Raising older kids is complex and often confounding. The landscape in which that happens today is ever-changing. Those are two reasons why the internet is full of information about parenting teens. Here are a few favorite pieces about raising adolescents that I’ve read recently.
Three ways to teach kids to find compassion and empathy behind the screen by Katie Hurley in The Washington Post
“Reading through posts and texts with them, however, can be powerful. I ask my teens to sit back to back with me and read their texts/posts to their friends out loud. Yes, I get some eye rolls and awkward laughter at first, but later, something positive happens. When they hand me the phone to read the conversations back to them, they hear their own words (and things said by their friends) in a real voice. They hear the hurt, the anger, the sadness or the jealousy. They feel the emotions differently.
When they read or write the words on a tiny screen, they can use emotional detachment to avoid experiencing the feelings attached to those words. But when we sit back to back, two humans reading texts and posts aloud, they absorb the emotions. When the words are negative, they struggle to read them out loud. But when the words are positive, teens soften a bit.”
The debate about screen time rages on, but it also seems safe to say that screens aren’t going anywhere, so let’s help kids learn how to be empathetic when using them. I love this approach and think the other tips in the article are valuable, too.
Adolescents Go Wild—And Not Just Humans by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers in The Wall Street Journal
“The risky behavior of teenagers has parallels in otters, gazelles, eagles and other animals, and helps them to survive as adults.”
This article was both comforting – hooray! We’re not alone! Other species do the same thing and there is some basic biology behind those often senseless choices teens make! – and concerning – Not all eagles survive learning how to do the mating spiral? No wonder I worry!
In addition to just being a fascinating read, this article offers parents some unique insight into what’s going on with their teens and encourages keeping the long run in perspective.
The Importance of Focusing on Teen Strengths on Center for Parent & Teen Communication
“A study examining conversations between parents and their teenage children found teenagers remember discussions about parental concerns more frequently than conversations about their strengths. This underscores the importance of parents talking consistently with teens about their positive attributes and making sure those discussions remain key as parental expectations change over time.”
Positivity matters. A lot.
How Can I Get My Teenager to Listen to Me? by Christine Carter on Greater Good Science Center
“You may have a mountain of information to impart, but research shows that less is more. Do not do what I often find myself doing in these situations: repeating myself. This can sound like nagging, and research shows that parental nagging activates anger-related regions in teenager’s brains, and it reduces activity in regions related to planning and behavior change.”
If you haven’t asked yourself this question repeatedly, are you even the parent of a teen? I kid, but I’m also serious about appreciating these helpful tips on communicating effectively with teens.
You Might Also Like: Reminder: Parenting teens is hard, and you’re doing the best you can
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