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Teen Engagement in Learning Starts With Respect

Adolescents learn more easily when they feel heard, understood, and cared about. Teachers should see teen reactions and attitudes through the lens of behavioral development. We know that adolescents are acutely aware of when adults are treating them with respect and when they aren't. We also know that engagement leads to successful academic outcomes and a greater sense of well-being for both the student and educator. If teens are more likely to engage with adults who respect them, it's safe to say that respect is essential to student learning. When adolescents describe the ways in which they experience respect, they report that they want to feel challenged by being pushed beyond their comfor

6 Rules for Being Transparent with Teens: Authentic Relationships Lead to Engagement

Adolescence is a notoriously difficult phase of life, and being authentic as a teenager is not an easy task. Think about how hard it is, even as adults, to stay authentic in our own lives. Authenticity is our expression of emotions, reactions, thoughts and ideas that are consistent with our internal experience. It’s what is real and true for us from our perspective and values. Staying authentic requires self-awareness, confidence, and a willingness to tolerate and work through conflict. When we are authentic we instill confidence and solidify the relationship. Helping adults and parents are in opportune roles to demonstrate, support, and reinforce the experience of authenticity for teens. T

Three Tips for Engaging Authentically With Teens

If you work with teens, you probably already know that the quality of your relationship with them is an important and potent predictor of success across a range of settings. But for many of us, engaging with adolescents is not always instinctive. Even if we have great instincts, challenging adolescent dynamics can derail the relationship when we are not deliberately focused on key relationship skills. Data gathered through focus groups, surveys and interviews with hundreds of teens and helping adults tells us that teens want us to help them. Helping professionals who work with teens also shared that they seek additional guidance in how to effectively connect with the youth they serve. The f

Three Things to Know About the Teenage Brain

As helping professionals or parents raising teenagers, it’s important for us to be able to make sense of the way teens act. Behavior makes sense when we understand what causes it and the most effective adult responses become clearer when the nature of adolescent development is revealed. The brain is a great place to start. Adolescence poses unique neurobiological circumstances that, when understood, can help to put teens’ behaviors into perspective. Understanding these aspects of adolescent growth will help us maintain an open stance so that we can build effective, authentic relationships with the teens we serve. Fortunately, adolescent brain research continues to evolve and give us answers

Cyberbullying Part 2: What Parents Can Do

Anticipate potential problems or risks with your child Having conversations about phone use and cyberbullying before any problems arise can set the tone that you are open and will be thoughtful, if they should happen to need you. Remember if they do not come to you at all when things go wrong, there is nothing you can do to help. Define potential cyberbullying situations, so that they know when it is time to seek help (e.g., friends ganging up on them, someone sending an abusive or threatening message or picture, solicitation for or sending an explicit picture or text). Let them know that, even if they feel they did something wrong or broke one of your rules, regarding online use, they can c

Talking to Your Kids About Cyberbullying Part 1: Tools for Parents

When kids are electronically (cyber) bullied, it can be hard for parents to detect, until it becomes an overwhelming issue. A cyberbully can be a close friend or a faceless entity, a single force or a group of people. Often kids and teens don’t share their online interactions with their parents, until these interactions become unbearable and even then they may say nothing. There are so many social media sites your kids may use… Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, Vine, Twitch, YouTube and online gaming platforms. It is hard to keep up with them all! Parents can learn about all of these sites, spend money on monitoring and blocking net safety software, and read every book there is

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