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Strengthening communication with teenagers.

The phase of identity crisis and awkward body changes. The year is 2019 and to make things even more complicated, we are in the advancement of technological mobility; living through the nucleus of the social media wave and the aftermath of the Me generation. The intensity of speed has accelerated to insurmountable levels, making it difficult for current research to prove the end results of such rapid shifts regarding technology. The popularity of these communication technologies among adolescents in particular has grown exponentially, with little accompanying research to understand their influences on adolescent development (Baker and White 2010). The major key holders include Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter; and game consoles such as XBox One X, Playstation 4 Pro, and the Nintendo Switch. The question that begs is, how can everyday life and traditional communication keep up? The preface alone sounds too daunting of a task. However, there is something that is still yearned for in its simplest form, that being, person to person communication.

The number one complaint of the parents of teenagers is a lack of communication with their teenagers. That being said, like us all, teenagers are looking to be listened to and understood. Erik Erikson described the stage of adolescence as identity versus role confusion, a stage that if succeeded, brings about fidelity. Fidelity presumes being able to commit one's self to others on the grounds of accepting others, even when there may be ideological differences. The failure of this could potentially bring about a role confusion where the adolescent goes out in the world, unsure of their place in society. Having that opportunity to be listened to increases the likelihood of self-confidence in a person.

The conundrum comes about during implementation of conditional boundaries, and how much is too much vice versa. In most cases, the compassionate ear acts as a guiding principle to the parent or guardian. This assists in the formation of trust within the relationship, despite possible counter-factual thinking. Most of us enjoy a pleasant vis-a-vis moment. The parent- adolescent relationship requires not only trust, but compassion. In some cases, it requires everyday work to be able to see each other with enough respect to appreciate the communication space. This serves to strengthen conversation without the participants closing off during times of doubt and allows room for acceptance. After all, we are the true key holders of the moments created. Lest we forget, this can serve as a gentle reminder.

Baker, R. K., & White, K. M. (2010). Predicting adolescents’ use of social networking sites from an extended theory of planned behavior perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 1591–1597.

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