Teens, Adults, & Communication
The talented and gifted English class at the James Madison Memorial High School in Madison, Wisconsin, was assigned the task of listing ways in which adults could improve communication with teens. Here's what they came up with.
1. Don't pressure us to achieve all the time. Remind us from time to time to slow down or goof off.
2. Praise us if we do okay. Sometimes it seems like nothing we do is good enough.
3. Tell us you love us, even if we act like we don't want to hear it.
4. Be honest with us. Sooner or later, we will find out the truth, and it makes us feel dumb if we were lied to.
5. Don't yell! Nothing makes us want to fight back more.
6. Let us form our own opinions about some things. Chances are, they'll be a lot like yours.
7. If we have a major problem, help us solve it, don't solve it for us. Otherwise, we'll never learn how to function as adults.
8. Give us a chance to disagree with you without telling us that we're "talking back."
9. We love to hear about when we were little, and we like to hear about your teenage years as well. These stories don't always have to teach a lesson--they're fun.
10. Never stop talking to us. You are the only ones we can count on for reassurance and love.
What Adolescents Need
1. CLEAR LIMITS SET. What is safe and acceptable and what is not? What are the consequences?
2. DISCIPLINE that is consistent, fair, and carries over into every area of their lives.
3. OPPORTUNITIES TO HONESTLY EXPRESS their feelings or thoughts.
4. PERMISSION TO FAIL AND RETURN, not necessarily to accept behavior but to accept the kid, with tolerance for mistakes.
5. OPPORTUNITIES TO LAUGH AND BE HAPPY.
6. OPPORTUNITIES TO BE SUCCESSFUL in school, at home, in the community, with peers.
7. STRUCTURED FAMILY ACTIVITIES - church, holidays, meals, movies, etc.
8. CONSISTENCY with friends, parents, school policy, and rules and regulations in general.
9. ENCOURAGEMENT TO TAKE RISKS.
10. ACCURATE INFORMATION about drugs and alcohol, crime, sexuality and other areas which might promote fear and uncertainty.
11. COMMUNICATION WITH ADULTS/PARENTS.
12. SUPPORT FROM IMPORTANT ADULTS in their lives.
13. TO BE TRUSTED by important adults.
14. GENUINE COMMITMENT from teachers, counselors, ministers, mullahs, priests, rabbis,...
15. POSITIVE PEER INFLUENCE - a helping friend.
16. TO BE ENCOURAGED TO BE RESPONSIBLE.
17. TO BE RESPECTED.
18. TO BE TOUCHED - It is incredible that we need a bumper sticker to remind us to give our kids a hug.
19. TO BE LOVED - genuine and real.