How to Train you teenager to be smart
Train you teenager to be smart: Being smart can give huge advantages in the life of anyone. It can make a person achieve his/her goal a lot easier, it can attract people, and it can help a person all throughout their career.
As parents, all we want is for our teenagers to be successful and happy in life. We want them to achieve all their dreams and goals. And we want them to have friends who will support all their decisions. We want them to have a good career in life.
But, achieving this requires something; your teenager must be smart. Your teenager must be smart in life, smart in decision making and a people smart person. But intelligence differs from person to person.
No two people have the same level of intelligence. Some people have the talent to draw but cannot speak a lot of languages, but on the other hand some can speak various languages but cannot draw.
The intelligence of your teenager is different from you and/or her/his siblings and peers. It depends on different factors such as genetics, experience, and talent. But it is possible to make your teenager smart.
You can train your teenager to be a smarter individual. And you can teach them to be good in something with just a little effort. You can improve their wit and knowledge.
But what should you do to to train your teenager to be smart? How can you make them be better? Here are a few of these simple tips and tricks.
Topics Covered in this blog..
- What really is smartness?
- 10 things you should do before you train you teenager to be smart?
- 20 Ways to train you teenager to be smart
- Note to parents
- Video Time – Experts Speak
What really is smartness?
There are many words out there that are usually confused with and used interchangeably with the word “smartness”.
For example, words such as Knowledge, intelligence, Smartness, Wisdom etc. Though they sound similar they do not have the same meanings.
As per dictonary.com:
Knowledge: Is facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education
Intelligence: Is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
Smartness: Is having or showing a quick-witted intelligence.
Wisdom: Is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment
This blog is all about how to make our kids smart. (Smartness). Maybe I will write about the other three sometime in future blogs.
10 things you should do before you train you teenager to be smart.
The responsibility raising up and parenting a teen to become a successful adult, lies with us, parents. Hence, before we start going into the core of the matter which is how to train you teenager to be smart, there are few things hat we need to know, as parents.
As a parent, you must remember that teenagers are very sensitive individuals. They can not only get happy and excited with the simplest of things but also, they can get sad and anxious due to those simple things.
Every teenager has his/her own talents and abilities; each one is different from the other.
It is the same with your teenager. So, do not compare them with yourself or with their siblings or peers in terms of intelligence.
‘Smart’ is a term used to describe someone who has the cognitive ability to think fast, logically and correct. And, smartness is something that anyone can achieve, even your teenager.
It is something that can be gained from knowledge, hard work, experiences, and perseverance.
So, I want you to evaluate yourself with the 10 points listed below to confirm that you have done all that is within your controlling power to embark on the journey to train you teenager to be smart.
# 1: Do it for the sake of your teenager
Always remember that you are setting out to train you teenager to be smart. You will train your teenager to be smart for their well-being.
Do not do it to meet the expectations of others or your own expectations. If you do that, it will only lead to frustration and disappointment.
It will only add pressure to the life of your teenager if you do it for the sake of other people’s expectation. This in turn can lead to depression and other issues as they might feel inadequate when they dont meet the expectations.
Read more about depression in our article How-to find out if your teenager is battling depression?.
# 2. Be gentle and sympathetic
As I have mentioned earlier, teenagers are sensitive individuals. It is a highly impressionable age. Make sure to be gentle especially when you are teaching or correcting them.
Be careful that you don’t put them down or make them feel inferior or dumb when you do so. Affirm that smartness means, it is always better to not know something and to ask and learn than to remain silent and never learn.
Always put yourself in their shoes. In this way, you can gain more understanding about the feelings of your teenager. It can also help you come up with the right approach or even a better solution.
Read our article How to Get your Point Across to Your Teenager To help you with this.
# 3. Put trust in your teenager
Everyone is talented in their own way. Your teenager is smart. But, only with constant guidance and support will your teenager continue being smart. As a parent, it is your duty to help them. Have trust in your teenager’s ability because definitely, they have something within themselves. If not, then ask yourself if it is your own expectation because of which you are not able to see the capabilities of your child.
And when they know that you trust them, they see healthy expectations and they do their best to live up to it.
