Published on: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 Takoma Park Newsletter

The Road to success: Preparing teens for an effective transition into adulthood

By Leicia Monfort, Recreation Supervisor

Is my child on the right track to gaining a successful career and a life full of joy, love and prosperity? Parents of young adults ages 11–18 often wonder if they’ve made the right decisions in preparing their children for the future. Did I register them in the right programs? Have I provided enough support? Is my child comfortable speaking to me? Well, it’s not too late. Sean Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” and Dr. Tim Elmore’s “7 Life Skills Students Need to Succeed” give us a few pointers on how we can help mold our youth and encourage positive outcomes for a successful transition into adulthood. In summary, here are the seven habits or skills (combined) needed to be successful effective teens:

  1. Be a proactive leader. A proactive leader is someone who is not afraid to stand up for what he or she believes in and take initiative to do things that others may not view as favorable.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. It’s like playing chess. You must know your next move before you make your initial move. Learning to plan strategically is vital to making the right decisions no matter what stage you are in life. Strategic thinking helps not only with completing tasks but with building relationships with people as well.
  3. Put first things first; don’t get distracted in the flood of things. This means being able to set priorities and not get deterred and lose focus. The essence of time management is to organize and execute around priorities. It’s easy to get caught up with trying to multi-task to seemingly accomplish more, but the less time you spend on the necessary things, the more it takes away from the quality.
  4. Think win-win. You need to look for or create a win/win situation. How can both parties benefit from this decision? You must maintain a perspective beyond your own vision to be able to change the culture.
  5. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Everyone wants to know that their voice is being heard. Make sure that in your interactions you are listening to understand before pushing for your agenda to be understood.
  6. Synergize. Steven Covey, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Encouraging our youth to value the differences and opinions of others is important to teaching them the dynamics of great teamwork and the importance of having an open mind in the decision-making process.
  7. Sharpen the saw. Dr. Tim Elmore. “People learn best in community and in relationship…” Steven Covey, “To maintain and increase effectiveness, we must renew ourselves in body, heart, mind, and spirit.” It is important to teach our youth that it’s okay to rest and attack things in a different manner. There are times where the answer you’re looking for comes right when you allow yourself to breathe, relax and look at the situation another way. Research new ways and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

The Takoma Park Recreation Department continues to seek ways that we too can help support youth during their transition into adulthood. This fall we have quite a few programs geared towards enhancing certain skills as well as providing resources needed to prepare for them for their next phase in life. The Young Entrepreneurs Program, Healthy Cooking for Teens and the Teen Lounge Power Hour are just a few. Visit our website at to see what program and services are of interest to you or your teen. For more information on Teen Programs, please contact Leicia Monfort at

This article appeared in the October 2018 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.