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Communicating with Apathetic Teenagers

posted Nov 5, 2014, 11:16 AM by   [ updated Nov 5, 2014, 11:17 AM ]

By Joseph Grenny

Dear Crucial Skills,

I just watched Joseph Grenny’s “How to Hold Those You Love Accountable” video and although I thought it was good, I would like to know how to deal with teenagers who don’t see things as clearly. Both kids in the example well up in tears and seem extremely mature in their response.

What happens when you take this same approach and they just roll their eyes, say they don’t want to talk about their feelings, and to just get on with it? What about when they’ve heard it all before from adults who really wanted to empathize and they simply like doing drugs or throwing parties? They see the benefit (popularity, hot girls, easy rush, etc.) and wish the old folks would just stop nagging. They’re right and you are wrong. What do you do then?

Giving Up

Dear Giving Up,

With your permission I will speak very personally. You are asking a question that strikes at the heart of what parenting has meant to me. My opinions about your situation have been informed by twenty-seven years of learning to have intimate relationships with imperfect people. People like me. Read on