How-To Build HOPE in your Teenager
Build Hope in your Teenager: What makes us get up in the morning, look forward to our day? What makes us do things that we do? They all stem from a simple, yet very powerful word. HOPE.
Why would you do something if you do not have hope. If you think that it will mean nothing, or it is hopeless. No one would. So, it is comfortable to say that “If anything gets accomplished in life, then it is because of hope”.
As parents we need to build hope in our teenagers. In Christianity, we say that hope is one of the three things that last.
Hope makes us stable. Hope gives us courage to face life, and joy to endure and overcome it. It is the dreams that feeds up. It is hope which makes us get past and through tough times. Therefore, it’s no wonder we need hope to survive.
One of the main reasons people commit suicide is because they have lost hope.
I cannot say that I am not a concerned parent. The purpose of my blog is to ease the pain of one worried parent. It is not possible If I do not spend time addressing the topic of “Hope”. And how to build hope in your teenager.
Topics Covered in This Blog
- What is hope
- Difference between Hope and Optimism
- Myths about hope
- 12 Types of hope
- 15 Benefits of Hope to your teenager
- 5 Steps – Process of Hope
- Tools to measure hope
- How to build hope in Your teenager
- Caution to Parents
What is hope
Late Professor C. R. Synder is one of the pioneers in the field of positive psychology. He is also best known for his work on Hope and Forgiveness.
He states in his “theory of hope” that Hope is defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways.
The biggest threat to hope is one’s own past bad experiences or their own emotions.
When the individual feels things have moved beyond their grasp, they start feeling hopeless.
When people with high levels of hope face these threats, they look at it as a challenge to overcome rather than a barrier to concede defeat.
Difference between Hope and Optimism
The key ingredients of having a positive mental attitude is Hope and optimism.
So, lets also spend some time understanding these two words.
Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Optimism: Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. A tendency to take favorable or hopeful view.
The two words are not one and the same. But, they are also not mutually exclusive. E.g. “I hope she recovers. But I’m not very optimistic about it.”.
Hope is an emotion. It is an active process where one has hope and follows a process to achieve the goal.
However, when you are optimistic you have a better degree of certainty, of the outcome or the situation, or stronger belief for an outcome you desire.
Unlike the optimistic approach hope does not rely on others or luck, but, on effort to achieve an outcome.
If you like to know more, read this article from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201702/whats-the-difference-between-optimism-and-hope
Some Myths about Hope
Know about few myths about Hope so that you will be clear when you try to build hope in your teenager.
Hope is Not a Gamble
Gamble is based on pure luck. You win or you lose. Hope is not a gamble. One can have hope when they have lost too. Or face ill luck.
Hope is not Wishful thinking
This means hope is not wishful thinking. When we wish, we are ambiguous. We wish, when we know there is very less chance of the outcome to be arrive at. It is passive, it’s just a thought. Hope, however, is a commitment to seek the future outcome.
Hope is not Optimism
It can come as a surprise to you. It did for me. Hope and optimism are not highly related. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760701409546). The main deference is that an optimistic person can feel that “Somehow” (Luck, miracles, others help, or own effort), their desired outcome will be achieved. However, a person with hope, believes that their own effort and plan will help them achieve the desired outcome.
Hope is not Want
Want is a desire, which is a strong feeling with no plan. Just a need. Something that we wish to happen. Hope is more active and constructive.
12 Types of Hope
There are many types of hope. There are different variations to it. I have outlined few of them.
Living / Inborn Hope – This is the basic living hope that you are born with. The hope that you will wake up tomorrow. Hope that everything will go as per plan, etc… (You set your alarm clock or fix a meeting in future because of this type of hope).
You see children tell you things like “When I grow big. I will be…”, due to this hope.
Abundant Hope: This is when you feel there is always joy and hope in this world and all around you. Blessings are always around the corner and there is a glorious future that awaits.
Reliable Hope: That things will work out and we will never be put to shame. You will always be blessed and come out victoriously.