This is also one of the effective ways of building self confidence in your teenager. To know other ways of building self-confidence read our article How to develop self-confidence in your teenager,
# 4. Practice authoritative parenting
There are 4 types of parenting. Authoritative style of parenting is one of the best.
Authoritative style of parenting is one where there is love, affection, nurturing, and warmth.
At the same time there are healthy boundaries, respect, open communication, responsiveness and positive disciplining.
# 5. Be an available parent.
Nothing, absolutely nothing beats this point. To be available does not mean that you must be sitting in your house 24/7 waiting for your child to come to you.
It is creating a feeling in your child that you are available for them whenever they need you`.
Being available for your child increases the emotional connection that you have with your child. There are many other ways of increasing emotional connection with your teenager. You can read our article How-To Easily build Emotional Connection with your Teenager
# 6. Do not be cruel or judgmental
Sometimes, your teen may not live up to your expectations. Or they might do something that you consider not smart or just about anything that you do not like personally. Do not be cruel or snappy in your remarks to a teenager. Because, after all they are children and no one is perfect.
Being cruel and judgmental will only make your teen move away you. And that is something you, as a parent would not want.
When you are consistently cruel and judgmental to your teenager, They will start losing hope in the future. Not just that, they will also doubt their abilities and problem-solving capacities.
To know more about suicide issues in teenager read article How-to find out suicidal tendency in your teen?.
# 7. Fathers need to be involved
Fathers play a very important role when it comes to developing smartness in their children.
When fathers practice authoritarian style of parenting where they engage in setting ground rules and follow positive discipline techniques and expose their children to many situations and nurture them. They indirectly enable their children to be more disciplined and accountable.
It is a proven fact the children with involved fathers tend to behave and do well in Academics compared to children whose fathers are not very involved in their life.
Spend some time and read our very trending articles 11 Amazing ways FATHER’S contribute to child’s success and How-To deal with teen sons – A father’s perspective.
# 8. Do not sweat the small stuff:
Teenagers can be a bit difficult. It is difficult for parents also when their children are being difficult. But you can move beyond it, if you accept that, occasionally, your teenager will test your patience and its just a passing phase.
You could try challenging yourself to see if you are able to look beyond the ruckus they are ruffling up emotionally within you.
So, do not sweat the small stuff. Just let it go or wait it out. Let the situation settle down. Moderate conflict is healthy and with little bit of adjustment it can be a win-win for both of you.
Back-answering is one of the weapons teenagers use. To know how to tackle it read our article How-To Handle Teen Backtalk and Disrespect.
# 9 Be interested and Listen rather than talk at or lecture
Show genuine interest in what your teenager has to say. Listen to them calmly without interrupting them or passing views or judgment.
It is a huge advantage for you as parent if you know what is going inside their heads. Because then, you will be able understand them better. You will be your teen’s confidante if you lend a listening ear.
Also, when you are actively listening to your teen you will feel respected and important. It will give you an opportunity to plan your response to what they have told you.
Also, it will give you an opportunity to open different topics to explore with your teen which will help in guiding them.
Remember there is a difference between ‘Talking with’ your teenager and ‘talking to’ your teenager.
When you are ‘talking to’ your teenager you are mostly giving them instructions or a lecture. Who likes this? We ourselves do not like to hear this from our parents or anybody. Your teen is no different.
However, remember that you are a parent. It is your duty to also tell them when they are wrong. Discipline them when they are wrong. Explain to them why it is wrong. When said using the right tone, your child will not feel judged and will not withdraw. Your child will respect you for it.
# 10. Set a peaceful and nurturing home environment
Look at the environment that you are creating for your teen. Is it one of acceptance and nurturing? Is it peaceful or does the place appear to be a battlefield or minefield?
When you are providing your teen with peaceful environment and consciously setting up your house to nurture creativity and seek knowledge, it works wonder. (You do this having a small place as a library or a room or corner to pursue hobbies).
By giving a secure and peaceful atmosphere at home, you are setting up an environment where you can start to train your kid to be smart.
Be consistent, teenage phase is only for few years. Keep going…
20 Ways to train you teenager to be smart
Training your teenager to be smart is something to be done implicitly. Train your teenager to be smart not by directly telling them to do so but by giving them experience and knowledge until they reach an attainment.
You can train your teenager to be smart with activities that occur inside the house. You can do this on a day to day basis. For sure, this will not put stress and add pressure in your teenager’s life.
