Every summer we have teens reaching out to let us know what their summer plans are, and this summer is no different. The summer experience is valuable and comes in all shapes and designs. One conversation that we have had multiple times is talking through why we do what we do during the summer months. Whether it is relaxation from a school schedule or moving to the structure of a summer job there are plenty of things to consider. However you have approached things in the past, we hope to make you think a little about this summer.

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Have a Clear Purpose

Most families tend to have a set habit of how summers work. It is either a culture passed down from their parents or possibly just a rut that has developed over time. This is definitely something to be aware of. We don’t want to mindlessly waste our summers. Even if the summer habit that we find ourselves in is wonderful we want to be purposeful in what we do. 

Make the Summers Count

Parents, we need to resist viewing the summer as 3 months without the structure of school that needs to be filled in with whatever we can. Teens, we can’t view the summer as 3 months of pure freedom. You only get a couple of summers as a teen and you only get a couple of summers with your teen, so make them count! Plan them out, and make sure that the whole family is on board. 

Use the Summer to Build Hands-On Experience. 

Whether we need to build character and the structure of a job and a paycheck is the carrot that we need or we see an opportunity to give responsibility and broaden horizons, teens and parents should focus on the long-term goals instead of the immediate present. For the majority of families, a teen working a job and making a few thousand dollars over the summer is a bonus for the teen and not the make or break moment for the family budget. Recognizing this, it is important to focus on how that job or opportunity is going to shape us or our teens over the summer rather than on just the paycheck or experience. 

We should be using the summer to build ourselves and our teens into the people that we want to be. This can be accomplished with a job or a volunteer position. There are plenty of things to think about on the way to deciding where we place our time. 

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