Friday, 28 June 2013

Teenagers and Parents - How Parents Can Effectively Connect With Teens

I truly enjoy speaking with Teenagers. For some reason, I connect with teens... probably because I'm a big kid myself. I understand that most teenagers have 2 distinct versions of themselves. The first version can be challenging. This teenager thinks he or she knows it all and will say or do anything to be "cool!" That's right! This teenage version is only interested in not showing his or her vulnerability. This can be frustrating to an adult!
But understand this, the other version of that exact same teenager needs you! He or she has goals, dreams, and most importantly, they are scared to death! It's our jobs as adults to connect with teens! Not make them... connect with us!
How do you do that?
1. Show up!
It's difficult to connect with anyone if you're never around. Adults are very busy and can't be everywhere. But schedule the time. In the past because of work, there were times I had to miss my son's practice or soccer game. But I noticed when I scheduled a future game and put it on my calendar, I would not break it! I was there!
2. Create an atmosphere of unconditional love!
Most teens believe they are only loved if they get good grades, if they do their chores, if they make the team. Obviously, getting good grades and doing chores is part of teenage life. But don't judge their overall worth if they forget to take out the trash. Teenagers want unconditional love! Yes, you have to be their parent... but you should also be their biggest fan!
3. Speak to teens with respect!
I know it can be challenging but teenagers are people. And no one (teenager or adult) likes to be barked at and spoken to like they are complete idiots! After a long day at work, most adults come home and have little patience. (I understand this because I have two kids myself.) But try to be patient, slow down and watch your tone!
4. Teen issues are important!
Teen issues may seem silly to us, but they really matters to them! Let them express their feelings! Adults verbally say, "we care about teen issues." But we show teens that we don't care by interrupting and not letting them talk, rolling our eyes, or multitasking while their talking. When adults do this, teens feel as if they're not being heard and will slowly start to withdraw. Months later, you'll wonder why your son or daughter never opens up to you!
You'd be surprised how these simple actions make a world of difference between teenagers and parents. Please understand: I am not implying that we don't have discipline at home or school. Teenagers will run all over you if they don't sense structure and boundaries. I'm simply stating that adults need to "step up" and make more of an effort to connect with teenagers. I know you may not like their music, but make an effort to listen to a few tunes. You would be surprised how teens react when they think you know or have at least listened to their music. Ask their opinion on certain topics and engage with them on activities.
Don't forget, you were a teenager too! Do you remember how you felt about adults? Today's teen feels the exact same way!
Empower your teen with Darryl's new book: Be Extraordinary - The Teenager's Roadmap to Success! Log onto:
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