17 ways to connect with teenagers

These were the most important needs that were identified by teenagers as ways to connect with them:

1. Don’t try to be cool. An adult who is trying to be cool looks like an idiot in their eyes.
2. Stop talking. Maybe if you would chill for a little bit, your teenager might feel comfortable enough to start talking.
3. Don’t offer them a challenge. Saying something like, “I can sit here all day until you start talking.” will only challenge them to do exactly that.
4. Give up control. If they don’t want to talk to you let them know that’s fine and go about your business.
5. Don’t bring up Social Media or Facebook. Just because you read a newsletter, watched a news story or heard people talking about Social Media or Facebook does not make you informed enough to talk about it.

6. Don't Ask smart “How was your day?” questions. To engage them properly, ask them more detailed questions.
7. Feel comfortable with their language. Slang is OK but swearing is not.
8. Listen. Don’t jump all over them or slip into your authority role too quickly. Just listen.
9. Don’t judge. Let them be. You can let them know your opinion about things without being judgmental.
10. Utilize car conversations. Driving a car with a teenage passenger next to you is a great way to have a conversation.

11. Give genuine compliments. The best compliments are given regarding personal characteristics.
12. Respect what’s important to them. They already know what is important to you.
13. Make time for them. When you do, it shows them that you care enough to make them a priority in your life.
14. Speak your teenager’s love language.
15. Have fun! Teenagers are a fun species of humans. Laugh with them.

16. Find common interests. Movies, books and music are safe zones.
17. Give them information they want/need. If they don’t get it from home, they will go some place else to get the answers.