I don’t know how long it’s been since you were a middle schooler or high schooler, but here’s what I do know: even if it’s only been a few years, today’s teenagers probably seem like a completely different species. They’re using words you don’t understand, listening to music you’ve never heard of, and wearing clothes that are a hundred thousand times cooler than anything you even dreamed of wearing when you were their age. But don’t let that scare you! Yes, there’s a lot you don’t know about teenagers. But here’s the good news: learning to understand a teenager is pretty simple. I guess you could try Googling, “What do teens think is cool?” Or . . . you could just ask them. When you’re feeling totally irrelevant around young people, don’t just smile and nod and hope they don’t notice how uncool you are. Ask them to teach you something new! Find out what music they’re listening to, where they’re shopping, or what video games they play. If they mention something or someone you’ve never heard of, don’t be embarrassed—just ask them to explain it or show you how it works. Need somewhere to start? Trying asking about Snapchat or Instagram. That should take some time. They’re not going to think you’re lame for asking. They’re going to like feeling like the experts for a change. So remember, it’s okay if you have absolutely nothing in common with a teenager on a cultural level. They don’t care about your coolness. Honestly. What they do care about is whether or not you’re willing to learn about them, from them. All it takes is a little quality time, a few good questions, and a whole bunch of curiosity. So here’s my tip: if you want to learn more about teenagers, go to the source. Ask them. 

Credit: Grow Curriculum

YouthGeorge DirlingTeens