Help them gain Knowledge
Learning facts is the best way to make your teenager smart. Make sure to promote learning in the life of your teenager. Good learning can make them smarter. You can make your teenager be informed without putting pressure on them.
Simply share the knowledge that you knew, for example in cooking, share them some facts like what are the benefits of eating vegetables or share to them why it is important to marinate the pork before cooking it.
These may be simple things but remember that it is something your teenager does not know. They are new to this kind of knowledge and as parent you can help them to be informed on things.
So, do not stop or think it is trivial. Keep sharing with them what you know. Also, have resources available for them to teach out to when they are bored.
I always have few books lying around in my house for my sons to pick up. My elder one browses through but the second one sits and reads.
Get them to participate in sports or debates
Sports debates are all types of activities that require a person to think quickly. One needs to react immediately, almost on the spot to what the situation is posing to them.
And when your teenager and engages in such activities they start sharpening their skills to be better and better.
And this means that they are using their knowledge and intelligence and becoming more smarter handling situations that are unstructured and fast changing.
This really helps you to train you teenager to be smart.
Limit screen viewing time
Sometimes I feel. Just doing this one thing is more than enough to prevent kids from becoming brainless zombies. And indirectly train you teenager to be smart.
Nothing good really seems to come out of screen viewing time. Even DIY videos which is the excuse that my kid says he is watching which is good. I feel it is of no use till he keeps the phone down and do the craft he studied.
When he does it. He starts exercising his brain and then creativity and smartness comes in. Just watching DIY videos one after the other is of no benefits to smartness. Except for the maker of the video not to your kid.
Get good Healthy food, Exercise, and good rest
Just the way our body needs nourishment to grow. Our brain needs nourishment also. To think clearly, fast, and smarter.
A simple example for this is: You come home tired after a full day’s work and your son or daughter comes to you with a difficult math problem and ask your help for solving it. Do you think your brain would be full alert to solve the problem?
Imagine they ask you for help first thing in the morning after you had a good night’s rest. Which of these 2 situations you will be better equipped to solve the maths problem?
Give you a kid healthy food specially brain foods. Let them exercise regularly as it improves blood circulation thereby increasing more oxygen flow and more the oxygen is the happier your brain is.
And it is a known thing that teenagers sleep a lot that is because of the hormonal changes they do need more rest. Make sure that your teenager gets adequate rest.
Observe Nature learn silence
Teach your kid to go outside and play. Or encourage them to go for a walk outdoors. Ask them to spend some time watching the waves in the beach if you are living by the seashore. Ask them to be more exposed to sunlight and observe nature.
There are incredible benefits of sunlight to a child and to adults. Sunlight is also one of the key solutions for a moody teenager.
Read about the benefits of sunlight in our article 20 Astonishing benefits of sunlight for kids.
A relaxed work outside breathing in fresh air helps relax your brain. And being one with nature decreases the stress level in your body. All this leads to better thinking skills there by leading to smarter children.
Also teach your kid to have times of silence just the way you would encourage them to have times of activities.
Silence teaches a lot of things. Ask them to observe silence when they feel overwhelmed or frustrated when they are not getting a breakthrough.
Sometimes in this quite periods they will be able too see things clearly. And helps you to train you teenager to be smart.
Encourage them to have at least one hobby
When you encourage your kid to learn at least one hobby of their interest. You are basically trying to help them learn a new skill.
Any new skill needs a fair amount of knowledge and these skills become helpful for your kid to become more creative and there by helping you to train you teenager to be smart.
Ask them question (Real or hypothetical ones. Does not matter)
Always ask questions to your teenager because asking questions is an effective way to train you teenager to be smart. It can help to improve the cognitive ability of your teenager.
The brain is a muscle and just like the regular muscles the more you use it or train it the more effective it can become. Asking questions is a healthy exercise for the brain.
The best way to practice and develop your teenager’s cognitive ability is by raising questions on day to day basis. In this way, your teenager will get opportunity to think and think on their own.
Simply ask them questions like something about their opinion or something that is based on facts.
Ask them the questions like “What can you say about it?” or “Do you think it is the right thing to do?”. “What would you do if this happens?” or “How would you react if it were you?” …
These questions are opinionated meaning there is no right or wrong answer. So, your teenager will not hesitate to answer.