Borrowed Hope – You get hope to face a situation because someone believes that you can do it. You get the confidence from them. You start looking at things from how they see you to be. You start believing in yourself and your abilities. For example, when a parent tells their child, “you can do it, you are capable, I trust your capability.”
Bargainer’s Hope – This is more of a barter system of sorts. Where you almost bribe the creator or the person who can influence your situation. You try to get your desired output based on what you have committed to give in return.
The other way around, is based on certain beliefs that you have.
Example, if you have a belief system that if you help underprivileged children with education, then your child will automatically do well in academics.
Sure Hope: This is based on experience. And how things worked out for you in the past. For example: I had lost my job in the past, but I got a job again. So, I have hope that I will get one this time too.
Unrealistic Hope – This is having a grandeur opinion about how things will turn out to be. The feeling that they are set to conquer the world and be the best.
Teenagers tend to harbour such unrealistic hope at times. There is nothing wrong with this if they put the needed effort and try to achieve it.
Just having the hope with no plan or effort it is only wishful thinking.
Example you want to be the best cricketer in this world.
Desperate or “Hope against Hope” Hope: This is the type of hope that you have when you feel hopeless. When all is lost. Then you have nothing but Hope left.
False Hope – As the name suggests, it is no hope at all. A lot of marketing gimmicks provide a false sense of hope.
Some examples are: The common WhatsApp messages we get, that states, “send to 10 people and blessing will come upon you.” Or If you use a particular deodorant, you will automatically have many girlfriends.
Spiritual hope: One that is based on god’s love, mercy, blessing, grace etc. Hope in Gods words or promises. Hope based out of faith.
Mature Hope – This is where one hopes, plans, puts in efforts, and waits. They have a meaning and purpose to what they are doing, and do it to be true to the purpose.
Immovable or firm Hope: The strong belief that the desired outcome is sure to happen. No matter what the situation, circumstance or the facts tell, it is an unswerving, unyielding hope. We can see such hope in persons, who we feel are extremely hopeful even in a lost situation. (Battling cancer, Career wreck etc…)
Some of the topics you might be interested to read are…
- How to Prepare your Teenager Face Challenges in Life
- How-To HELP & EASE stress in your teenager
- How to influence your teenager’s mental well-being
15 Benefits of Hope in your teenager
When you get to know the the Benefits of Hope in your teenager, you will automatically know why you need to build hope in your teenager.
Below, I have outlined 15 important benefits of hope to your teenager.
- When one has hope they can endure any type of adversity.
- Improves resilience in your teenager.
- Can positively face challenging life events.
- They can have an optimistic outlook of future irrespective of the circumstances.
- Hope improves Performance (Academic or Sports)
- It enhances the over all mental well-being of your teen.
- It is also found that people with high hope have a positive outlook which helps them to be physically healthy also.
- Protects teens from anxiousness, depression.
- Hope is crucial to prevent suicidal tendencies.
- Changes the attitude of your teen (They start looking at stressful situation as a challenge)
- Hope empowers, encourages, and motivates teens to act and move forward.
- Helps teen to be positively involved in life.
- Improves overall life satisfaction.
- They have a positive outlook of self, world, and future.
- Hope helps your teenager to achieve their goals.
Some of the topics you might be interested to read are…
- How-to find out if your teenager is battling depression?
- How-to find out suicidal tendency in your teen?
- How-To SPOT & DEAL with Teenage Anxiety Issues
The process of hope
A person with hope understands that the odds or luck may or may not be in their favor. Their current situation holds no relevance to the hope they have. They have a desire to overcome obstacles and meet their goal.
So, they follow the following process that will make them well set to achieve their desire.
Step 1: They set goals for themselves.
Step 2: They have or start developing specific strategies to reach the goals they have set.
Step 3: They self-motivate and cultivate the ability to find and maintain the motivation to pursue their strategies.
Step 4: They work out strategies to move away from negative thoughts, so hopelessness does not set in.
