February - it’s the month of love and hugs, right? When you have a teen in your life, hugs may feel in short supply.
"Why doesn’t my teenager want to hug me anymore? What changed? All I want to do is give her a hug so she knows just how loved she is."
Sil, mom of three, ages 8-14
Aw, yes, I remember clearly when I leaned into to give my oldest kiddo, who was 12 years old at the time, a hug, and he put his hand up to say, “Not now, mom.” Ouch. I kept thinking that there must be something wrong because, here I was, an adolescent specialist, and my son was resisting my hug. It didn’t help any that the article sitting atop my desk stated, “Teens Need More Hugs.”
To be clear, we all need more hugs. Research has shown that hugs are incredibly effective at healing illness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress. They not only relax our muscles but they lift our serotonin levels, elevate our mood,...
[Continued from Part I. This is Part 2 in a 3-part series)
In part one of this series, we discussed that it is imperative for adults to do three things when speaking with teens:
(1) Know that listening is an investment.
(2) Be willing + open to listen
(3) Pay attention to what they are saying AND doing.
I want to pause on that last point.
You must LISTEN to what they are doing.
Say wha? You must listen to what they aren’t saying, and you do that by paying attention to what they are doing, aka tuning into the non-verbal cues. Often an invitation to connect with your child doesn’t come with words, it comes through their actions and behavior, their body language and their facial expressions. Let’s break this down.
Actions and Behaviors: It isn’t what your teen says that always makes the impression; it’s what he does. Withdrawing, slamming doors, rolling eyes are all specific ways to send you a...