Relationship Advice from Teens to Adults

In my last post I reported on the Teen Voice 2010 Report from Search Institute and Best Buy.  The report includes “10 Tips from Teens to Adults” based on interviews thirty 15 year-olds.  This is from www.at15.com:

According to the Teen Voice 2010 findings, too many teens are missing the positive, sustained and meaningful teen-adult relationships they need to thrive. Helping youth find their sparks and voice is not an insurmountable challenge. In fact, individual caring adults—parents, teachers, neighbors, grandparents, mentors and coaches—can have a tremendous impact on the successful development of our nation’s youth by building positive relationships with teens. This starts when each of us takes the time and effort to re-examine the ways we can or could connect with, listen to and seek to nurture teens’ basic strengths.

What exactly should adults do to develop these relationships? Through in-depth interviews with 30 15-year-olds, we asked teens what adults did and didn’t do that told them that adults cared, were paying attention and really understood them. Here is what they had to say:

  1. LOOK AT US: Make eye contact.
  2. SPEND TIME TALKING WITH US: Ask open-ended questions. Build the conversation.
  3. LISTEN: Pay attention. Don’t multi-task or get distracted when you’re with us. Respond to our messages and texts.
  4. BE DEPENDABLE: Do what you say you’re going to do.
  5. SHOW APPRECIATION FOR WHAT WE DO: Give compliments. Show that you’re glad to see us or hear from us. Send us personalized cards.
  6. RELAX: Don’t feel like you have to be on guard.
  7. SHOW THAT YOU’RE INTERESTED: Attend our concerts, games and other events. Ask us to show you what we can do.
  8. LAUGH WITH US (AND AT YOURSELF):  Laugh at our jokes. Show us your humor.
  9. ASK US TO HELP YOU:  Ask us for our ideas. Share your own, too.
  10. CHALLENGE US: Teach us what you know. Push us to do our best.
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