Everyone has role models and everyone can be a role model. Teens especially need to surround themselves with good role models. Living life to the fullest takes both support and positive cheerleaders. We all make it to adult life by overcoming learning from obstacles. More importantly, a long the way we need to learn and understand how to become a better person. It is for this reason, we benefit from good role models.
One of the most dangerous things that teens do is they don’t talk with their parents. Parents who don’t have a relationship with their teen/s need to get their head in the game. The most important job of a parent is to raise a child so that the child knows how to negotiate and navigate the world so that he/she can not only achieve his/her wildest dream but he/she can also be safe.
Prince Charming….or Not?
I was recently talking to a girl friend who had met this guy in a restaurant. She reported that he seemed so wonderful and romantic. They hit it off right away. It was as if they were soul mates right from the start. He didn’t live in the same city and he flew out a few times to spend time with her. Each time he was in town he took her out on lovely dates.
I have been fortunate to be presenting in front of audiences from all walks of life. Most recently, I was at Point Loma Nazarene University presenting d8well in a graduate class. We began the presentation with what I call d8well what ifs. Students are given a scenario and their job is to discuss what they would do if the scenario happened to them. (Select the videos tab and watch the clip “first date…”)
What you will hear is two adults talking about what it is they would do if they were on a first date at the mall when their date shares that he or she needs to go to the car and invites him/her along. Although both partners admitted that as adults they wouldn’t have gone, one partner shared that in the past when she was younger she would have accompanied her new friend, especially if her new friend was a female. One of the students in the class openly admitted that she would have trusted from the start. I also am that type of person. I would go because I'm spontaneous and I often don't take the time to think things through. This mind set does put me in vulnerable positions.
The education that we need to provide to teens and also adults is that even though they think they may know someone they really don’t. Relationships are built over periods of time. Just because a face is familiar and you share what might appear to be things in common, relationships still take time. It takes weeks, sometime even years to get to know someone. Trust is built and there are so many of us who are trusting at the first meeting and instead we need to be more cautious.
If you are a trusting and overtly friendly you must take a deep breath and think through what are the possible outcomes of each scenario you are in before you act. It could save your life. Always have an exit plan and practice what that plan is before you meet someone new. Remember, just because the face is friendly there are many people who are very good at deception and until you move beyond the acquaintance stage, you need to build your relationships slowly.
D8well presented at University of San Diego this past week! Intellectually Disabled high school and new to college students from San Diego attended the program and learned about how to build healthy relationships. The program was presented in an interactive fashion and all in attendance were able to participate.
The program began with a short activity. Students were paired and after reading a short scenario they had to determine the best ways to stay safe.
A couple of the scenarios:
You are waiting on campus for class to start. A person comes up to you and asks what is your name, phone number and address. What do you do?
You develop an acquaintance relationship with a classmate and want to take it to the next level of friendship. How do you build the relationship so that you are safe?
You have been interacting with someone on facebook and after three months you finally decide to meet this person at the mall. Once at the mall, everything is going very well. This person announces that he/she needs to go to the car to get a sweatshirt and wants you to go along. What do you do?
Students learned that being safe, building relationships slowly and over time, are the keys to developing healthy relationships. After taking the class, students left with the skill set of maintaining their safety at all cost, being investigative when building relationships, setting boundaries in relationships, and moving slowly through the relationship process was to their benefit.
Attendees reported that they had fun and enjoyed learning about healthy relationships. After the presentation, one of the young men reported that in the future he plans on having a girl friend and he will be looking for someone with good communication skills and someone who is willing to be honest at all times.
email:diana@talkcounts and customize your presentation today!
This past week, I attended a celebration of youth at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park, hosted by Mental Health Systems through the efforts of Dixie Crane. In attendance were about 500 teens from all walks of life. Some of the teens were able to share their stories of how they survived and overcame adversity. Their stories were heartfelt and emotionally moving as they told their personal nightmares.
Other teens performed dances, poems and short stories that emphasized their life challenges and what they are like today. All of the youth stories included horrific events that they have survived. The lasting impression is that there continues to be many youth here in the United States that are undergoing daily abuse of some form or another. Many believe that it is due to people repeating patterns of abuse and lack of education.
As I looked around the auditorium there were several non-profit organizations that existed to help youth and to provide support for prevention. My initial impression was that we were doing a good job supporting issues of abuse. However each and every organization that I spoke with reported deep budget cuts that forced reduction of both staff and other supports. Many organizations reported that they never really know where the next funding will come from. They are in constant search of generous donations and grants to keep their organization going.
Society has the responsibility of protecting its members regardless of age or race and it begins with good parenting. Yet becoming a parent is one of those occupations that doesn’t require experience or education. Consider taking a class in parenting and the common issues that arise with the terrible twos through adolescents. Email or use the
contact button to discuss opportunities for parenting classes through talkcounts.
It is so important to protect our youth and education begins in the home. Many teens today do not have healthy role models and instead are exposed to violence in relationships and it is being normalized. Unfortunately, teens often don't talk with their parents in regards to what they are seeing and experiencing in their daily life. This needs to change so that we ensure healthy future relationships.
Parents can become actively engaged in their teen's life. It begins with open and honest communication. Set some time a side each day and engage your child in conversation. So often, parents report that when they do inquire into their child's day, the response is limited and non-descriptive. Instead, let the conversation begin with you, the parent. Describe your day and the interactions that you have had in detail. Model for your children what good open and honest communication looks like. You can begin by setting up some rules: what is said during this conversation stays in this room, promise not to be reactive, be willing to listen and hear what is being said, these are just a small sample of some rules to which you can agree.
Let me know how it works for you...
D8well for teens is in motion. We are beginning to spread the word that it isn't a secret any longer: our teens are at risk! Many teens today do not know how to build healthy dating relationships. It is so common, ordinary, and normal to see teens treating one another aggressively and disrespectfully on our middle and high school campus'. Everywhere I've been this week discussing teen dating resulted in a line of teens standing in front of me waiting to share their stories. Their stories unfortunately were not the stories that I wanted to hear. Most were riddled with abuse of one form or another.
I even had one teen share that her boyfriend hits her but he doesn't mean it. She said, "He's bipolar and he can't help it."
The question I asked her was even so, why do you think that you deserve to be hit?
Unfortunately, many teens aren't confiding in their parents but instead are sharing dating concerns with their friends who aren't necessarily prepared to give good advice. Most teens are looking for role models and are in deep trouble if their role models include Jersey Shore and the current spin offs.
I'm even surprised at Fox with its show New Girl. The set up is three boys living with one girl. Two weeks ago, one of the roommates, Schmidt, was determined to bed as many girls as possible. He was being egged-on by his roommates to be dishonest and not make a commitment to any of the girls in which he slept. At the end of the show, two of the girls realized that they were both sleeping with Schmidt. Initially they were angry and then Schmidt managed to tell them what they wanted to hear: they were important and beautiful. So instead of being angry the girls were okay.
This type of behavior is being normalized by television shows and it shouldn't! Teens need positive good role models that show every race and sex being treated with respect. Change needs to occur now. Please contact talkcounts and let us hear your voice!
Teens are at great risk and need support through programs like D8well