Understanding the Potential of Teenagers

All teenagers have inherent potential based on their creative and analytic mind. There are some who are scared over math while there are some for whom language is a problem. But teens are still not ready to choose which subject they want to major in during their early years. Usually in the past, it was parents who made the decision for their teenagers. That was a time when the intrinsic and inherent potential of child or a teen was simply disregarded. 

However, the situation is not much different now because there is always the parental pressure - wanting their teens to become businessmen or doctors or engineers. But today, teens are more aware of their inherent potential. So as a result, there is a chance that they pursue a degree or course, which they are interested in, rather than just succumbing to peer pressure. 

If they are not fond of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), there are alternative study methods available to evoke interest. But on the whole, there has been a drastic shift to focus on understanding the potential of a child and their inherent creative and analytical minds.

What matters here is that the parent should try and make an honest attempt of helping their teens understand this potential and then motivate them in the direction. Remember as a teen, their focus is more towards trend, what others are doing and simply getting influenced with ease. So as a parent you should-
  • Help them get more cognizant of who they are as people and students
  • Become more conscious of their natural bents, talents and interests
  • Translate and transfer this knowledge into making good decisions about courses, activities, jobs and careers.
One problem that most students face in the later years are that they have  “the right technical know-how for the job” especially for engineering and business degrees, but they are unable to implement and apply this knowledge the right way. So the creative and analytical bent of mind is often overlooked, which results in a setback here. So here is a little guide to what parents and teachers can do to help teens pick up these so-called soft skills, which are their intrinsic potential -

Focus on Writing

To start off, students should be allowed to write more so that they are able to know the basics of grammar, punctuation, sentence and paragraph construction. However, writing is also one of the best means to be creative, analytical and gain an appreciation for the thrill of writing. There are some schools that don’t really focus on enhancing writing skills, but it is through this that students are able to explicit more on the subjects of their choice. For instance, a student can put together something personal, meaningful, creative, and/or fun to do with a science project via writing. This depicts their potential or interest in the subject along with giving them a path to implement these skills the right way.

Speaking and Communication Skills

For teens, it is essential that parents and teachers allow them to talk about their interest in particular fields - no matter how absurd it may sound to you. In particular, such discussions during meal times, family get-togethers and in class rooms help in clarifying many doubts that these teens have related to their inherent potential. A student passionate about art, but with no one to talk to about the same would eventually lose interest in this field. Criticism and disapproval are definitely not the norm here. By letting them speak, not only are the teens able to identify and associate their creative and analytical bent of mind, but parents can help them in the process.

Thinking Oriented Classes

Allow your child to have a free thinking process. You should encourage them to talk to you or even teachers or peers about current affairs, problems in the world and other related talks and see if they are able to come up with some creative solutions here. Remember that all teens do have unusual ideas at the back of their minds, they just lack the right approach and method to speak about it. So make time out for such discussions. 

If you feel that your teen has an inherent bent of mind towards certain subjects you can enroll them for thinking courses”. There are also special courses and colleges where students are able to develop oral and written communication expertise, learn critical and analytical reasoning skills. You just have to workout the environment where they can thrive.

Innovative Thinking

One of the most crucial aspects of developing their intrinsic potential would have to be innovative thought process and thinking. This means that they are taking a different approach to particular educational or even general problems. Here you should not just program your child to think like a robot. You should help them or let them speak about innovative ideas and approaches to everyday problems. It could be something as simple as working on a math problem with a novel approach. Don’t you remember teaching them counting using apples and mangoes from the kitchen shelf? Associating their everyday problems with something they enjoy helps them explore and identify with their creative minds. Let them apply them as we seek new solutions to new problems.


Concepts are defined as various kinds of objects, activities, or living things. It extends to color, texture, etc. too. For example, a blue tablecloth that is made from satin is smooth and shiny. Similarly there are abstract concepts too that the mind associates itself with. These are a little more difficult to understand for the teen as they are mostly related to emotions and feelings. It is here that there is a dysfunction between their creative and analytical minds. And this could disrupt their inherent potential.

Problem Solving

There are problems everywhere. Be it our everyday life or educational issues or something related to class. But the point is how your teen is approaching the method of everyday problem solving. So you will notice that he/ she was so busy playing and having a gala time over the weekend that they forgot to finish their homework. Instead of yanking and shouting, leave it up to them to decide how they want to approach the problem of finishing their homework. 

A teen might just put together their analytical mindset and rationally plan on getting up early the next morning and finishing their task. Similarly, it is here that they put in the best of their creativity too. So if it is a science project related to being eco-friendly - here the teen could pick up some old sheets and turn them into origami art or use loose papers to make a notepad. So voila! There your homework is done and you get to see a creative side of your teen too. 

Remember that being able to solve the problem in school is extremely important. You can help them in understanding and defining the problem. Then they can draw a mental circle around it on was to fix the same - and finally implement the solution needed.

Idea Generation

You will often hear students in class being encouraged by teachers to speak or opine their ideas on particular issues. It is like a little bulb lighting up in the head. But often, some students are not able to really generate ideas about subjects that they don’t like. For instance, math homework can be put off for a longer period because a particular student lacks interest in the same. In this reference, it is the parent who can help them in generating ideas. 

Some teachers encourage students to work out new measures for implementing the same math calculation using a new idea. This brings out their creative imagination. Others encourage a brainstorming sessions to see how the same problem is approached by different groups. Regardless of the feasibility of the idea, these sessions encourage teens to come up with newer ideas.


Creativity of the mind is something that is based and measured on fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. It is something fluid but when combined with analytical thinking, teens are able to manipulate their thinking to improve upon that which they are creating. According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this fluidity is referred to as the state of mind. It is all about originality and not copying from others.

Successful Intelligence

Another professor of psychology and education at Yale University, Robert Sternberg said that successful teens focused on the blend of analytical, creative, and practical processes. It is all bout using these 3 in combination to create critical and analytical thinking. Analytical teens may often gets high grades and high test scores in traditional school based on judging, evaluating, comparing, contrasting, critiquing, explaining why, and examining. And blending this with a bit of creativity creates the finale or exclusive touch for the teens.

To promote their inherent potential of creative and analytical mind, here is what parents can do as an activity. Think of this. A dining room discussion where your teen asks "Why do I have to eat my vegetables?”. The most spontaneous and instant answer from a parent would be ”Don’t ask me any more questions.” “Because I said so”. Now think of it by giving them a rational explanation. Often, parents simply reply or reinstate the same question by saying "Because you have to eat your vegetables“ or ignoring the question. Instead a creative approach here would be - ”Why are all the people in Holland so tall?” it could be the diet that constitutes of all those healthy vegetables. Not only will this evoke curiosity in the teen, it also incorporates a healthy habit here. By encouraging and asking questions that help them to improve and evoke their creative minds and analytical thinking, parents can help them learn and improve their inherent potential.

Counselors in school too take the initiative to help them in boosting methods that help them thrive in a particular environment and understand their intrinsic potential. It could be via modes of controlled tests or via one to one sessions with the teachers or their counselors. Grades are not really a measure for understanding your teen’s creative bent of mind. It could be that a teen is intelligent enough to get straight A’s in math, but do they really have a knack for art and painting. So don’t go just by numbers and implement the above methods to see what your child really has in his/ her creative and analytical mind.
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