Whatever your role in the lives of teenagers…

Posted: July 15, 2012 in All Roles
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a counselor, an administrator, a friend, a mentor, a family member or a teenager yourself… the words and sentiments in this blog are for you.  My intention is to stir confidence and competence in young people, and to give to  adults the skills and insights they need to strengthen their connections to the kids they care about… because without healthy connections, there is no influence.

My promise in this blog is to make no promises.  Our relationships and interactions with teenagers are too textured and unique for any one expert to claim to have “figured it out”. But what I can do, and what I do believe in, is that with a deeper understanding of the forces driving us and our kids, we can build and maintain more honest, safe and productive relationships.

Having influence is most definitely more art than science… but as confusing and frustrating as our communications with teenagers can be, there are in fact approaches that maximize the likelihood that we have the affect we want, and that our kids are better off because of our efforts. And while it’s vital that we realize the approaches that maximize the likelihood of healthy influence, it’s just as important to be able to reflect on the approaches that shut our kids down and put distance between us and them.

Technology, media and popular culture… have profound impacts on how young people develop.

Family cycles of violence, drug use and emotional disconnection… all make it more likely that our kids develop similar habits.

Apathy towards school, disinterest in future and the pull towards risky behavior… all have their reasons.

Suicidal thinking, self-injurious behaviors like cutting and eating disorders and social isolation… can be understood.

Demographics matter, but regardless of demographic, certain truths exist.  Children are raw, vulnerable, impressionable, hopeful and authentic. Our relationships to them are as inspiring and energizing as they are confusing and exhausting… and with steady curiosity, the willingness to reflect and remain humble, and with a commitment to meeting their needs more than our own, we can weather the inevitable storms that come with being in the lives of teens.

My hope is that this blog serves a purpose (other than giving me a forum to vent and sound like I know what I’m talking about). My hope is that I can create a resource that puts people at ease and gives them confidence. And my intention is to try to bring humor and perspective to all things related to teenagers and our relationships with them, because without a little humor and a lot of perspective… it all just feels crappy, and it doesn’t need to.

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