Complimenting and encouraging our kids when they are young isn't difficult.
They are small and cute and smell lovely.
When they turn into teens the game changes, especially for boys.
They become these tall, lanky shower resistant creatures that grunt and groan at us. I can smell their shoes a mile off, so those lost shoes of childhood quickly fade into a distant memory. Shoes became a biohazard that are no longer allowed to come indoors. Opening the bedroom door becomes a mad dash to open the window when they leave for school in the morning to let the sun and air in.
Can you relate?
I don’t know about you but when my boys became teens the usual compliments and encouragement didn’t seem to land.
I felt like I needed to learn a new language to connect with them. And so, I spent time hanging out, learning to play Minecraft and other games, driving them around with their friends just listening to the chatter.
I learned what the latest crazes were and listened to how they spoke to each other.
I noticed when they were in groups that compliments were a rarity, and most conversations included some form of 'roasting' each other.
I pondered how I would feel if I were a teen today where memes and roasts abound, and compliments and encouragement is almost extinct.
It didn’t feel good.
I know that the stats are increasing for mental health issues for our youth and the age when they are presenting with problems has dropped to alarming levels. I wonder how much the acceptable form of communication amongst peer groups influences this.
Today I want to encourage you to find creative ways to encourage your teens and tweens.
Notice what they are good at and pepper your conversation with targeted compliments.
What’s an encouraging phrase that works for your teen?
I would love to hear from you.
Send me an email and let me know or share it on my Instagram page.
Perhaps it will help another parent connect with their young person or help a teen feel loved today.