Mediaplanet gathered a number of teen experts and asked for their views on keeping teens safe. These are some of Joel Feldman’s comments about communicating with teens to instill a culture of health and safety:
What is the biggest misconception of teenagers today?
Adults unjustly malign teens, often referring to them as “selfish and entitled.” When adults focus on how teens negatively influence each other, they ignore how generous and caring teens can be. To empower teens we need to talk about the incredible power teens have to positively influence each other.
How can parents have effective conversations about topics like mental health, addiction, sex and distracted driving?
“Dad, I love you, but every time you give me advice when I don’t ask for it, I feel resentful and that you don’t believe that I can make good decisions. Can’t we just talk without you telling me what to do all the time?” When my 17-year-old son told me this I realized I needed to listen more than speak.
How can we instill a culture of health and safety in our teens?
Health and safety are about valuing and respecting ourselves and others who may be impacted by our choices. We don’t drive drunk but we will text and tweet while driving with our kids watching. The importance of parents in consistently modeling safe behaviors for their children cannot be overstated.
Joel also authored an article , “For Safe Teen Drivers, Parents Must Lead by Example” which can be accessed here: