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Sense of purpose and our teens - how do we nurture this?

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Sense of purpose and our teens - how do we nurture this?


Sense of purpose and our teens - how do we nurture this?

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My 16 year old daughter seems to live life purely in the moment and that moment is usually with iPhone in hand.


I must admit I spend a fair bit of time worrying about her - but I know that as soon as I try and steer a conversation towards self knowledge, purpose and direction - she gets very prickly or shuts down. I don't know how best to guide her to even start thinking about life on a bigger scale than Instagram, Facebook and Netflix.


Don't get me wrong, she's 16 - she SHOULD be living in the moment - that I believe with all my heart.


But at the same time I really want her to start be passionate about stuff. To care about things, causes, events. To learn about herself. And eventually carve out that strong sense of self that I believe is necessary for living a life with purpose - which is what we all want for our kids isn't it?


Here is an awesome article (ReachOut approved)


Would love to hear what you guys think about this. How do we develop that sense of purpose in our teens? After reading the article, Number 2 resonated with me the most and its the approach I guess I try as much as possible - focusing on strengths and values of our teen. But I have to say I get eye rolling more than any genuine engagement


I stress about this internally A LOT. Have any members here had success with fostering this sense of purpose?





Star contributor

Re: Sense of purpose and our teens - how do we nurture this?

Hey there @Beingme2017 oh I love this part of the article "Ask youth to imagine things have gone as well as they could have hoped, and now they’re 40 years of age". Scope!


This is an interesting one, keen to hear everyone's thoughts. I think perhaps there could be fear. Fear to try, fear to fail. Young people are very outcome driven (our fault I must admit, society at large that is).  It's not cool to care could be a facade and truly mean "I could quite easily fail". I think teaching young people failures are the foundation of many of the world's greats, and really actively listening to the small things which excite them.


I had a frustrating conversation with my fourteen year old brother the other day. He's so talented with hip hop and rap, and makes these really amazing videos about his insight regarding the industry. But basically shares them with nobody. "Chuck these on youtube!" I said "No, there's like A MILLION other people already doing that." Me -  "So? No idea is original anymore, you've already done the work... you need to upload this!". He rolled his eyes at me. I need to hope that an element of the conversation sunk in, maybe down the line he will inspire himself.

Super star contributor

Re: Sense of purpose and our teens - how do we nurture this?

It is an awesome article, thanks for sharing @Beingme2017. I agree that gaining a sense of purpose and fostering it in our teens is important. It's definitely something I want for my daughter because I believe purpose is happiness. I really like the approaches discussed, and number 5, 'Focus on the far horizon' really stood out in particular for me, closely followed by 'Foster gratitude'.


Number 5 is kind of how we're operating at the moment - starting at the anticipated end goal, the far horizon, then tracking back to see how my daughter can get there, setting up the steps, then working towards achieving that goal. 


@Breez-RO I really liked your thoughts about failure, and agree it's something we need to build more resilience around in our teens as well.  


Keep encouraging your brother too, he sounds really talented! There may be many out there but we all have something unique to offer Smiley Happy