(This is the accompanying post to the previous one about how to talk to teens.)
Teens love to talk: they love to talk online, on aim, on the phone, at school, after-school, at the mall, in the car, behind their friends back–what on earth are they talking about?…and why does sudden lock-jaw occur when parents are within a five foot radius?
I decided to see what the most popular calls were at a hotline called Teenline (where teens call in to get help from other teenagers) So what are the most popular issues? What do teens today really worry about? And why aren’t these issues brought up more with parents, counselors and teachers who can actually give advice and seek help?
Teens frequently want to talk to other teens about relationships with parents, siblings, friends and teachers. This is a broad topic I know, but interactions, building relationships and friendships are extremely important to teenagers.
This includes sexual, physical, verbal and neglect as types of abuse. Many teens call in for ‘friends’ or people they know who are being abused to talk about what abuse actually means. Frequently, teens want to know where is the line between parents who are yelling and verbal abuse? What are the laws on spanking children?
Despite the attempts of many school health classes, teens have lots of questions about pregnancy, condoms, abstinence and oral sex.
4) Drugs and Alcohol
Issues with addiction and parties come up for teens when they know of friends who might be dealing or using drugs.
Unfortunately, a great number of teens think, worry about or know someone who is considering suicide. Many times teens feel isolated and alone and need someone to talk to, but do not know where to turn when they might get in trouble or have to divulge secrets they are not ready to tell.
Surprisingly, Teenline gets an equal number of male and female callers. All kinds of teens today are dealing with these issues, not just girls, not just poor kids, not just rich kids, not just kids in private school…everyone is dealing with these important, and sometimes very serious issues.
For parents, maybe you are wondering—why your teen does not talk to you about these issues. Teens feel uncomfortable talking to adults because they feel they will not understand what is going on for them today, they are afraid they will get in trouble and worry that they will be judged.
Therefore, it is important for adults to be aware that even though teens might not act like drugs or sex is a big deal to them, they do actually worry about these issues.
Be sure to check out the accompanying post to this one “Three Ways Parents Can Get Teens to Talk”, to get your teens to feel comfortable talking to you about these issues.