How to help homeschool teens in identity crisis? Here are some tips.
How to Help Homeschool Teens in Identity Crisis
It’s not only homeschool teens who have identity crises. Most teens have an adolescent identity crisis at some point and in some manner.
The problem is that we homeschool moms don’t want our kids to suffer the pain of struggle. It’s scary. Besides, we might prefer to have a formula:
I homeschool=My kids think exactly what I think they should…all the time.
Maybe you remember when you took Human Development in college? Theorist Erik Erikson explained that each phase of life has a task to accomplish.
- Babies have to learn that there are are people they can trust to care for them.
- Toddlers must learn that they are separate beings from their parents. (The “no!” of two-year-olds is part of that.)
- Pre-schoolers want to figure things out. They want to play and invent and draw and experiment without worrying if they are “doing it right”.
- Elementary-aged kids need to learn that they are competent at some things.
- Adolescent years are a about identity formation.
So when teens ask ridiculous or difficult questions, it doesn’t mean they are rebellious. It is simply a time in their lives that they need to think about who they are, what they are about, what they believe, what they can do, what are their gifts.
Here are some ways you can help.
- Beat them to the draw. Give them religious things to think about. That’s why homeschool high schoolers benefit from taking courses like Apologetics (especially if it is presented in a light-hearted but powerful way, like FREE Apologetics curriculum which is a series of powerpoint presentations with voice-overs that are SO engaging and empowering)!
- Give them things that will constructively stretch their brains and help them learn to think. This is why 7Sisters has 2 philosophy courses. Introduce your homeschool high schoolers to philosophy and earn a world history credit at the same time in a light-hearted, user-friendly, no-busywork format with History and Philosophy of the Western World. Then follow up that course with a delightful, user-friendly, understandable but serious philosophy course: Philosophy in 4 Questions by Dr. Micah Tillman. And have them listen to Dr. Tillman’s fun podcast: Top 40 Philosophy.
- Allow them busyness with positive people: friends, youth groups and organizations, mentors. Identity crisis is stressful and being with positive people alleviates some stress.
- Do LOTS of Career Exploration. Career Exploration is about self-knowledge and seeking God’s will. The better teens know themselves, the more comfortable they will be in their own skins.
- Don’t try to answer all their questions but don’t avoid the discussion. “I don’t know.” or “That’s food for thought.” or “Have you prayed about that?” are good types of answers to tough questions.
- Help them understand themselves. Understanding self and others is exactly why homeschool high schoolers should study Human Development.
- Don’t be afraid. Instead: Love them. Love them steadfastly, unconditionally. (If you want a great book: How to Really Love Your Teen by Ross Campbell. This is not a sponsored post, btw.)
If we get fearful, we might slip into that formulaic frame of mind, I homeschool=My kids think exactly what I think they should…all the time. But that is hope-shifting (visit the Fletchers at Homeschooling in Real Life to hear more about the dangers of shifting our hope from God to our works). Trust God and watch the ways He unfolds your homeschool high schooler’s identity.