It will also give chance for your teenager to think outside the box and explore possibilities to answer your questions.
If you like to know more about these teen related issues. You can browse through these topics using the given link. Parenting challenges faced while raising teenagers.
Practice their decision making
To train your teenager to be smart, one thing that you need to do as a parent is to practice their decision-making ability.
Decisions are very important aspect of life and it is said that there is no right or wrong decisions only consequences.
Teenager need to develop their decision-making skill because it will make them ready to face challenges in life.
The more capable your teenager in decision making the smarter they are because decision making it a long process.
One of the most important life skills that you as a parent should teach your child is on how to face challenges. If you are wondering ow read our article How to Prepare your Teenager Face Challenges in Life.
Good decisions are based on logic. You will have to think the positive and negative effects or consequences of your action. You need to train them to ask themself a lot of questions like, “what would happen if I chose this?” or what can be effect of taking this course of action?” etc…
if you want to train your teenager to be smart give them the opportunity to take decision on their own. Let them decide of small things, like which career they will take or what kinds of clothes will their wear.
Giving them chance to decide on simple things can really help to make your teen smart and wise in life.
It also will be a guiding factor in choosing right friends or partner.
You might also be interested in reading our article How-to Talk to your Teen about Dating and Relationship
Setting priorities is a habit that smart people always do. Train your teenager to set priorities in life. It can be in a day to day basis where your teenager will have to prioritize the things that they must accomplish, or it can be in a long term such as prioritizing their career.
Setting priority can help your teenager to be smart because it practices their logical ability to organized important things from less important skills. Your teenager can apply setting priorities especially academically.
Teenager has a hectic and busy schedule in school because of this most teenagers are having difficulty to manage their time which in the long run can result in bad grades.
Imagine your teenager can manage time and priorities efficiently, they can cope up with busy schedule and for sure they can get good grades. So, teach your teenager to set priorities. It will help you to train you teenager to be smart.
Set Clear Expectations and Talk highly of them
You need to set clear expectations to your teen so they can live up to it. Be clear about it and do not keep changing the goal when your teen is near it. That will only lead to dissatisfaction.
They always tell that your children will believe and become what you say of them. I remember seeing an interview of Ex – Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi where she told about how her parents would make her talk about hypnotical topics such as ‘if she is the president of India” etc.
Somewhere they were setting expectation that she is not going to be an average achiever. But is going to be an exceptional one. She went to being one.
I have always noticed when I have set clear expectations (mostly in line with my kids’ interest). They have always tried and achieved it.
E.g. I call my daughter ‘math queen’. Guess what her favorite subject is where she gets A+ straight? You are right. Math.
Teach them discipline
Discipline and punishment are not one and the same and they are very different, but we tend to use them interchangeably.
There is positive and negative discipline. Punishment is only a small part of negative disciplining.
When we discipline our teenager. We are trying to help them to modify behaviour or developed our child character or protect them from untoward incidents.
Discipline contains teaching, learning and instructions basis the need.
Do you know that you can effectively discipline your child and build a strong relationship with them? Usually this is not possible when you only focus on punishing the child.
To know more about disciplining your teenager read our article How-To effectively discipline your teenager
Give them responsibilities and accountability
Give your kid chores. Discuss with them on their chores and let them handle it. You can read about the list of chores to give your teenager in our article Chores.
Make the chores as part of their schedule so that they have responsibility and accountability attached to it.
E.g. My elder son is tasked with grocery shopping for the family. He does it every week on Saturday. My second one is tasked with gardening. My little one is takes with taking care of our family pet.
When you give them clear tasks it not only increases their responsibilities and accountability but also, they get smarter and smarter as they go about doing the chores regularly.
Read more about it from our article All You Need to know about Chores for Your Teenager.
There is a saying in Tamil that roughly translates to ‘you can sculpt a masterpiece if you are trained to it”
The first time you do something will be far inferior than the 5th time you do the same thing.
Things keep getting better and better. When you keep repeatedly doing something.
You start becoming efficient and smarter when you keep on doing it.
So, teach kids perseverance. Encourage them wen they are a bit down. And get them back on their feet to try once again. Teach them to fall forward and bounce back and proceed.
