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Love and communication important during teen years

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Parents and teenagers live in different worlds with different pressures and perspectives, so communication between adolescents and parents can be strained. Here are a few strategies you can use to minimize conflicts during this challenging time.

Use humor.
Humor is an effective communication tool, because it breaks down barriers and commands attention. Disguised as fun, humor can be used to teach, introduce new ideas, share beliefs, and implant knowledge.

Listen.
Perspective and practice make a big difference. The way an adult perceives a problem is often very different from the way a teen views the same issue. What seems like a life catastrophe to 16-year-old may seem insignificant to a 40-year-old.

As a result, teenagers often have things to say to adults, but get frustrated because they do not feel like they can express their concerns and feelings. Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who was born in the 1st Century, might well have been instructing 21st Century parents when he said, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Keep it short.
Teens are perceptive and smart, so a few words go a long way. No one wants to feel like they are being lectured, so it is best to say it once.

Compliment.
The way we speak can often result in the outcomes we are trying to avoid. Comments and instructions couched in negative language, with excessive use of words like “don’t”, “never”, and “no” may lead to poor behavior. Instead try to focus on the positive things your teen does.

Prepare and Allow.
It is easy to view your kids as younger than they are. As teens age, they need more responsibility. Adults who continually enforce rules that do not acknowledge demonstrated capacity for independent and responsible behavior, can alienate teens.

Wait.
If it isn’t an immediate health or safety issue, it is sometimes better to wait for the right moment to discuss a problem rather than force a discussion at a poor time.

Connect.
Your kids internalize and interpret everything you do. They read your face, posture, voice, and stance. They subconsciously search for physical cues to what you really feel about them. Make sure they know they are loved, respected, and appreciated.

Even though the transition from child to adult can be challenging, love and open communication can make the journey easier for everyone.

Let your child learn about manipulation

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Manipulation is rampant in the digital age. It is easy for young people to be sucked into toxic personal relationships, political and social causes that are fronts for individuals and/or corporations that are attempting to gain power and money, and job situations where bosses or coworkers take advantage of them.

Most parents want to shelter their kids from these situations. Sheltering kids, however, may not be the best strategy. Instead it is better to empower kids, so they are not victims.

First, parents need to make sure their kids are confident, since it is harder for self-confident kids to be manipulated. Self-confidence is earned, not given, so is important to encourage children to explore many things and urge them to continue the activities that they enjoy and do well. In addition, it is essential that they learn the value of hard work. Also, it is imperative that the activities they selected are building self-confidence. Sometimes kids need to change activities as they grow to maintain healthy self-confidence.

The next step is to teach children how to identify a manipulative person, how to keep an emotional distance from such a person, and how to avoid personalization and self-blame. Then children need to learn how to turn the tables by asking probing questions and using time as a delay.

Finally parents need to allow controlled exposure. As counterintuitive as it sounds, kids need exposure to manipulators in safe environments, so they know when someone is trying to control them. In addition, kids need practice disarming a manipulator.

This means parents need to create learning opportunities. For example, a parent could consciously avoid speaking to school officials when a child’s classmate is “mean” on the playground, and instead help their child figure out how to handle situation him/herself. This playground practice should help prepare the child with more insidious manipulation that occurs when he/she is older.

As the child becomes more skilled at detecting and diverting manipulation, parents can gradually provide more exposure. By the time kids reach the teenage years, parents should expect them to discuss absences, homework, performance, and goals with coaches and teachers. In these conversations where will be many opportunities for the child to experience subtle and overt manipulation and to learn ways to remain in control.

Obviously there will be times parents have to step in, especially as when kids beginning interacting with adults, but parents should not be so protective that kids do not have an opportunity to learn.

Math and me: Children who identify with math get higher scores

Phys.org – Staff Writer

“How strongly children identify with math (their math “self-concept”) can be used to predict how high they will score on a standardized test of math achievement, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington. The study, published in the October 2015 issue of the journal Learning and Instruction, is the first to demonstrate a link between students’ subconscious math self-concepts and their actual math achievement scores. The study also measured the strength of students’ stereotype that “math is for boys” and found that, for girls, the stronger this subconscious stereotype, the weaker the individual child’s math self-concept.”(more)

Why do kids need to learn ‘soft skills’?

Philly.com – W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP

“In today’s global economic climate, employment and productivity are as dependent on academic and technical skills as they are soft skills. What are soft skills? Soft skills are sometimes referred to as “people skills,” “non-cognitive skills,” or “emotional intelligence”, but encompasses more than any one of those names implies…the top five soft skills youth need to develop to improve workforce success include: “social skills, communication, high-order thinking (problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making), self-control, and positive self-concept.”…Although research on how soft skills translates to better employment outlook is still needed, parents can still teach soft skills to children in developmentally-appropriate ways:”(more)

Men Totally Overestimate Their Math Skills And It May Explain The STEM Gender Gap

The Huffington Post – Carolyn Gregoire

“Men significantly outnumber women in technology and science-related professions — but it’s not because they’re more skilled in those areas. New research suggests that the answer may lie not in men’s skills or interests, but rather in the beliefs they hold about their abilities to do the complicated mathematics central to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Researchers from Washington State University found that men tend to significantly overestimate their math abilities, while women are generally more accurate in their self-assessments.”(more)