Over the past five years I have come to realize that teenagers require a different set of communication rules. With everyone else in my life I have the ability to have a conversation. I say what I would like to say and they listen. Then they say what they would like to say and I listen. That is how communication works...unless you are a teenager.
The only way a conversation will occur with your teen is if the topic involves their car, their plans, money or the mall. Otherwise you have about thirty seconds to make your point. For example this is the conversation I would have had with my son if his attention span would allow.
"Michael, do you know you have a C+ in Spanish?"
"Yea, the teacher doesn't teach it! I swear!"
"Well then maybe we should get you a tutor and you should spend some more time studying"
"I study all the time!"
"Really, because every time I come in your room you are playing X Box Live with the computer on your lap and your cell phone in your other hand!"
"No! I study all the time!
"Seriously? I don't even know what your Spanish book looks like!"
AND THIS IS WHERE HIS EYES WOULD GLAZE OVER AND HIS LISTENING WOULD COME TO A SCREECHING HALT.
"Michael, you know if you don't get a good base in Spanish I you will have much more difficulty in Spanish II and III which you will be required to take because your graduating class is the first one that is required to take three years of a foreign language. There will always be things that are difficult but you have to put forth more effort and keep your grades up. If you get Spanish over with before your junior you will have more time to focus on the ACT......."
That part of the conversation would go on for about ten more minutes before I ask him if he understands me and he nods with a dazed look on his face.
So knowing what I know about teens this was our actual conversation.
"Michael, did you know your Spanish grade sucks?"
"Are you going to fix this or should I get involved?"
"No, I'll fix it"
"IF by chance you don't fix it, don't bother to ask to do anything outside the house during the school week, understand?
Of course you must have instilled a healthy fear of you actually carrying out the punishment but that is a topic for another blog.
So remember, you have thirty seconds to make your point. Practice with a stopwatch and choose your words carefully. Good luck!!!