Friday, February 25, 2011

Talking Teen

Anyone who has raised or is raising a teenager (we should form a club) knows that trying to have a conversation with them can be an extremely frustrating process.  Until the last year or so, my son and I were able to maintain pretty good communication.  And then it all changed.  One day I could understand everything he said to me.  The next day I understood very little.  Once in a while I would see and hear glimpses of the young man I knew, but more and more he was looking very different and speaking a language that, like Spanish, I only understood bits and pieces of.  How did this happen?  Why did this happen?  I'm an educator.  I'm a parenting instructor.  I'm supposed to be prepared for this.  But what I wasn't prepared for was the speed at which it happened.

Fortunately, I had the resources to assist me:  good friends who had already traveled this road, other friends who were in the midst of this journey, like me, and educational materials.  I like to read and, boy, did I read!  Fortunately, I think we're on the downhill stretch of this particular road.  More and more we are able to have, what I label, intelligent conversations again and I thank God!  It's a lot of hard work trying to figure out this teenage language!  I'm exhausted!

Then today, as I'm reading through the news clips in my Yahoo mail, I find an article about a new book, Teenage as a Second Language:  A Parent’s Guide to Becoming Bilingual, by psychologists Dr. Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder and Dr. Barbara R. Greenberg.  Where was this book a couple of years ago--even one year ago?  It could have saved us so much time!  Of course, I can see it now:  my son says, "Whatever!" and I say, "Just a minute, let me find that in the book so I can respond accordingly, I don't want to get it wrong."--kind of like I do with my Spanish. The authors have set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas.

Oh well!  We're making it through.  We all do.  It's just nice to know that there are some tools out there to make it a little easier for us all.  This looks like a good one with very good suggestions to keep you from getting into those power struggles that no one wins.  Give it a try!  And just know that This too shall pass!  (My understanding is that it will pass about the age of 25 or 30.  Whoo-hoo!  I wonder how many more books I'm going to need....)

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