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The Power of Feeling Understood

Many if not all of us in the business of working with teens would describe ourselves as understanding. So why do many teens walk away from their interactions with adults feeling like we just don’t understand? Professionals in various roles are so often well meaning, desire to help, and are terrific and efficient problem solvers. It is understandable then that we tend to move very quickly to suggest interventions or helpful to dos. It’s tempting to want to help by fixing with ideas for action, and that is very often not what teens want or need from us. The truth is that teens would move more easily to resolution or needed change if we instead took the time to more fully understand the situati

Parents Just Don't Understand!

Aside from being an 80’s wrap song by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince aka Will Smith, it’s an age-old assumption made by teens across generations. In some ways, teens may need to hold onto this notion to allow for the separation and development of individuality needed to confidently head out into the world. On the other hand, teens deep down crave acceptance and want to fundamentally feel understood by their parents and caretakers. Across my career and experience as a parent the single most important tool I have found in managing my relationships with the teens I serve and those I am raising is validation. It is also the hardest skill to teach parents and practice consistently and the one

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