How to communicate with Teenagers:
I was talking to a friend who is also a mom. She was worried about her daughter and who she's been hanging out with at school and on weekends. My friend is divorced, so half the time she has completely no control over her child's social behavior. (The father is much looser with management).
We talked about the challenges of parenthood in an age where our kids can keep a full social calendar in virtual reality.
We discussed peer pressure. Cattiness. Meanness.
We discussed drug and alcohol abuse among 13 (yes, 13) year-olds.
We discussed how kids are sneaking out of the house at 1am and trespassing in other people's yards and pools. Here in Virginia, where guns are ubiquitous, I can see someone shooting one of these kids in the dark. Absolutely. Unfortunately.
We discussed the very fine line between parenting and controlling.
I thought to myself, how lucky I am to have kids who get excellent grades and work hard at everything. How lucky I am to have daughters who talk to me, show me silly Instagram posts and get along with each other so well.
And then I understood that I seldom tell them this. I think it a lot. I tell my friends and family. But I don't tell my daughters to their face how I know it's challenging to be them right now. I don't acknowledge the dangers, pitfalls and temptations that they have in terms of technology, risky behavior and drugs. Instead, I tell them to not buy into society's pressures to be “pretty” and primp in front of the mirror. I tell them that they need to learn how to manage money, or it will manage them. I tell them it's important to get good grades and do well in music so that they can get college scholarships.
But today, I acknowledged them. I acknowledged the hard work, the struggle, the pain…and that I appreciate their fight. The 13-year-old looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I love you, mom.”
See info about Kim R Grimes, an expert in teen suicide prevention from Newport News Virginia. She's a Change Agent, a Transformational Life Coach & Life-Changing Speaker for Teens & Young Adults. Find out more about Kim at kimrgrimes.com/ and check Kim's Teen Suicide Prevention blogs at worldchangingteens.com