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DigitalBlue's avatar

What is your best advice for someone working with and giving advice to teenagers?

Asked by DigitalBlue (6684 points ) March 23rd, 2014

As asked.

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21 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Don’t give them advice. Show then stuff by the example you set. Just talk to them as if they were regular people.

ragingloli's avatar

Do not bother, they will not listen anyway.

jca's avatar

Concentrate on your school work.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Not advice for the teens…

GloPro's avatar

Ask them if they would like to talk about (insert subject here) before just giving unsolicited advice. Teens are very sensitive to being given advice and see it as corrections.

Praise and reinforce anytime they show knowledge and interest in a subject. Regardless of what the subject is, and be subtle about it. Listen with interest and ask a few follow up questions.

Also, hammer it home, solicited or not, that smoking cigarettes is pointless and bad.

Judi's avatar

Listen.

Juliasmile's avatar

Don’t talk down to them. Teen are a lot smarter than most people give them credit for.

hearkat's avatar

When my son was a teen, I would propose if, then scenarios for him and his friends to consider outcomes and consequences of their actions. For example, “If you guys go to kick so-and-so’s ass, then what? What if he has more friends, or if one of them brings a knife or a gun? Even if you guys ‘win’ the fight, then what will happen? Similarly, I’d guide them to learn from hindsight when things didn’t go as they’d hoped, so they could contemplate other courses of action and see how seemingly minor choices can change outcomes dramatically.

Khajuria9's avatar

Always listen to their problems carefully before attempting to give any suggestions. Also, do not assume anything.

janbb's avatar

Listen more than talk. Speak from your own experience when you do give advice rather than general platitudes.

Cruiser's avatar

Listen to them teenagers are not always right but they are often very insightful

ibstubro's avatar

You cannot fix anything, much less everything.

Show concern and caring, but do your best not to take the kid’s problems home with you.

I worked with juvenile delinquents for a couple of years and the hardest thing I had to learn was that I was not going to be a deciding factor in their lives. The same “good kids” came back time after time for the same stupid crap.

bossob's avatar

Boys do best with action talk. When possible, go for a walk, wash the car, throw a ball, fix a whatever; boys are better at opening up when they are ‘doing’ something.

Just because they’re not looking you in the eye and nodding at what you say, doesn’t mean they aren’t soaking up every word you’re saying.

jtvoar16's avatar

I have found, in my life, working with and along side teens, all you can really do is listen to them. If they seem like the receptive type of person, talk about your own experiences, but make sure you STRESS that they are YOUR experiences, and could very wildly from theirs.

I think what most teens want, isn’t guidance, as much as just a place to vent and be regarded as an adult, or, at the very least, mature.

Teen will think, no matter what, that they have the entire world figured out. That they know exactly how everything works, and how everything will be, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU SAY THEY DON’T. I remember being a teen myself (which most adults seem to forget), and I thought the same things, “It will never change,” “Things will never get better,” “Life is worthless and meaningless,” “No one loves me…” All these and more used to be the solid, unyielding truth of life… Then I grew up. I started to see the world change.

I guess what I am saying is, you have to let them screw up. You have to let them make terrible decisions. Then, this is the most important part, BE THERE FOR THEM when the poop hits the fan. Don’t judge them and tell them “I told you so!” Just be there to listen and help when they ask for it. That is one thing I have learned time-and-time again, don’t offer help to teenagers, especially “problematic ones” (read: nearly every teen in the USA), because they ether don’t want it, or won’t listen.

When you are a teen, you have a grand idea of how you want the world to work, based on previous (juvenile) experiences, and observations of the adult world as they have been presented it (through their families, and mass media [in most cases that involves more of the internet, and less of TV]). So, they believe, based on those observations, certain things should be available, if not given, outright to them.

Teens are not logical entities. They really can’t be. They are based almost wholly off of emotions, mainly due to the fact that puberty is ravaging their minds with an indication of chemicals their bodies aren’t used to, and will take a very long time to get used to. So, if you have to talk to\work with teens of any age, think along the lines of emotion, not logic.

That has been my experience.

Symbeline's avatar

Don’t know if it helps, but if I was giving advice to teenagers about something, before giving the advice, I would think back on what it what it was to be a teenager. Try and bring the levels a little closer to face, and bring myself in their shoes.

gailcalled's avatar

Only give advice if asked. Ask questions rather than using declarative sentences or giving little speechlets. Get some training.

longgone's avatar

Focus on anything but the talking, if possible. Go for walks. Bake cookies. I realize this may be difficult to do in practice, but in my experience, hardly anyone opens up on cue.

Another suggestion: Written communication. Use a diary which you both have access to, could be online. You can comment on each other’s entries, ask questions, etc.

Seek's avatar

Ask questions.

Honestly, they’re told what to do and how to think by their parents, siblings, their extended families, their teachers, their clergy, the media, their friends… Most of the time, they just want someone to listen to what THEY are thinking for a change.

Also, don’t ever use the phrase “these are the best years of your life”. They’re not. Being a teenager sucks. Hardcore. Life gets better. People don’t. People will still suck, but life gets better.

Cupcake's avatar

Say 20% of what you want to say. Be clear, precise and efficient with your words. Don’t lecture.

Listen. Try to figure out why they are saying what they are saying. What do they need from you? What do they need you to say? What do they need you to do?

Make your morals and boundaries clear. Do not be hypocritical. Teens are looking for moral guidance and are questioning what has been taught to them by their parents. Let them explore.

longgone's avatar

One more thing: Don’t lie to them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Think of your own teenage years, and remember yourself at that age. I kept a diary throughout my life and it’s really helped me stay connected to some degree with tweens-teens. Usually they want to be treated like adults with respect and care.

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