Renewing Ties with Teenagers

CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen AM, has released an editorial piece called “NEVER TOO LATE: Renewing the ties that bind with our teenagers these holidays

Ms Owen’s article addresses the “limited, poor quality communication between the generations”, and stresses the need for parents to connect with their own children – and the children of others – in meaningful, often unmediated, ways.

Extract: “By the time our children become teenagers, the adults in their lives are largely absent. US research suggests teenagers spend less than 6% of their time each day communicating with their parents and only 3% of their time with adults other than teachers. We can’t be far off.Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, says we may need to focus less on attention deficit disorder in our children and young people and more on a ‘lack of attention disorder’.

Easier said than done. As adults we are often distracted, disengaged or just too exhausted to connect with our young people. Like our children, we feel life is out of control a good deal of the time. As parents we are at work, going through our own marriage, relationship, career and existential crises. In some distorted way, we are also terrified of somehow holding them back, stilting their individuality, freedom of expression and ability to survive and compete in a tough, hard world.”

CLICK HERE to download the complete article (90 KB)