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    Raw and Refreshing Advice on Navigating Anxiety, Insecurity, Popularity, & Peer Pressure in Your Teenage and 20-Something Years

    When assigning chores to teenagers, focus on smaller tasks, ask them immediately rather than expecting them to remember, offer assistance, and communicate respectfully for a positive response.

    enSeptember 14, 2023

    About this Episode

    Lately, I’ve been getting a ton of questions from listeners about how to best support high schoolers and 20-somethings. There are lots of questions about anxiety, peer pressure, and getting young adults to open up. 

    So, in this episode, I have a pile of your questions in front of me as my son, Oakley, and I go through them rapid-fire style, so you get both of our perspectives on the topics everyone worries about but is too afraid to talk about.

    I have to say, Oakley really showed up for this conversation for you. He has hilarious and heartfelt thoughts on topics he has first-hand experience with. 

    We cover it all. From academic pressure to body image to bullying, this conversation is full of tools and strategies and is raw, unfiltered, and filled with relatable stories (and only a few f-bombs).

    You will learn:

    • What teens and 20-somethings really need (and don’t need) from their parents.
    • (If you only get one thing from this episode, make it this…) How to encourage the young men in your life to open up.
    • The ONLY thing you need to do when your young adults come home in a bad mood.
    • How to get unhooked from toxic popularity and cliques and find your people in school or in life.
    • 3 smart strategies to use when your child is getting bullied that will strengthen your bond with your kid.
    • An 18-year-old's surprising take on when to give your kid a cellphone.
    • The must-use hacks for introverts who want to be more confident in school.
    • How to get your kid to do chores (and still like you).
    • Strategies for handling your kid’s anxiety without yelling or freaking out.
    • The best way to navigate curfews and late-night parties with your teen.

     

    I can’t wait for you to hear this. I loved the questions and the advice. And as a mom, I couldn’t be more proud of Oak for how much wisdom he shared.

    I’d love for you to listen with your teens and 20-somethings. In fact, at the end of the episode, Oakley gives specific advice (including exactly what to say) to get your kids to listen. 

    Xo, Mel

     

    In this episode, you’ll learn:

    • 1:20: Why is it so hard to get my teen to open up to me?
    • 4:00: Your kids need quiet time at these two times of the day.
    • 7:22: Here’s what to say to start a conversation with your child.
    • 9:30: How should your kids handle clique groups?
    • 11:00: How can you tell who "your" people are?
    • 12:15: Three strategies to help your kid deal with hurtful behaviors.
    • 17:30: What teens need (and don’t need) from their parents.
    • 21:45: At what age do you think your teen should have a phone?
    • 23:30: My high school senior has no idea what she wants to major in.
    • 26:00: Two best hacks for introverted teens everywhere.
    • 28:45: How can you help your kids find their friends?
    • 34:00: My teen is a senior in high school, but he still has chores at home.
    • 36:30: Oakley gives you a peek into his own anxiety to help your anxious teen.
    • 41:20: How do you reassure your kid when he’s dyslexic?
    • 42:45: The gold-standard tutoring program we used to help Oakley with his dyslexia.
    • 44:20: Two simple hacks that have made a big difference for Oakley in school.
    • 45:30: The two qualities I think of first when it comes to curfews.
    • 47:00: Here was my #1 desire for my Vermont home when it came to my kids.
    • 49:40: I literally sat Oakley’s friends down and laid down two rules for hanging out.
    • 52:40: So how do you get your teen to listen to this interview?

     

     

    Want more resources? Go to my podcast resource page at melrobbins.com/podcast.

