Why Teens Should Talk to Their Teachers Themselves

Teens are afraid to talk to adults and teachers. It’s a task that has always been intimidating for teens, but with screens becoming a more prevalent way of communicating, it has become increasingly difficult. This can be challenging because they are an authority in their lives, but with a little bit of courage, and a few easy tips, your teen will be ready to shift the relationship with a teacher or adult.

Recently, we heard a counselor share a story about the “waitlist” students who end up getting admitted into a program. Many parents think their phone call, name drop or question into why “Johnny” got accepted and their child didn’t is the reason their teen was moved off the waitlist. This is usually not the case. In fact, what did move the teen was the courage to call and speak to the admission team or advisor in charge.

There are going to be many challenging conversations in a teens life. Regardless if the conversation is over finding a new partner or getting into a program, everyone has to start somewhere. So how do we prepare our teens for such difficult conversations? Here a five tips to preparing your teen for these discussions.

  1. Start with a hello. It sounds simple, but depending on your teens confidence level this may be a larger task then we could ever imagine. Once we get use to small talk, larger problems will be easier to address.
  2. Identify the problem. Know what obstacle your teen is really struggling to address. Is it that they don’t understand the content or feel like they are overlooked? Make sure your teen is also prepared for feedback for personal improvements. It’s important that they don’t get defensive.
  3. Practice the conversation. We know, this is the part where your teen rolls their eyes, but giving them the language and asking them to put it in their own words will prepare them for the real dialogue.
  4. Prepare for the “what if’s”. This is a game changer for teens we work with because it allows the potential unknown to become a little bit less scary. What if they say this? Or that? Well, now you will have responses for how the conversation may go and it allows them to be more prepared.
  5. Don’t give up. Not every conversation with an adult is going to go your way. Maybe it was what you were requesting or it was bad timing. We don’t know, but every time you practice your teen will gain confidence and, most importantly, the respect from the adult.

Not only will these five tips help your teen have challenging conversations successfully, but it will also prepare them for future job interviews. Whether it’s a local restaurant, college internship or job after college, these are skills that your teen can carry and develop for the rest of his or her life.