Monday, 22 August 2011

How to Talk to Teens by Tal Yanai

How to Talk to Teens 
by Tal Yanai

 How I’m going to talk to my kids when they become teenagers is a thought most parents have since the kids were born. They change in front of our eyes, rebel, and become independent, wanting to spend less time with the family and more out with their friends. And if this is not enough, many start to drink, smoke, and experiment with drugs and sex. You remember; you were there a few years back.

 But talking is only one component of the relationship you have with your kids. Try to see them as what they really are; children of God you have the privilege to raise, care for and guide as they find their way in the world. In that sense, your soul and theirs are equal, having different roles to play in life. Being aware of it you would raise them respecting who they are, bringing them to respect you and your role as their parent. Having relationship which is based on mutual respect is a key for healthy dialog with teens.

Seeing them as God’s children will also give us the patience and composure needed so much if we are to succeed in our role as parents. Remember that teenage rebellion is a normal part of their growth. We have the experience; they still need to accumulate it. Still, the parent is the mature one in the relationship, so even if they seemed unwilling to listen, make sure they know you are always there for them. It is important to remember that all that God is asking of you is to do your best, and that ultimately how each person ends up is between his or her soul and God.

Nurturing healthy relationships with kids from an early age will help you to survive the turmoil of the teenage rebellion. No one likes to hear orders al the time, and parents who constantly give them (“Because I said so”), will find it harder to deal with teenagers who are much less impressed by threats and punishments. So talk to them, open yourself and when possible explain your reasoning for making a new rule, or setting new restrictions. It is your home and your rule, but a wise leader lets everyone feel included.

You are the pillar of the family, and your kids don’t need you as their best friend. They even don’t need to love you; they need to respect you, and hopefully overtime they will come to admire the role you played in their lives. Hearing her saying, “You are the best parent in the world” because she got what she wanted would make you feel good, but is not a sign of a decision well made. Make what you consider to be the right decision and over time they will learn to respect you for it. Most people grow up to by like their parents, so while guiding them as teens; you are also showing them how to do the right thing as a parent later on.

There are many ways to raise teenagers, and the one you will adapt has a lot to do with how you were raised. Try to remember what worked and what didn’t. Try hard not to repeat the mistakes you parents made, and if useful to you, use those things that worked. And when you feel overwhelmed, it is a good idea to seek professional help. But above all, listen to your inner voice, and seek God’s help. It is where the endless wisdom of the universe is to be found. And we need every bit of it if we to be successful raising teenagers in the 21th century.

Author Bio

Life Is Not a Candy Store; It's the Way to the Candy Store: A Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for TeensDuring his formative years, Tal Yanai was not happy with his reality. What he was creating in his life was not in alignment with what he wanted in his heart or what he knew and deeply felt was possible.

As a struggling student, he was considered a troublemaker in school. Then one day, during a bike trip from the kibbutz to the sea, he was asked to take charge and make sure none of the other kids lagged behind. For the first time in his life, at age fifteen, Tal got a taste of what it meant to assume responsibility and be a leader. This one experience planted the seed for his goal to assume a leadership role in his later life. After finishing high school, having been raised on Kibbutz, Einat, Israel, he volunteered to serve as a leader in the Kibbutzim Youth Movement, which focused on principles such as volunteering, mutual help, and giving to one’s community and country.

In tenth grade he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained his learning difficulties but it did little to ease his frustration with himself and his everyday struggles. He had no mentors he could confide in or look up to. And no matter how hard his parents tried, his living on a kibbutz meant they had little influence during his teenager years.

At the age of twenty-three, when he moved to the U.S., Tal found solace in a higher power and started on a spiritual path, which has led him to align himself with his soul’s essence and mission.
For two years he worked as an historical analyst at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg after the filming of Schindler’s List. As part of his job, he listened every day to testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Many were children or teenagers during WWII and their stories greatly influenced Tal’s decision to become involved with educating youth, so he proceeded to get his Teaching Credential in Social Studies.

Bringing two wonderful children into the world gave him a new sense of urgency to share and teach everything he’s learned about God and spirituality. Today, Tal teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Temple Beth Hillel in the San Fernando Valley as he continues his quest to explore the meaning of soul and achieve his full potential as a spiritual teacher.

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Resource on drug abuse for help talking with your teen:

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