Education Blog

Bucket List Ideas for Teens

September 16, 2021

Parents are often frustrated when their efforts to plan bucket list adventures are met with teenage indifference. It’s normal for teenage preferences and tastes to change over the course of months. Parents can be skeptical about big ideas and may even reject them. What if you and your teen worked together to create bucket list ideas?

Why a Teen Bucket List?

Chisato Hotta is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor. She says that a bucket list can be a great way to bond with your teen in many ways.

The planning process can be used to teach teens some important executive functions that they will need when they grow up. They will be able to walk them through the entire process, from brainstorming to execution to reflection. This will allow them to see just how much thought goes into multifactor decision making.

However, successful collaboration requires parents to listen, be flexible, and have patience. “Our views might differ from those of our children. Hotta says that even though they are physically large, they still have much to learn.” Hotta says that sometimes adults forget this and become frustrated which can detract from bonding.

What Does a Bucket List Activity Look Like ?

You don’t need to make bucket lists about grandiose experiences you wish to have before your death. You can add trips, projects, any job and conversations to your bucket lists. Ask your child some questions to start dreaming together.

Hota states, “It all depends on your goals.” Hota says, “Do you want to help them achieve their dreams or are you more realistic?”

Dr. Hota notes that parents will have to decide when and how to include parameters like a timeline or a budget in the conversation. She says that there are no set rules. “Maybe one parameter could even be creating a bucket list for the entire family and not just the teen.”

No matter how you choose to approach it, this is a negotiation. You must be open to listening, collaboration and compromise in order to have meaningful and productive fun.