And Other Myths About Teens
Myth #1 – Lazy teens just want to sleep.
Get a roomful of parents of teens together and most will probably agree – their kids like to sleep. Actually, their kids like to sleep in – meaning that they are no longer the early morning risers they used to be when all they wanted to do was jump out of bed and race to watch cartoons. Teens, however, don’t usually tend to sleep late because they are lazy, but because their natural circadian rhythms are changing so that their bodies naturally gravitate toward later bedtimes and later mornings. Teens are also going through enormous hormonal changes and body growth, and their bodies usually require at least 9.25 hours each night (which most teens don’t get).
- Discourage electronics after 10:00 p.m. to allow your teen to unwind and unplug.
- Help your teen plan ahead for the next morning to save time and wasted energy looking for missing track shoes.
- Watch the snacks your teen is consuming before bed – they should be limited in or free of caffeine, sugars, and heavy carbohydrates (which can disrupt sleep patterns).
Myth #2 – Teens don’t want to talk with their parents.
According to surveys, teens do want to hear from their parents. They just might not show that they are listening, and they might not return the conversation (especially if cozy conversations are new between parents and teens). Even when it comes to those tougher topics to handle, like intimate relationships, teens want to hear what their parents think – 62% of teens wished their parents would talk with them more about relationships, and only 20% of teens said that friends most influence their decisions.
- Talk with your teen about situations that other teens are experiencing. This takes the heat of off them, but still allows for meaningful conversations.
- Make it a point to have at least a few calm and easy conversations each day that have nothing to do with homework, household responsibilities, or curfew.
- Keep talking – even if they are rolling their eyes. Their ears are still open and your words will be heard.
Myth #3 – Teenagers are too spoiled to get part-time jobs.
A few decades ago it might have been commonplace for teens to be the ones taking orders at the drive-thru or assisting customers at the mall. The faces of employees are changing, though, for several reasons. The economy has forced many people who are post-high school age to go back and either seek new employment at what were once jobs considered to be for teens, or to go and get a part-time job in additions to their lower paying full-time jobs. High school students have rigorous demands on their time schedules. Sports schedules, extracurricular activities, and homework have students available to work fewer hours, and parents are increasingly concerned about their kids’ abilities to juggle it all.
- Encourage your teen to look for a job with fewer than 20 hours each week (more than that and studies show a decline in grades).
- Consider just having your teen work on weekends or during the summer.
- Encourage your tweens and teens to volunteer at young ages – it helps build character and gives them a leg up in the job market.
- Help your teen create a resume that will give him the best chance at a job that works well with your teen’s schedule.
Teenagers are unique creatures. One minute they are confident and know everything there is to know in the world, and the next they are stressed over which shoes might look better. Even though it can be tempting to just chalk all of those sleepy mornings, eye rollings, and overworked sighs up to the hormones of teenage-hood, sometimes we need to give them more credit. Today’s teens are facing enormous changes and challenges, and still have less than 2 decades of life experiences with which to deal with those situations. Time to sit back and encourage them and understand life from their perspectives – even if we walked uphill to school each way back in the day.