Step 5: Based on learning, feedback and experience they tweak their course of action and move forward towards their goal.
So, when they do all this, they become more and more hopeful to meet their goals. And they build resilience and not stop till their hope becomes a reality.
In technical terms, it is the Snyder, Irving & Anderson hope theory. (Goals Thinking, Pathways Thinking, Agency Thinking, barriers)
You might be interested to read about the topics How to help with poor academic performance in your teen and How to Help Your Teen Make a Career Choice. They are related to this process outlined above.
Tools to measure Hope
There are many tools to measure hope some are listed below.
- The Adult Hope Scale (AHS)
- State Hope Scale (SHS)
- The Herth Hope Index (HHI)
- The Children’s Hope Scale (CHS; Snyder et al., 1997)
- The Herth Hope Scale (HHS; Herth, 1991)
- The Miller Hope Scale (MHS; Miller, 1988)
- The Adult Dispositional Hope Scale
- The Adult Domain Specific Hope Scale
If you like to know more… you can read more about them in the below mentioned links. http://positivepsychology.org.uk/hope-theory-snyder-adult-scale/ and https://positivepsychology.com/hope-therapy/
10 ways to build hope in your teenager
Conceptualise clear goals
To build hope in your teenager you will have to work with your teenager to set goals. It can be anything. Right from career choices to a sports achievement.
Do not impose your goals on them. Make them set clear goals for themselves. That way, they own their goals and work towards achieving them.
Once they have set their goals, work with them and help them break these goals from a macro perspective to micro level sub goals.
These sub goals act as milestones for your teenager. It keeps them from being overwhelmed by their big dreams. And helps them achieve one step at a time and ultimately reach their destination which is the final goal.
Visualise (Hopeful imagination)
Help them visualize the goal. Let them feel how it would be to achieve their goal. What they would do when they achieve their goal and how they will benefit by achieving the goal.
Help them to visualize by talking to you about it. Ask them hypothetical questions so that they can visualize more clearer and better.
It can even be questions like when you become a famous cricketer, will I have to go through your security guard to meet you?
Such questions will not only help your teenager visualize things in a much detail way but also tell them that you believe in their goal as much as they do.
And through this, ‘borrowed hope’ starts playing along with their own hope and they start trusting in their abilities. This will build hope in your teenager.
Explore strategies to attain the goals
Work with your teenager to explore different strategies or ways by which they can achieve their goals. Brainstorm with them or discuss with them to come up with multiple ideas. This will help build hope in your teenager.
Example if your child has a goal to become an engineer. Talk to them about the different ways they can achieve it. Ways such as…
- They can go for some classes.
- Spend an hour everyday concentrating on the subjects that need to be prepared for the entrance exam.
- They can do combined studies with friends who have similar goals.
- Solve previous years’ question papers of the entrance exam.
- They can do projects that they can show case during the interview.
And a lot more.
Come up with a plan together and have a schedule or timetable made. So that it gets incorporated in your teen’s day to day life…
Do spend some time to read our article How to Train you teenager to be smart.
Learning from past failures to change future course.
Help your teen contemplate, so that they can make references to past failures that they have had.
Make them look at these failures as stepping stones for future success.
Talk and discuss with them so that they can see the mistakes. The ones that they have committed, so that, they are able to learn from it.
When your teenager learns from their mistakes, they immediately become wise. They will then change the future course of action. By doing this, they have a better chance for success. And you can build hope in your teenager
Meet obstacles as a challenge
When you meet obstacles along the way, one has 2 options. You can give up or you can pursue. When kids have high hope. They will look at obstacle as a change to be faced and overcome and not as a barrier or a brick wall that is made to halt their goals.
Keep showing these options to your teen. Make them look at the obstacles as challenge to overcome. This will build hope in your teenager.
Motivate them to keep trying. This will not only help your teen to move forward to meet their goal, it will also start building resilience in your teenager.
Bring about positive perspective
This point is somewhere related to the last 2 point: When a teenager meets a challenge or when a teenager has faced with failure in the past.
