Building healthy relationships with adolescents

You were once an adolescent. You know how painful it can be. You don’t want to go back there and they don’t want you to become one of them. Don’t be afraid to be an adult. Knowing how adolescents think, act, and behave gives you some clues on how best to related to them.

The need to belong: Teens want to be accepted by peers their own age-to belong. Feeling as an outcast is the pits. Here are some tips for building healthy adult relationship with adolescents
1. Show respect. Learn their names. Recognize each adolescent as an individual and don’t play favorites.
2. Be patient: Building trust and rapport takes time. Take your cues from their timelines.
3. Establish clear boundaries: No need for you to be a best friend. Stay in your role as adult. Don’t discuss your personal life
4. Be consistent: Adolescents do best with regular structure. They arte not good at “free time.” Be consistent when implementing limits and tolerating behavior.
5. Listen: Pay attention and hear what they are saying even if you don’t agree. Avoid giving too much advice.
6. Recognize they are growing up in a different era than you. Enough said
7. Don’t embarrass. Embarrassment is the worst debasement. Pull them aside for personal conversations when necessary.
8. Don’t tell adolescents how they should feel. Invalidating their feelings and perspectives makes it unlikely they will share with you again.
9. Avoid blame. Even when the adolescent shares some responsibility for a problem, be careful about laying blame too quickly.
Confirmation education provides many opportunities for the above situations to take shape. Remember, part of the confirmation experience is encouraging the student to “belong” to an accepting community – the church congregation.

How to enjoy confirmation.

Confirmation isn’t a chore, it’s an opportunity. Take advantage of the experience and it can be pleasant. As a student in confirmation, you can actually learn to like the experience, but it may take adherence to some basic principles. If you’re the teacher, be aware if these traits are present.

1. Loose the attitude: You don’t have to be in confirmation class. It’s a choice. It’s not punishment. It’s a new experience. Loosen up. Being rude or disrespectful will make a good experience feel horrible.
2. Show appreciation to teacher: No body is getting paid to be in confirmation, certainly not the teacher or volunteer adults. They do it because they like young people. You can “like” them back.
3. Make new friends: You will probably know some of the kids in confirmation, but there will be ones you need to get to know. It’s a good way to make new friends. It’s also a place to get to know kids you thought you didn’t like.
4. Be part of the Church: Your whole congregation thinks you’re something special. Maybe your not, but like a big family they all care about you. Where else are you going to be accepted that easy?
5. You’re almost grown up: When you are confirmed, the Church recognizes you with full membership, just like an adult. You can vote just like an adult. This is long before you get your drivers license or pay taxes or enter the military. So enjoy being an adult.
6. Quit, if you have to: You don’t have to, but if you choose to, you can. Be sure to talk with your parents, the pastor and/or the teacher so they know why.

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