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Navigating Adolescence
Navigating Adolescence


Preteens and teens are notorious for being challenging for adults to communicate with, and while this stereotype is certainly not always fair or true, certain difficult conversations will have many teens running for the proverbial hills.

As our preteens and teens grow, it is critical to have conversations with them around important subjects like sex, relationships, consent, drugs, alcohol, sexting, distracted driving and other potentially risky behaviors, as well as more mundane things like homework.  It is also important for our preteens and teens to identify who they can turn to when they need support, encouragement, feedback, accountability, and more, and for us to work hard to be (or remain) a member of that important team.  

Create open lines of communication.
As adults, we have information, context, and risk analysis skills that our preteens and teens do not yet possess.  But the wrong approach can shut our preteens and teens down entirely, leaving us with little opportunity to convey the information and guidance they need.

Do lean in with curiosity and the spirit of collaboration.
AThe power of the question should not be underestimated when talking with preteens and teens. By leaning in with the only goal being to discover who they are- to understand before we seek to be understood – we have the opportunity to deeply know our children.

Do offer respect and empathy.
Validate, validate, validate. There are few things that feel as good and unconditional as being validated in who we are and what we think.

Start the Conversation.
As adults, we have information, context, and risk analysis skills that our preteens and teens do not yet possess.  But the wrong approach can shut our preteens and teens down entirely, leaving us with little opportunity to convey the information and guidance they need.

Balancing Your Digital Life

Finding Balance

Social Media

  • Commit with friends to spend a certain amount of time together IRL (in real life), not just liking each other’s feeds.
  • Turning off notifications for your social media (or all but a handful of followers) will reduce the pull of your media.
    Exercise your brain in other ways such as reading, art, sports, hobbies etc.
  • Consider removing your most used apps from your device for a few days or for specific days each week to give your mind a break.
  • Write down what you accomplished or what fun thing(s) you did, when you were off your screen, to reinforce the benefits to yourself.

Screen Time

  • Though phones can do almost everything, it helps to use separate devices such as cameras, calculators and alarm clocks.
  • Plug your devices in at night in a different room than your bedroom.
  • You will sleep better if you avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.

Gaming

  • Make gaming a team sport as much as possible, playing with friends/ family reduces the harm.
  • Reduce the urge to “wake and bake” with games – let your brain fully wake up and adjust before you save the world.
  • Avoid gaming right before social engagement (meals with friends/family)  or new learning (ie. school work) to ensure you are well-regulated and ready to focus.

Puberty Library

Explore what’s trending in the BLOOM library for Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation.

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