Teach them how to look at it with the positive perspective. Teach them to ask questions such as…
- What is this failure trying to teach me?
- How can I move past this obstacle?
When your teenager starts learning to look at failures in a positive perspective then there is nothing called failure in your teenager’s life. They all become learning experiences and it only takes them closer and closer to success.
Keep practicing this at home. Make a conscious decision to make your teen look at positive perspectives and outcomes. Ask them to talk you about it.
Reward them when they can look at it in a positive way. Talk proudly about this when your teen does it. Because it is an achievement by itself. And it also helps build hope in your teenager.
I have seen my elder son do this a lot. He keeps telling himself that he can do it. It is possible. He is going to do this. Etc…
And I have also been amazed at how many times the words that he has uttered to himself has come true
Positive self-talk is a way to short circuit your brain to believe in the outcome you desire. It is also an effective way to drown out the negative voice in you head or that which others bring in.
Motivate your teen when they have doubts
Everyone is human. Emotions do run wild. Failures are certainties of life. And all these can in one way or the other play with your brain. They can become barriers that demotivate your teen from proceeding further.
Sometimes when the best of efforts fail, it can really be painful. It can even cause an aversion towards achieving the goal. These are exactly the times when parents need to step in, so that your teen can borrow confidence and hope from you and move forward.
Help them with a good break if you must. And motivate them start again. Tell them that you still believe in their abilities. And you have no doubts that they will achieve what they set out to.
Tell stories of success
Do tell you teen good old stories of success. These days you have enough and more motivational videos out there to inspire Your teen.
You can quote your own examples of success or failure and show your teen the valuable lessons that you have learnt. Or give them examples of how you succeeded.
Encourage them to read books and biographies. This works wonders and creates a good impression on the young brain.
Motivational quotes or sayings or wisdom for the day are also a good way to start the day. All this effort will build hope in your teenager.
Have supportive set of people around you
I have felt that there are times that you as a parent might also be as involved into your teenagers’ goal or and vision. That some setbacks of failures that happened along the way can even demotivate you.
In such situation it is always better when you have the rest of your family or supportive set of people around you to help. They can speak wisdom and knowledge to your ears. So that you and you teen can pick things up and move on. And face the challenge that has come in your way.
Trusted and supportive set of people can also work as an extra pair of eyes. Who can watch and call out the mistakes that has been committed and help you in your course.
This is where strong family relations pay a vital part. Get to know more from our article How to build positive family relationship with your teen
Place your Trust on God
For families with spiritual inclination, it is also beneficial to teach your teen to have faith. To place their trust in God and do their best.
Faith in your creator will lessen the burden you carry since you feel you have the Almighty with you and by your side.
Encourage your teen to pray or meditate about their goals and plans. If possible, have family prayers where all members of the family pray for each other and your teen’s goals. This positively impacts your teen.
Caution to Parents…
While now you will be fairly convinced that you would need to build hope in your teenager, it is also important for me to highlight some of the things that you need to watch out for.
Be very weary of false hope or unrealistic hope. The outcome of having this type of hope either leads to feeling dejected or depressed because they were false in the first place. Or feeling burnt out, worn out or overwhelmed because the hope that your teenager can carry is unrealistic.
Also, this can lead to unwise decisions and a series of failures if the hopes of your teen falls in these categories.
To know more about teen related challenges, you can browse through our exhaustive list of articles. Follow the link -> Parenting challenges faced while raising teenagers.
Hope is more than just a desire or a want or a wish. It is action-oriented strength that comes from within. With hope, your teenager will be motivated to pursue their goals.
Yes, hope comes and goes. And motivation levels can fluctuate. But with help from your side, with patience, perseverance, and practice you can always lift them up.
When you build hope in your teenager, this hope gives your teen a powerful shot of motivation. It drives them to find new ways to achieve their goals. And pushes them forward towards achievement. And you can stand tall and proud applauding them.
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