What Will You Watch to Begin the Conversation?
Today’s teenagers prefer to watch Vine videos and YouTube videos over actual television. My son is pretty much obsessed with YouTube these days. He is a typical teenager in that he has his cell phone permanently glued to his hand at all times. I'm pretty lenient with his usage except during certain times. No phones at the dinner table. Ever. No phones in church, although he tries, even after I give the 'mom look'. My husband won't allow him to stare endlessly at his phone when they are driving together (my husband is driving, not my son). And no cell phone alone in his bedroom, at all, at any time, but especially at night. the phone is plugged in downstairs and he sleeps upstairs in his room.
My son's generation is the Millennials and they are completely hooked on social media and smart phones. Because really, smart phones are fun! I need to be pretty creative these days in order to get him to engage with me personally. I can no longer get him to play board games with us as quickly I could when he was younger. However, I now can use the television and specific programs to make connections within our family and directly with him.
Sharing Experience With Media
It is easy to assume that the time we (parents and children together) spend watching television together is only valuable if all the family members are having some sort of meaningful interaction. (ie: belly laughter etc) However, I feel that the simple act of sitting together and physically being together and perhaps touching (ie: shoulder to shoulder, head on lap) adds intrinsic value to our parent-child bond.
While there are a myriad of ways for parents to try and connect with teens, according to a recent study by Netflix, 83% of parents have watched a show their teen has seen to feel closer to them. The biggest surprise? 74% of teens are willing to open up and talk to their parents about the shows they watch. With entertainment as a common ground, parents and teens can bridge the conversation gap and tackle tough topics such as sex, anxiety and bullying over shows like the latest groundbreaking Netflix's original 13 Reasons Why. [via Netflix]
A Few Seconds Can Make All the Difference for Teenagers
I tell my son often that, a few seconds of good judgment can prevent regret later on in his life. I don't think he really "gets" this yet, but I think if if repeat it often enough, he may apply it someday. When teenager do stop to think, for those few precious seconds, they are better able to say no when difficult situations arise. Like getting into a car with a friend who has been drinking; even drinking whilst hanging out with friends is a bad decision; letting your girlfriend or boyfriend influence your level of intimacy; not helping friends and adults and still having a level of giving and serving in your life; and simply gossiping with or about friends.
Keeping The Conversation Going
As a parent to a teenage son and two tween daughters I must reinforce the idea of taking a moment, a mere moment, to pause and make good decisions and choices. I know teenagers are literally unequipped emotionally to make the best decisions, but if I say these few little words enough, maybe my teenagers and tweens will make good, moral decisions based on thought rather than emotion AND they will influence others do to the same.
As with all things, there is no foolproof way to guarantee my children will make wise decisions. But as long as I keep coming up with fun and creative ways to engage with my kiddos and celebrate their successes, even more so when they make good decisions and choices.
Navigating the waters with your teen can be choppy, but with the Netflix parenting cheat sheet it’s smooth sailing. Whether you’re trying to find more in common or just understand them a little better, Netflix has what you should watch next.
Being a blogger has enabled me to have all the social media skills that every teenager has today. My son is astonished when he says something to me and I actually know exactly what he he talking about. Believe me, the speed of teenagers is really an epic craziness of a life jouorney. I'm just trying tonavigate the ever-morphing wilderness that is parenting teenagers in this decade!