Editor’s Note: We are happy to announce that writer Meaghan Roberts, JD, MDR is joining our Santa Monica Mirror family. She will be offering readers tips on effective communicative skills and conflict resolution tactics to help families, friends and co-workers build trust and form stronger bonds.
Smh, lol, wtf, brb, btw, bcnu, cya, dbeyr, rbtl, rotflmao, stby, swak, tfh, rtm, ttyl. Just like a foreign language, right? Not if you are under 20.
In fact, this is the main language in space. Sorry to all you Earthlings, you are SOL if you try to decode this on your own.
What happened to the good old days when we actually spelled out what we were saying?
Not too long ago these were just letters that meant nothing. This is why half the time parents have no clue what their teens are talking about.
Parents and teenagers speak different languages. This is the first and last time in history where teenagers grew up in space and their parents did not. What a difference a generation made.
While teens may be born on Earth, they spend more time communicating in space via text, social media, and email. Yes, space has offered miraculous opportunities in terms of communicating but at the same time has done a great disservice for basic communication.
There is a reason why parents should be concerned.
In space, there is no need for listening skills, there is no such thing as non-verbal communication (unless you count all caps as meaning something) and the concept of eye contact is irrelevant.
It’s a scary realization to learn that the fundamentals of communicating on Earth play no part in space.
What’s even more terrifying? Teens actually go to space’s capital, Google, for life advice that traditionally used to be given by parents and grandparents.
This is the same as your child going up to random people on the street and asking them about sex. But can you blame them? Google does not judge, laugh or get upset.
Your teen can also trust Google will keep all his/her questions private.
Does this mean that teens trust Google more than their parents? Not necessarily.
It all comes down to the relationship parents have developed with their children. Teenagers often have questions and are seeking advice but are not willing to put themselves in vulnerable positions for the answers. They need to feel safe to come to their parents about certain things and many do not.
Most parents do not realize how often their kids go to the Internet for advice. Parents must be the most influential voice in their children’s ear because it is nearly impossible to stop children from accessing the Internet. Parents have to create a safe environment on Earth where their teen will feel comfortable opening up to them. My website offers a seven-week program called Sticks & Stones that is specifically designed to help parents create that environment.
The program is encompassed of two ebooks: Sticks & Stones and My Rock.
Sticks & Stones is a self-help guide for teens concerning daily issues they deal with.
The guide is also an e-journal where teens can write their thoughts, feelings and questions.
The purpose of the journal is to create a safe outlet for teenagers to express themselves. They will read one chapter a week and spend the remainder of the week reflecting and writing about what they learned.
My Rock is a supplemental guide that gives parents insight on what their teens are reading each week as well as communicative skills and questions to ask to help facilitate a conversation with their teens.
Each week, a day prior to reading a new chapter, parents and teens will meet to discuss what the teens have learned and any questions they have.
The goal for Sticks & Stones and My Rock, collectively, is to bridge the communication gap between parents and teenagers as well as build trust.
It is time to bring your teens back to Earth and take Communication 101: good old fashion face to face interaction.
If parents are not there to advise their teens about life, space is there to do it for them.
Meaghan Roberts is the author of “Sticks & Stones” and “My Rock.” She has a B.A. in Intercultural Communication, a Juris Doctorate and a Masters of Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University. For more information, visit www.mysticksandstones.com.