfortunately" because sometimes teens actually have really great ideas, the kind of ideas that could set them on a successful path for life, but we don't realize their potential because we're used to not really listening to our kids. They can't achieve their goals without our encouragement -- it's sad to think how many flashes of teen inspiration have burned out because parents didn't fan the flames.
Do you think you take your teen seriously enough?
Image via Rosso Solini/Flickr