Teen Angst Parenting: Communication 2K Style
How Can Parents Use Teen Angst To Get Kids To Open Up?
The Teen Angst articles are written for teens about the tough issues they may face along the way.
Each article, tackles a topic head on, and provides some useful information, and resources.
Both teens and parents are encouraged to review topics of interest, and or contact me to suggest a topic not yet covered.
Using the 2K method, share the articles and discuss them.
Remember, no judging, or assumptions, just dialogue.
Even if the article isn't an issue for your teen at the moment, like losing virginity, it's always better to discuss things before living the experience when emotions are at their peak.
It's never too late to revive family bonds. Talk to your teen today, even if it's just a short word of praise, like... "hey, you're looking sharp with that Mohawk"
Best to all. I look forward to hearing from you.
Breakdowns in communication don’t start in the teen years .
There is a brief window between the ages of nine and eleven (tweenage) when kids are deciding which team has the most to offer.
On one side we have the peers and on the other side, adults.
At this age, tweenagers are learning to form tight bonds and friendships and body parts are named according to their resemblance to fruit.
Tweens are also becoming more independent.
While parents will probably still do a good deal for their tweens... in a pinch parents also know that... little Fay can certainly put a Pop Tart in the toaster if she's hungry while dad finishes mowing the lawn.
Unfortunately, tweens almost become invisible the more they fend for themselves.
They stop hounding you for a snack, and get it themselves.
And as time wears on, they stop asking you questions, and start finding the answers themselves.
So... if Johnny tells Alex a detailed account of sex he heard from his older cousin, Vince... before dad gave him "the talk"...then Alex will believe Johnny, no questions asked.
Add a few more tell alls... and Alex is convinced that friends have more to offer than parents, who are more concerned with nagging about homework and pigsty bedrooms.
Once this revelation is embedded in the tween's makeup, we parents begin seeing a negative shift in communication.
Then out of nowhere, around the ages of twelve and thirteen, our little independent angels turn on us.
They're moody. They avoid us when their friends are around. And... don't even think about asking how their day went.
This makes parents suspicious. They want to know what their kids are up to.
and according to teenagers...
Out of nowhere, parents suddenly want to "get involved".
This makes teenagers suspicious. To them, parents only want to know how their day went beacuase its grown up code for "are you on drugs"... according to what Johnny says.
There is no way to force your teen into conversation... but...
You Can Create Opportunities For Sharing And Open Communication
With cell phones, friends, and the internet...parents competing for a teen's attention will have to show some initiative. Let's start with basics:
Want To Get In Your Teen's Head: Play Games
1) Take Regular Saturday or Sunday Hikes
Nothing clears the mind better than fresh air, and nothing inspires conversation better than silence.
Yes, I've heard many parents say, "My kids won't go for a walk. They'll complain the whole time"
Actually, once these same parents made walking a weekend routine, the complaints stopped and the words started flowing.
Start off on hikes at least one hour long.
Make them scenic, and announce, "Collective Solitude" which means no talking, cell phones, DSs, or iPods, just walking and admiring the beauty.
By the end of the walk, you will find out that your teens actually have a lot to say. After awhile in the routine, you won't ever have to ask what's going on in their lives because they will offer the entire dish.
2) Watch TV And Movies Together.
Make it fun. Instead of watching the news, try political satire. If your teens like slasher flicks, learn to stomach them. If must see TV means, watching MTV or Survivor, do it.
It all might seem senseless, but... here's opportunity knocking.
What do they think of our president?... What would they do if their gut instinct told them not to open that door?... Or what would they do if they thought a guy was only out for a booty call?
You might be surprised at how much they know, and how great their value system is.
3) Commit A Few Hours Each Week To A Special Together Project.
Together projects can be in any parent/child combination as long as they are consistent.
10 Fun Things To Do With Your Teen
- Make A Video For My Space
- Create A Blog Together About Your Favorite TV Show, Hot Cars, Bugs... whatever
- Have A Campout In The Family Room: Don't Forget The Scream Flicks
- Shop For A dozen Itunes Together: Your Treat
- Watch Stupid Videos On YouTube
- Apply As A family For A Reality Show (just the application is fun and you never know)
- Get Walkie Talkies And Go On A Blair Witch Hike
- Play Lazar Tag
- Together Plan And Host A Murder Mystery Party
- Take Lots Of Silly Pictures And Create A Scrapbook Together
Think back and remember what interested your teen when they were younger. Chances are, their interests haven't changed much. It's just that the lure of doing what their friends are doing, makes them deny their true loves.
If Alex liked motor cycles as a tween, and mom knows basic car repair. Maybe... she and Alex can buy a junker, get a manual, and take their sweet time fixing it up.
Or, if Morgan loves birds, why not have dad and daughter, plan and create a natural bird garden, then together help with the national backyard bird censes.
While it would be great to share time individually with both parents, it's okay to hand over the reins to the parent better suited for the project. As long as one parents at a time gets to bond with their teen.
Working together on a project helps create personal histories, memories, and allows parents and teens an opportunity to share private thoughts.
4) Learn To Communicate 2k Style
If need be, your teen will be happy to teach you how to text message, open a free email, and instant message (IM) account, then the two of you can use the new lines of communication to share and learn from each other.
They would also love to teach you the meanings of...OMG, BTW, BFF, PPL...and so on.
Next, let them help you develop a "cool" identity, avatar, and screen name. This way, if they're at a friends house it's way bright to see, colorful23 text a message, than it is to see "mom calling".
Now, with the email account alter ego, tell your teen that if they see a special topic or something they would like discuss, to mail it to you. This would go for you too.
Then you could use the IM to discuss the topic if you have more than one computer. If not, try face to face, it's a lot easier than you think, especially if you're walking or working together.
But ... rule... give each other a promise that sharing doesn't mean that you are prying, or that they are in trouble.
Example: Julie emails colorful23 an article about teens and birth control. Colorful23 would be wrong to assume that Julie was thinking about becoming sexually active.
Maybe Julie just wanted to see if colorful23 was trustworthy enough to stick by her word, just in case she had a tougher closer to home issue in mind, like bulimia.
The main trade off is that parents and teens will learn to trust each other, and with trust comes open communication.
Make Peace With Your Teens
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