Fire and Ice. War and Peace. Night and Day. Lamb and Tuna Fish. Just as these examples don’t go together, seldom do teenagers and adults. Why is the case? Who’s to blame? Can it be fixed? In this week’s post we’ll seven reasons why teens and adults don’t get along, and provide possible solutions to improve those relationships.
- Lack of discipline. It doesn’t matter what generation we’re talking about, kids need discipline. And yes, they want discipline. As a teacher that is hard to believe but it’s true. Think about it. Kids don’t respect adults who do not provide discipline. They walk all over them. It’s like getting that one substitute teacher who you know you can have a field day with. Too many adults today don’t provide the necessary discipline because they’d rather be friends with the kids. Remember, lack of discipline equals a lack in respect.
- Teens often feel alone. It’s common for a teen to feel like they are on this journey alone. They feel like they have no one talk to. Adults need to do a better job of making teens feel like they’re not alone, and that they’re understood. Teens should feel comfortable going to adults about the issues they are struggling with. As adults it’s imperative that we’re present during these years.
- Adults fail to relate. Today’s kids are still dealing with many of the same issues that we dealt with as kids. As we grow older, adults tend to forget how they were as a teen. We forget the pressures, insecurities, awkward moments, and the various roles teens must fill. For many, the teenage years are often the most awkward and stressful because of all that is taking place around them, and the changes they are going through. Teen and adult relationships would improve if the adults took more time to empathize with teens.
- No Trust. Trust must be earned. It cannot be simply claimed because of seniority in age. Gaining the trust in anyone, let alone a teenager, is all about how one talks to and treats others. Just because your position gives you authority it doesn’t automatically get you respect. It’s cliche, but in order to get respect you must first give it. As adults we have to treat our youth fairly, not equally. If you really have their best interest at heart and it shows, teens will trust you.
- Lack of clear communication. First, both parties must know what the expectations are. Secondly, the values, standards, and expectations all must be easy and clear to understand. Confusing use of jargon must be kept to a minimum. Simplicity rules. If the lines of communication are open and clear relationships will develop.
- No follow through. It seems today as if we live in a world where empty promises become the norm. Inconsistency rules the day. Everybody wants to have it both ways. Rules, guidelines, and expectations must be enforced consistently. It can’t be one way this week and another way next week. Adults cannot give empty promises. In order for trust to built there must be follow through on all expectations and promises.
- Guards are up. Too many adults have their guards up all the time. We’re afraid to appear vulnerable. It’s okay to dress up, act goofy, and joke around (even at your own expense). Kids love it when they know they can joke around with you. I’ve had pie thrown at me, danced, and have had crazy outfits picked out for me to wear at school. Is it uncomfortable and somewhat embarrassing? Sure, but who cares. It’s fun and the kids get a kick out of it. The more we let our guards down as adults, the more it helps bridge the gap that exists with teens.
The responsibility to create better relationships falls on both adults and teens. However, I feel adults have a greater responsibility to make it work with teens. What are some suggestions you have on how to better the relationships between adults and teens?
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week and be an RGP today!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!