Four Steps to get your Teens to Talk
You may remember what it was like to raise teenagers. They seem to go into a funk at the age of 13 and stay that way until they have kids of their own. So now that you are a grandparent and it’s your kids struggling with getting the silent treatment from their kids, do you have to write off those sweet grandkids who used to love to climb on your lap when they came over?
Well you may not know a deep dark secret that child psychologists know. Teenagers not only are not uncommunicative, they yearn to communicate what is going on in their lives. The teen years are an explosion of change that is unparalleled in life this side of the womb. So if a teenager can find an adult they can talk to, that would help them in getting through these tough teen years.
Sometimes Grandma or Grandpa can become that willing ear and someone who a teenager can talk to about whatever is eating them up inside. All you have to do is open the flood gates of
communication and the grandkids will pour their hearts out to you. And as a grandparent, there is nothing you would love more.
Modern teenagers are not used to conventional letters. To them
communication is email, instant messaging or text messaging over the phone. So they don’t know the thrill they can get by just seeing a card or letter from someone they love come in the good old fashioned U.S. Mail. So to start priming the pump of
communication, start sending your grandkids cards.
Now don’t make these all nostalgic and sentimental “grandma loves you cards”. Be courageous and look at the hip cards and the really funny ones that will make the kids laugh and make them look forward to that next card they get from you.
This can become a hobby and a passion. If you have 5 teenage grandkids, every week find 5 really cute and funny cards to send them. Then think of a clever thing to say on each card and just end it, “I love you – Grandma”, that sends a more powerful message that Grandma wants to communicate but that communicating with her will be
Now phase two. Every now and then, write them a letter. Don’t make it a long letter and certainly not a preachy letter. But make it light and fun. Find out what TV shows and movies they like and watch them. Get to know who the kids like in popular culture. You have the time so follow the gossip web sites so you can write to your grandkids about things they are talking about. All of a sudden, the light is going to come on and they will realize, “Hey, Grandpa's kinda cool”.
Now phase three. Since kids are most comfortable communicating by computer, you are going to have to learn how to communicate by computer. Take some classes and learn how to use email, instant messaging and even text messaging. Tease the kids with your IM nickname or your email box while you are learning. Once you have a leg up, ask your new IM buddy to show you how more of your stuff works on your computer.
Phase four - stay with it. Your interest in their communication skills and capabilites will be the something that you will have in common with them - opening the doors of communication between you. The safety of talking online plus the knowledge that “grandpa is cool” will let the kids know that they can talk to you. Before long the flood gates will open like never before. And when they are pouring their hearts out to you via IM or email, you will have done a wonderful thing for those kids. And that’s what being a grandparent is all about.