Ten Tips for Building Relationships with Teens
Created by Sarah Tyler, LCSW
Less is more. Teens are less likely to hear us if we say same thing over and over.
Stay calm and responsive. Avoid being reactive.
Don’t fix it. Sit with it. Sit with the sad. Sit with the angry. Sit with the uncomfortable.
Don’t take it personally. Teen decision making is over influenced by emotion. A wall is punched or someone is cussed out before the teen has realized what he/she has said or done.
Expect teens to be self-absorbed. Understand teen is meeting this developmental milestone.
Show up consistently. Create “office hours” where teen can find you regularly at same time and place. Have mints in bowl or other items that they can associate and expect in your space.
Value the power of presence. Being present matters even if it seems we are having no impact when a teen does not initiate conversation or show positive emotion or attitude.
Be creative while you talk to teen. Consider a walk, having them help you with bulletin board or hanging flyers, share funny video of animal as ice breaker.
Find common ground or an area of interest. Consider video games, music, pets, vacations, chores they hate, fave you tube video, fave food, fave movie.
Never say never. Teens can change over night. One day they hate something and the next day they can like it. Always keep the door of possibility open.