Some will bristle at the idea of an adult wanting or needing to earn a teenager’s respect. While it is true that children are to be taught to honor their elders in general, it is a wise adult who realizes that teenagers are watching the details of our behaviors closely. While adults don’t need to be perfect, I find that bettering myself for their sake is a worthwhile challenge.
Show confidence and avoid arrogance. If you lack confidence in yourself as a person or in your role as a mother, father, grandparent, teacher, reverend, etc., a teen can smell it a mile away and be tempted to play off of that weakness. Own the fact that you have been on the planet longer than the teen! To avoid arrogance, listen to them and expect for them to listen in return.
Be clear about expectations and ask questions. If you are vague or unsure about anything important, teenagers will be tempted to see empty space to fill. Their brains are rigged to get what they want, which may not be in their best interest. When they seem confused, sneaky, or working around expectations, ask pointed questions. Asking “Where was the confusion about curfew?” goes a long way to solve problems in a respectful manner.
Be direct and observing. Using the plainest language possible, say it like it is. Do it like it is. And call them on their stuff…like it is. Teenagers need reality checks like at no other time in their lives. When they try to sidestep, avoid, deflect, or blame, stand firm and avoid emotional entanglements. When emotions run high, it is the adult in the room who needs to keep a cool head. Try observing the situation like a detective looking for clues to help all involved.
Do teenagers treat you with respect? Why or why not? How do you earn a teenager’s respect? I would love to hear your advice!
Wonderful Wednesday to all ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc