Hey Parents, #TeensAreNotAliens
“Hey, y’all. Do you get your dig of the latest KPOP BTS?” “You don’t seem to catch my #VIBE at all, Mom”
As a parent, if hearing this dialogue makes you wonder if the teenager in front of you is the same baby whose babbles you could make out in your sleep, you are not alone!
But there is more to a teenager than Korean dramas, Insta reels, and consuming content on YouTube. To really know them, caregivers (parents, teachers, and mentors) have to step into their world and look beyond what first meets the eye. Ashwini George, who works with teens through her organization, Live Jam, shares her insights into this ever-evolving ‘species’, fondly called TEENS.
Ashwini agrees wholeheartedly that our young people are the future - a future that is already here exploding alongside technology. Unfortunately, most caregivers are having a hard time keeping up with the frantic pace of this explosion. But all is not lost, because your teen is not just a little person driven by hormones, but someone who cares about the world and its biggest concerns.
So how do we really reach out to them, understand them, and become people they trust? Ashwini talks about the 3Bs - Belong, Behave, and Believe.
Start by taking a genuine interest in what interests them. Teens can smell “fakeness” from a mile away! Initiate conversations. Many times caregivers avoid awkward topics. They resort to lecturing instead, an approach that is as old as Orkut, fossilized and forgotten! Teens like to “watch and learn”, so modeling behavior is non-negotiable in teen care. Ashwini also suggests that we make an effort to learn the teen lingo and hashtags if we really want to connect with GenZ.
Ashwini George is the Operational Lead for LiveJam India. LiveJam's vision is the transformation of urban youth through music, media, and stories. Her focus areas include emotional and mental health as well as leadership development. She has a passion to connect with young people and in her free time loves to skim Spotify and style trends.