     

     

    Disclaimer

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Parents should acknowledge societal pressure on young males to conform to masculine expectations and give them space to process their emotions.
    • Giving individuals, especially teenagers, the time and space they need to process their emotions can lead to better communication and relationships, while challenging societal expectations around male emotions.
    • Give your child the space to express their feelings, ask if they want advice or just a listening ear, and avoid exclusive and judgmental cliques for a happier and healthier environment.
    • True happiness comes from finding trustworthy friends who bring enjoyment, safety, and security into your life, rather than seeking validation from a popular but potentially toxic crowd.
    • By not reacting to bullying and joking about insults, you can take away the bullies' power. However, it's important to seek help if the bullying becomes racist, discriminatory, or negatively affects mental health. Parents should offer support and help their child navigate bullying situations.
    • Parents should strike a balance between involvement and allowing independence for their children, addressing significant concerns while encouraging their ability to handle smaller issues on their own.
    • Parents' efforts in fostering a welcoming environment and delaying smartphone introduction can significantly impact their child's friend group and overall well-being.
    • Kids can connect with friends through other devices, it's okay to be undecided about a college major, and respecting breakfast preferences promotes understanding and acceptance.
    • Participating in class helps you engage, gain confidence, and improve public speaking skills. Don't be afraid of making mistakes and embrace the present. Joining afterschool sports clubs can also help you make friends and stay authentic.
    • By joining clubs or trying new things, you can meet people who share your interests and make friends. It's okay if not every interaction leads to a strong friendship - it takes time to find your people.
    • When assigning chores to teenagers, focus on smaller tasks, ask them immediately rather than expecting them to remember, offer assistance, and communicate respectfully for a positive response.
    • Anxiety is a common struggle, but reaching out for support, considering therapy and medication, and utilizing helpful tools and strategies can lead to temporary relief and a sense of accomplishment.
    • Children benefit from seeing their parents navigate challenges and share their emotions, as it helps them understand that struggling is normal and that they can provide support to each other. Additionally, addressing the emotional well-being of children with learning disabilities is essential, providing them reassurance and tools for managing their condition.
    • Understanding and supporting the unique learning style of dyslexic individuals can foster their talents, promote success in various areas of life, and prioritize their well-being.
    • By setting boundaries and fostering a sense of community, parents can create a safe space where teenagers feel comfortable and welcome, leading to positive social lives and relationships.
    • Open and honest conversations with teenagers and young adults, treating them with respect and clearly stating rules, fosters mutual respect and gratitude, while avoiding enforcing rules through the host's children to prevent rebellion.
    • By using tactics like playing podcasts in the car, selecting interesting segments, or highlighting relatable peers, parents can support their children's learning and development while fostering open communication.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The struggle of young males in expressing emotions

    Teenagers and young adults, especially males, may find it difficult to open up and talk about their emotions. It is not because they don't like their parents or guardians, but rather because they feel the need to conform to societal expectations of masculinity. Boys in high school often believe that sharing their true feelings is a sign of weakness and goes against the social hierarchy they are trying to establish. Therefore, they prefer to stay quiet and not express their sadness or vulnerability. Parents should understand and respect their child's need for space during such times and not take it personally.

    The Importance of Personal Space and Emotional Processing

    Individuals, especially teenagers like Oakley, need personal space and time to process their emotions and experiences before opening up and engaging in conversations. Oakley emphasizes the difference between mornings and afternoons, highlighting how after a long day at school, they require some alone time in their room to decompress and be ready to share. Similarly, Oakley mentions the importance of recognizing subtle cues and signs when they are ready to reengage and have a conversation. This conversation also sheds light on societal expectations and stereotypes regarding male emotions, reinforcing the idea that bottling up feelings is seen as strength. Understanding and respecting these needs for personal space can help build better communication and relationships with individuals who may withdraw when upset.

    Effective communication and addressing cliquey behavior for a healthier parent-child relationship.

    Effective communication with your child involves acknowledging their feelings and giving them the space to open up. Instead of immediately offering advice or trying to solve their problems, it's important to ask if they want advice or if they simply want you to listen. This approach allows your child to express themselves without feeling pressured or judged. Additionally, the conversation highlights the importance of addressing cliquey behavior and the negative impact it can have. It's advised to stay away from cliques that are exclusive and judgy, as they create an unhealthy and unsupportive environment. Choosing happiness over social standings is crucial for overall well-being.

    Seeking Genuine Connections over Superficial Popularity

    Popularity doesn't equal true happiness. While it may feel good to be recognized and hang out with the popular crowd, it often turns out to be shallow and unfulfilling. The popular group may be filled with gossip, backstabbing, and hurtful behavior towards each other. Instead of seeking popularity, it is important to find people who bring trust, safety, enjoyment, and security into your life. True friends will have your back and stand up for you in difficult situations. When hurtful things are said, it's crucial to remember that those who say them are often dealing with their own issues and taking out their frustration on others. It's important to seek genuine connections rather than superficial popularity.

    Dealing with Bullying: A Non-Reactive and Humorous Approach

    Dealing with bullying requires a combination of not reacting to it and finding ways to make fun of it. Oakley suggests that by agreeing with the bullies and joking about the insults, it takes away the power that the bullies have over you. This unexpected response may make them feel uncomfortable and less likely to continue their bullying behavior. However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to this approach. If the bullying becomes racist, discriminatory, or starts to negatively impact one's mental health, it is crucial to take action and seek help. As a parent, offering support, consistently checking in, and rehearsing comebacks can all be valuable ways to assist your child in navigating through bullying situations.

    Balanced Parental Involvement for Healthy Growth

    Parents should be involved in their children's lives and provide support, but not interfere in every little issue. It is important for parents to communicate with their children about any significant concerns like racism, danger, or depression, and reach out to the school or other parents if necessary. However, for smaller matters like name-calling or teasing, parents should encourage their children to handle it themselves or seek their guidance. Parents should focus on understanding what their children need and be a source of love, pride, and support. It is also important for parents to foster a positive relationship with their children's friends, even if they personally may not like them, as it helps them stay connected and involved in their children's lives.

    Creating a positive environment and delaying smartphone introduction for children's well-being.

    Parents should prioritize creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for their children's friends. By avoiding judgment and making an effort to get to know them, parents can have a positive influence on their child's friend group. Research shows that 97% of a child's success as a young adult is influenced by the five friends they spend time with. Additionally, delaying the introduction of smartphones until around the age of 16 can be beneficial, as it allows children to appreciate life beyond technology and reduces the risk of them becoming consumed by it. However, parents should also consider practical needs and may opt for a simple flip phone to ensure communication is still possible.

    The Importance of Alternatives, Flexibility, and Respect.

    Having a smartphone is not always necessary, especially for kids. Oakley points out that children can still connect with their friends through other devices like Xbox or computers. It is not the end of the world if they don't have a smartphone until they're older. Additionally, when it comes to deciding on a college major, it is perfectly fine to not know what to study at a young age. Many people enter college undecided, and it's okay to explore different subjects before making a decision. Lastly, breakfast preferences can vary from person to person, and Oakley explains that they don't typically eat breakfast due to various reasons. It's important to understand and respect each other's individual preferences and needs.

    The Benefits of Participating in Class and Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Participating in class is important for several reasons. Not only does it show your teachers that you're paying attention, but it also helps you feel more engaged and get what you need out of the class. If you have the time, taking a drama class can boost your confidence and public speaking skills. However, even if you can't take a drama class, remember that people in class are often not fully present or listening, so don't worry about messing up. Getting over your fear is best achieved by jumping right in and speaking up. Additionally, it's important to appreciate where you are and be present in the moment. As for making friends, signing up for afterschool sports clubs can be a great way to meet new people and stay true to yourself.

    Building Connections and Social Skills through Activities Outside of Class

    Getting involved in activities outside of classes can help you make connections and develop social skills. By joining a club or trying something new, you have the opportunity to meet people who share your interests and make friends. It may feel awkward at first, but taking the initiative to approach someone and strike up a conversation can lead to meaningful connections. It's important to remember that not every interaction will result in a strong friendship, and that's okay. Reassure yourself or your child that the first person you meet may not be your best friend, and that it takes time to find your people. Taking the first step and putting yourself out there is key to building a social network in a new environment.

    Finding a Balance and Effective Communication with Teenagers and Chores

    When trying to get someone, especially a teenager, to do chores, it is important to find a balance between giving them freedom and setting clear expectations. It is suggested to avoid being too controlling with chores that take up a lot of time and instead focus on smaller tasks that can be completed in a short amount of time. To ensure they remember to do the chores, it is best to ask them right then and there, rather than expecting them to remember later. Additionally, it may be helpful to offer assistance or do the chores together to make it feel less burdensome and reduce anger or grumpiness. Finally, clear and respectful communication, asking for help instead of demanding, can also contribute to a more positive response.

    Overcoming Anxiety: Seeking Support and Regaining Control

    Anxiety can be incredibly consuming and scary, but you are not alone in feeling this way. It is important to reach out for support and tell someone about your struggles. Seeking therapy and considering medication can be helpful in managing anxiety and regaining control of your life. Remember, there is nothing wrong with taking medication for anxiety, just as there is nothing wrong with seeking medical help for any other condition. The tools and strategies that are available to manage anxiety actually work, and with time and effort, anxiety can become temporary. You have the power to overcome it and look back on your progress with a sense of accomplishment.

    Parents as role models for handling challenges and supporting children's emotional well-being.

    It is important for children to see their parents as humans who experience ups and downs in life. When children witness their parents facing challenges and breaking down, it helps them understand that it is okay to struggle and that it is a normal part of life. This can provide a sense of comfort and reassurance to children, knowing that they are not alone in their own difficulties. While parents don't need to share every detail with their children, it is beneficial to let them in and allow them to provide support. Furthermore, it is crucial to address the emotional well-being of children with learning disabilities like dyslexia, assuring them that they are not dumb and providing them with techniques and strategies for managing their condition.

    Embracing the Talents and Abilities of Dyslexic Individuals

    Dyslexia does not make someone dumb, but rather gives them different talents and abilities. It is important to understand that the brain of a dyslexic individual learns differently and may excel in areas such as creativity, problem-solving, spatial awareness, and other skills. Instead of trying harder, it is crucial to provide proper tutoring and support systems that cater to their unique learning style. Dyslexic individuals can benefit from listening to books, typing instead of handwriting, and utilizing other helpful tools. It is also essential to recognize that school is not the only aspect of life, and success can be achieved outside of traditional academic environments. Additionally, when it comes to curfew and safety, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of dyslexic individuals and take precautions based on location and circumstances.

    Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment for Teenagers: The Importance of Prioritizing Safety and Building Trust

    Creating a safe and welcoming environment for teenagers can have a positive impact on their social lives and relationships. Mel Robbins, the parent, emphasizes the importance of prioritizing safety over strict curfews and rules. By setting boundaries, such as requiring that friends either stay overnight or have their parents pick them up, she ensures that her house remains a safe space for everyone. Oakley Robbins, the teenager, expresses her enjoyment of being the "hangout house," where friends feel comfortable and welcome. The conversation highlights the value of fostering a sense of community and friendship, as well as the benefits of building trust and open communication between parents and teenagers.

    Setting Clear Expectations and Boundaries in Hosting

    It's important to set clear expectations and boundaries in any hosting situation. Mel Robbins emphasizes that she loves having kids around but doesn't want to be taken advantage of or treated like a maid. By sitting down with Oakley's friends and clearly stating her rules, she earns their respect and creates a harmonious environment. It's important to have open and honest conversations with teenagers and young adults, treating them with respect and allowing them to understand what is expected of them. This approach not only fosters mutual respect but also encourages them to show gratitude and be mindful of their actions. Additionally, Mel advises against enforcing rules through the children of the host, as it might lead to rebellion.

    Creative Strategies for Engaging Children with Valuable Content

    Parents can encourage their children to listen to valuable content like podcasts or audio recordings by finding creative ways to engage them. Oakley suggests three strategies: trapping them in the car and playing the content, selecting a shorter segment that they might find interesting, or highlighting the presence of a peer who can relate to their concerns. It is important for parents to show their love, belief, and support in their children's ability to create a fulfilling life. By fostering open communication and finding unique ways to share valuable information, parents can help their children grow and learn.

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