3 Ways to Reach Your Teen in 140 Characters or Less In part 1 of this 3-part series, we explore the proper ways to help you communicate with your teen through text messaging. BY LISA JANDER
Learn how to communicate in ways that your teen won't tune you out.
“ Overloading teens with dozens of details will surely cause them to shut down.”
"Blah, blah, blah, Jordan, blah, blahÖ" It is easy to translate what teens hear when they tune their parents out. And itís not just parents they ignore. Teens have been trained to tune out anyone who has more to say than the 140-character limit set by social media.
So how do we reach these kids to communicate the important details that really matter? In this three-part series, we will explore different methods of communication, and you will find that your teen prefers one over the other; itís important to understand which is preferred for maximum effectiveness. In this first article, we will discover the best way to communicate with your teen through text messaging. Here are the doís and doníts to consider followed by the number of characters with each example:
1. Text in sound bytes. Little bursts of wisdom, information and directions separated by time are much more likely to be received than the flow of data parents tend to deliver. Our culture is already marketing to teens in little nuggets that rev their engines in a way that keeps them coming back for more. To compete with these million dollar messages, follow the example and let the clutch out a little bit at a time.
* Donít: Good morning sweetie! I just wanted to let you know that the neighbors are coming over for dinner and I will not be able to pick up your soccer jersey because I have decided to make Dadís favorite meal and it takes awhile to prepare. Would you please stop by and pick up the jersey?
* Do: Would you please pick up your soccer jersey today?
2. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, silly. Another age-old sales tool that has proven effective and one that gets results works well for teens, too. Overloading teens with dozens of details will surely cause them to shut down. Use appropriate abbreviations and eliminate the unnecessary sludge. It goes against the grain of good grammar but is more likely to reach the teen brain.
* Donít: I was talking with a friend today about the new app for teens, I think it is called "Kik?" Anyway, I was wondering if you know anything about it so we can have a conversation about it when you get home.
* Do: Leave those conversations for a face-to-face exchange.
3. Ratio of 2:1 Much of what we tell our kids falls under the category of white noise. In other words, it may be important to us and even vital to them, but they will determine in a nano-second whether or not itís worth paying attention. One great way to combat that is to make sure that for every negative or neutral dialog, you follow with at least two positive statements.
* Donít: You need to stay after school and meet with your math teacher so you can pull your grade up to at least a B or Iím not sure we will be able to go on vacation during your break.
* Do: Sorry to hear about your math grade. I know you studied really hard. (Take a break and wait for a reply, then follow with another encouragement.)
Connecting with your teen should be an ever-evolving exercise but often gets bogged down in redundancy and loses power. In the next two articles, I will share several great tips on connecting by e-mail and in person.