Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to talk with teens about current events

Urban Moments. Teens TalkingImage by Slaff via Flickr

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, or employer, we encourage you to talk with the teens you know about current events.

· BUILD IN TIME TO TALK together about world events frequently. News about war, terrorism, the economy, politics and natural disasters is everywhere. They need a chance to make sense of what they hear. President Kennedy’s father held a daily discussion of current events at the dinner table.

· ASK WHAT THEY’RE HEARING FROM OTHERS – sometimes that’s an easier place to start. Correct inaccurate information, or research issues together on the internet.

· CONNECT THE ISSUES TO PEOPLE THEY KNOW -- Who has lost their job? Who is serving in Iraq? Or, how could this effect people we know? Teens master abstract issues by connecting them to their own lives.

· SHARE YOUR PLAN FOR COPING, if the impact is on you and your family. Have a plan teens can participate in. Whether it’s a plan for how to connect with family in a catastrophe or how the family will cut expenses to deal with the economic changes, teens need a role.

· BE AWARE OF THE IMPACT ADULTS CONVERSATIONS MAY HAVE on teens and children who overhear them. Give them a chance to participate in the discussion then, or in a follow up conversation later.

· EXPLORE THE PROS AND CONS OF MANY POINTS OF VIEW. Learning to think for yourself requires trying ideas on for size and accepting or rejecting them in whole or in part.

· ACT AS A MODEL FOR YOUR CHILDREN. Always show respect for differing views, including theirs. You know you’re being respectful if your teen can have a different point of view without you trying to “win” the conversation as though it were a debate. Acknowledge that in a democracy like the US people can have strong and differing opinions about momentous events.

For more information about how to talk with teens about difficult topics, check out these sites: Talking to Teens About the Financial Crisis

    Tips for Parents/Teachers/Emergency Response workers for talking about Traumatic Events – links to a number of articles

    Coping with Traumatic Events: Parent Guidelines for Talking with Teenagers about War and Terrorism from SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information Center

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: