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.