Teach your control emotions and be receptive
When your kid can a control their emotions it will help them to make the right decisions in a sensible manner. Rather than making emotional ones at the heat of the moment.
These decisions that is made at the spur of the moment without thinking might turn out to be wrong and be a mistake that your teenager might regret for a long time.
Also, when your teenager can control their emotions and make sensible decisions, they have better control on the outcome. These decisions are well thought out and looked from all angles that the teenager is aware of before committing to it.
When your teenager is bundle of nerves and not able to control emotions the teenager’s mind is not very receptive or open to listen to others or hear suggestions.
It makes it difficult for them to look at a situation from different point of view and get out of the situation that they are currently in.
Also, these emotions can keep others a little bit away from your teenager and not reach out to them to help.
Think broad not have a narrow outlook:
Have your teenager think in abroad manner and not have a narrow outlook. As and when a teenager faces any issues are you feel that they are going through a certain challenge. Talk to them about it.
When you and your teen are brainstorming to solve the problem. Ask them leading questions such as “have you considered this.”, “have you considered that.”. These things will teach them to consider different sides of the same issue before they come up with the solution.
With more input and insights that they have of the problem they have different insights and it well make them think in a much broader sense then an immediate narrow outlook of the issue
Encourage your teen on critical thinking. Ask them to blindly not take anything on face value obey without questioning. Encourage them to question everything and look for logic and evidence before accepting what people of authority tells them.
Make mistakes/ bounce back. The Feedback loops
Increase your child to explore new things. Encourage them to make mistakes and tell them that it is OK if they can bounce back.
Mistakes are a source of tremendous learning. Teach them to learn from their mistakes and ask for feedback so that they can correct and do things better.
Tell them to make it a point to always outperform themselves. Teach them how to compete with themselves and get better and better.
You do not be overprotective and solve all their problems. Let them try out and let them make mistakes. When they make mistake encourage them try again rather than being cynical or judgmental about their mistakes.
Teach social skills
Help you kids to socialize. When you teach your kid social skills you are basically exposing them to different types of people there by different types of situation.
It especially helps your kid to understand different people and different points of view.
Also, social skills lead to having more friends. More friends mean more interaction, more issues to resolve with friends, more sharing and caring.
It also helps them in listening and problem solving not only theirs but also their friend’s issues. It helps in negotiating their way through social circles and come out successfully. All these lead to increasing smartness in your child.
Choose right friends (positive peer pressure)
One of the biggest choices that your kid makes that affects their outlook towards life is the choice of friends.
Positive peer pressure brings about a healthy competition in your kid. Will make them push themselves to compete with their peer group.
Also, when your kids have friends who seek knowledge and smart ones who face life with the right attitude and move forward. These characters rub on your teenager also and it will train your teenager to be smart.
Teach your kid how to make the right choices of friends. Read our article How-to help your teen to choose right friends to get some guidance.
Seek and get help
To let your teen, know that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
Ask them to seek help and guidance whenever they need. When they are used to seeking out help it gives them better perspectives to this problem they are trying to solve.
With more ideas and more different ways of thinking it only makes them more knowledgeable and thereby smarter.
Note to Parents:
Exercise patience. Do not give up… Do not conclude that you teem cannot become smart.
Sometimes it is difficult to get through to them. Sometimes their own laziness can get the better out of them. Many times, their hormones, their mood swings, their anger issues can all play havoc when you are trying to train you teenager to be smart.
The key is to be patient. Understand that these are things which almost every parent of a teenager faces. And the difference between success and failure depends on your attitude of giving up or not giving up.
Video Time – Expert Opinion
Expert opinion; how to raise smart kids?
The intelligence of every individual is different from each other. It is something unique that we must understand as a parent. Do not compare your teenager to someone else because he/she is different from them.
Train them to be smart for the well-being of your teenager, train them with a clear objective in mind. Remember not to put pressure in your teenager because training them to be smart is a long process. It is a long and continuous process that requires patience. Always trust their ability and be the person that will support them no matter what.
It is common knowledge that where you invest your time and energy it will grow. Invest in your children and nurture them and you would find them grow better stronger and be more successful and above all happy.
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Let us know the strategies you have used to make your teen smart… Leave your comments below…