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Talking to Teens

Kids Count

In addition to a new social imperative driven by communications technologies, teenagers are operating under tremendous social pressure. In my opinion, much of the new communication technology is utilized to elevate what used to be called gossiping. I stopped logging on to Facebook several years ago because of this.

During my teenage years, many women were still at home and not in the workplace and now the opposite is true.This one change has had a profound effect on teenagers in that mothers are just not as available as they once were, making friendships between teens that much more important to them.

There was a time when teenagers had a number of adults from whom to reference or model behavior.

Many teens in my day worked in a variety of settings that put them shoulder to shoulder with adults. Currently many teens are unemployed and do not have this opportunity.

The net effect has been to make friendships among teens even more important than they were 30 years ago. A recent UCLA study discovered that social relationships today are so important that social rejection registers as bodily injury or pain in the brain. According to the study, there is little practical difference between a punch in the stomach and a social slam. Though teen’s primary reference group is other teens, parents can still play a vital role in helping them figure out life’s challenges.

Don’t forget to have some fun with your teen, not every interaction should be a lecture. Don’t stop hugging them and caring about them. Those important parental actions never go out of style.

Remember, all kids count.

Reach the writer at hurlburt@wildblue.net

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