We need to teach our teens how to talk to adults, but adults also need to be considerate when talking to teens. I think we’re all trying to teach our kids to smile, look people in the eye and be pleasant even when they aren’t enjoying the conversation, but as adults we can also make things a little more pleasant.
1. Whenever you talk to a teen, approach them with love and without judgment. Teens get judged all day long and they are weary of it.
2. Try to refrain from talking too much about a teen’s physical appearance. They know they’ve grown. And please never ever tell a girl she’s blossomed. The best comments? “You look great.” “It’s so good to see you.”
3. Jokes and sarcasm usually fall flat when you are talking to teens you don’t know. I know. I think I’m funny too. But when a teen doesn’t know you, they just don’t get your humor— especially sarcasm.
4. Ask a couple questions, but stop if teens aren’t responding. More questions don’t lead to connection. They just make teens feel like they’re being interrogated.
5. Love them (it’s worth listing twice). Offer teens unconditional love and approval and they’ll always want to talk to you. Even when you make dumb jokes and ask too many questions.