Do you have this issue with your teenager? You tell them to reach out to their guidance counselor or speak with their teacher about a grade or an assigned project. But they just don’t do it. It’s frustrating because we parents don’t understand why it’s so hard for our kids to have these conversations. We wonder why they just won’t take the initiative. To help me overcome this challenge with my own kids, I reached out to Meg Lee, co-author of Mindsets For Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids. Meg has over 20 years of experience working in public education.
Meg shared with me an easy strategy you can use to help your teen take more initiative when it comes to having conversations with adults.
Institute a back-and-forth journal with your teenager.
This simple book, which can be passed back and forth at regular intervals, gives the teenager a chance to talk to the parent mindfully, giving both parties time to digest what is being said. Using this journal, Meg has found much power in bringing out the root causes of teens’ challenges. And in this case, it may even help coax them to be a bit more assertive.
This concept could extend to talking to other adults like their teachers or guidance counselor. If your teenager is uncomfortable speaking with that person, would they be comfortable writing a note or email at first? This is often a good first step for kids who fear not knowing how to handle a conversation. While not a substitute for face-to-face interaction, this is often a good starting point.
Meg also shared that role-playing conversations with a trusted adult can be a wonderful way for teens to gain confidence. It may sound goofy (and your kid will certainly think so), but it is worth trying. It can give them some practice before entering a conversation or situation where they have to take initiative. Helping your teen learn to be assertive will serve them well throughout life – in college, their career, and relationships.
If you’d like more tips on preparing your teenager for real-world situations, I’m here to help. Part of our coaching for teens includes teaching them how to network with professionals in their chosen career path. Is your student still unsure of the right career path after high school? Click here to schedule a complimentary College Assessment Plan call with me.