In the anxiety-inducing atmosphere of 2018, it is inspiring when teenagers manage to stay calm in the face of adversity. It’s dangerous to romanticize the era most of us grew up in as a “simpler time”, but the truth of the matter is that just about any time in history was far simpler than the current moment. With the global economy in perpetual flux and the job markets of the future uncertain, it’s not even clear whether or not higher education is a worthwhile pursuit.
In a world with so many uncertainties and no road map readily available, teens often turn to vaping, drugs and, of course, the many distractions available on their smartphones to cope. Eventually, however, they’ll need to turn their attention to the practicalities of life beyond high school. It can be a great challenge to advise your teen when our strange world is changing so rapidly in unexpected ways.
In this post, we’ll look at several solid pieces of advice that may actually help your teen escape the traps of depressions and anxiety:
Work & Travel Abroad – When you pitch this one to your kid, make sure you emphasize the work part of it. Working for food and board on organic farms, in hostels or as part of volunteer projects in developing countries is an amazing way to meet lots of people, gather real-life experience and experience a diverse array of cultures. Travel may seem out of the question without the work-as-you-go aspect of it, but there are plenty of resources and websites to facilitate engaging work that will cover a large portion of the travel costs.
Work or Intern in Film Production – Media production is currently one of the few job markets that is actually expanding. Entry-level jobs may not be glamorous or well-paid, but there is plenty of room for upward mobility on a film set. Between production design, craft services, lighting, camera crew, etc., there are a wide array of job opportunities, one of which would probably suit your teen.
Many production companies subscribe to anti-oppressive frameworks as well and the current cultural movement in the west is gradually shifting towards inclusive media that embraces racial and cultural diversity. If your teen is worried about being judged or marginalized, film production may be a good option. The CIE Tour – an arm of the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation – is a useful resource that upholds anti-oppressive values by connecting youth of all backgrounds with mentors and job opportunities in the film industry.
Resist Impulsive Decision-Making – Think back to your first job. It’s very likely that as soon as you experienced any adversity or conflict with colleagues you either quit or came very close to quitting. Sticking with a job that you don’t like for six months or a year is a learning process that helps build character. If your teen comes to a point where they are suffering badly because of malicious co-workers or a lack of fulfillment, help them make an exit strategy. Knee-jerk reactions will almost always lead to tears, and they won’t be able to use the discarded job as a positive reference.
In the end, your children need to find their own path. It can be stressful as a parent to have to stand on the sidelines and watch, but hopefully when they need it you’ll be able to offer wisdom and guidance.