Talking Effectively with Teens

Have you ever wondered how teens “know everything” but “do not listen”.  I sure do.  Where did all of that “knowing everything” come from? I have tried to understand this over and over again. Begin telling a teen how to do something or respond to a need that you see and what happens? For some adults, teens suck their teeth, roll the eyes, have a snappy remark or maybe even walk away. For other adults, teens will listen with rapt attention – savoring every word and every movement. Young people model what they consistently see and experience.

Remember when you were a teen? A school ager? The adults around you were so old. The wise ones were consistent and you respected them; even when they gave you the “look”. The “out there” adults were cool to hang out with, but you had better have your own back – you could not really trust what they were going to actually do in all situations. Then you had the “know it alls” who were always trying to “run” your life – sometimes not having their own leg to stand on. How did you respond to them? How do youth respond to you? Which “they” have we become?

Hope RelationshipI have found the best way to build a mutually respectful relationship with young people is to model what I expect – sincerity,  forgiveness, tenacity, consistency, applicable information, love.  That has helped me to lay the groundwork for effectively talking with teens where I learn just as much from them as they, I hope, learn from me.

In Service,

Ms. P

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