How to reach a teen, eh?!
They just seem so isolated and remote from us sometimes, it’s unnerving!
5 years ago I stopped teaching anywhere other than online, for so many reasons. It wasn’t to do with any of the typical practical benefits for me like convenience, time-saving, cost-saving or efficiency.
No, the biggest reason was the independence of the space, the privacy and intimacy, the closeness of connection that it enables with a young adult; the freedom, for me and them, from existing institutions, cultures and influences.
Zoom gives me, with teens, what feels like a truly blank slate, a new start.
You can explore my 12-Week Online Academic Mentorship Programme for teenagers (and their parents) here.
It took me a long time to twig that rocking up at family homes, as I used to, decades ago now, and chatting and catching up with the mum, as she made me tea, was a bad start to any session with a teenager. Seems so obvious to me now I must say, but it really does not serve young people to do it this way at all: to have the influence of the parent so present and leading proceedings in this way. And it makes getting the profound results of empowerment with an adolescent pretty much impossible.
So I stopped going into homes, or schools for that matter. Instead I arrive via the internet and don’t even see the parents! It’s all between me and the teenager for a reason.
We have a completely separate, independent relationship from the get-go, connecting from our respective domains - me in my home office space and them in their bedrooms or in a private study in their home. Both comfortable and relaxed and free to do whatever we think is best in the time we have. No parent present or participating in any way, not even in the background or within eaves-dropping distance... It is painfully obvious in the student’s general demeanour of guardedness, closed-ness and discomfort if the parents ever do try this!
But they never do these days. They get it and they know that trust is the foot you have to put forward. It’s critical to the success of the process.
Rarely do I mix my communication with parents and teens - I keep them well apart, like red and black jump leads...:)
It’s an honour really and a great, great pleasure for me, therefore, to be trusted and to be beaming into teenagers’ private domains and working with them there; reaching and in some cases ‘rescuing’ them in various ways: reassuring them, verbally, but mostly non-verbally, that all is well, that there is much to be interested in still in the world and everything to be excited about for the future, theirs and everybody’s, even with years of school still to go, exam pressures, no idea what they want to do in life yet etc.
And I love being in close contact - separately! - with the parents too. Seeing how I can support them to empower their adolescent’s learning, self-leadership and development and create a happier and more harmonious home life for all. But the parents are easy to reach, it’s the teenagers you really have to work at.
So how does one, as a parent, reach a teen who withdraws mostly, sealing themselves off in their bedrooms, both literally and metaphorically?
Mentorship with me is one great solution! If they resonate with me and are open to my support and the relationship then this can and does work wonders. The 12-week programme will also help to bring you all closer as I create space, engineer freedom and bring greater ease for all, pulling strings on both sides without resistance, fuelled by trust and openness and getting results that everyone wants and is nurtured by.
As always, I’m here for you if you need me and still have a few spots left for this term, for this quarter...
Have great weeks everyone!
Thanks for reading, and responding if you like to with what resonates or any questions you may have,