Tuning into Their World of Music and Conversations
Connecting with teens can sometimes feel like a challenging puzzle. But don’t worry! I have your back.
Before we go full into this blog, let me first introduce myself.
My name is Emma G, and I'm an author, 2x TEDx speaker, singer/songwriter, podcaster/TV talk host, and youth empowerment through songwriting coach - helping parents reconnect with their teenagers, and teenagers reconnect with themselves using the magic of music, and the power of songwriting. It's not the most typical approach to youth work, so in January of 2023: I launched the "Reconnect with your Teenager" podcast, where each week: I spoke with other non-conventional youth mental health workers, therapists, counsellors, psychiatrists and coaches to uncover some other effective ways to help your teen thrive in the midst of the post pandemic mental health crisis.
Because supporting the mental health in teens is one of the best ways to ensure the longevity of their lives, and of the planet.
So, to that end, here’s a quick guide full of simple and effective tips to help parents and mentors build strong, meaningful bonds with their teenagers.
Dive into Their Music
Music is a powerful way to connect. Teens often express themselves through music. Of course, we know that music evolves and changes every single year, so – even if it’s not always your cup of tea – take the time to explore the tunes, rhythms, and lyrics that captivate them. You can even dive into songwriting together. This shared interest can open doors to deeper connections and conversations.
Engage in Conversations
Talk with your teen, not just to them. One of the things you may have noticed over the past decade or so is the shift away from wanting to converse face to face, and more via text. However, there is a lot more risk of misinterpreting the other person when it’s via text or even video chat. There are numerous studies that suggest that between 70 and 93 per cent of communication is done non-verbally: through body language, tone, facial expressions, and eye contact. So instead of relying on technologically supported communication styles, take the time to engage in conversations that allow them to share their thoughts and feelings without the risk of feeling belittled, judged or punished. Be curious, ask questions, and dive into their world. Conversations are bridges that connect hearts and minds.
Listening is key. When teens feel heard, they feel valued and understood. Listen to their words, their music, and even the unspoken emotions. Effective listening paves the way for a relationship where teens feel comfortable sharing their worlds. It’s important to note that this means listening to understand, not listening simply to respond.
Set Clear Boundaries
Whilst we all have different ideas on how to set boundaries for our young people [or even for ourselves], one thing that is consistently evident is the importance of boundaries. They provide a sense of security and clarity for young people. Establish boundaries that are clear yet flexible. This balance fosters an environment where teens feel both safe and respected, and can be, in turn, safe and respectful.
Be Open and Flexible
Adaptability strengthens relationships. Be open to exploring their interests, like music, songwriting, football, self-defense or knitting. Flexibility allows for a relationship where teens feel free to be themselves, fostering a sense of trust and mutual respect.
Watch, Learn, and Grow Together
Every moment spent with your teen is an opportunity to watch and learn. Observe their interests, listen to their music, and participate in their activities. Learning together fosters a dynamic relationship filled with growth and understanding.
Explore More Insights
For more enriching insights, dive into the first episode of "The Reconnect with your Teenager podcast" where I spoke with Parenting Matters consultant: Dr Judy Osterhage. It’s a treasure trove of practical advice and strategies to enhance your connection with teens. Dive in, explore, and embrace the journey of building beautiful bonds with your teenager/s.
Youth Empowerment through Songwriting coaching
If you're interested in learning more about youth empowerment through songwriting: and how it can help parents reconnect with their teens, and teens reconnect with themselves using the power of music and songwriting, I'd love to hop on a call with you to learn more about the emotional and mental health benefits to music and songwriting, as well as the neurological and academic benefits for your teenager too!
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
~ Emma G