Talking to Your Teen Isn't Completely Impossible After All (VIDEO)

talk to teensMy oldest kid is only in middle school, so I'm not technically the parent of a teenager just yet -- but it already feels that way, so I can't imagine what it's going to be like when my kids really are independent high school students with licenses to drive (yikes!). Except, even though I have a pretty good idea about the sort of gender gap communication breakdowns that lie ahead, I still tend to roll my eyes at the idea of parents needing "tips and tricks" on "how to talk to teens." Um, how 'bout we talk to them like ... human beings? I mean, that aforementioned gender gap is a lot narrower than the one our parents' parents tried to bridge (in vain) ... I think.

Anyway, point is that I resent being considered so lost in translation that I need a teen-to-adult dictionary. But I ended up learning a thing or two in spite of myself when college student Lucie Fink and high school student Sam Koppelman went on the Today show with some helpful kid-to-grown-up advice.


The conversation was all about social media; namely, how parents don't have a fraction of the savvy our kids do when it comes to virtual living. Basically? Our rules don't apply in their world. Here are a few points I found interesting (and helpful!):

1. Teens "friend" people they "don't actually know." Whether it's on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or wherever else, the number of friends or followers your kids have isn't necessarily representative of how many living, breathing "friends" they might have. (Quantity over quality? Something like that.)

2. Keep kids out of trouble when they go away for Spring Break by staying in constant contact. Call, text, email, whatever it takes -- just make sure to let them know you'll be expecting a response ASAP.

3. Teens don't necessarily differentiate between "offline" and "online" relationships. Meaning they'll use the same mode of communication (text, email, chat) for everybody. Which is why you sometimes get that perplexed look when you tell your kid to "call" so-and-so, rather than "text" so-and-so. Nobody talks on the phone anymore, didn't you know?

Interesting stuff, right? (Wonder what they're NOT telling us? Hmmm. Maybe I don't want to know.)

Do you have trouble talking to your teen?

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