Communicating with teens is not always easy. My friend Janet recently told me about the Book Club that she started with two teenage grandchildren who live in different households.
One of the best ways to connect with young children during a video call is to read a book. As children get older they will be excited to read a book to you. Discussing books that teens have read and enjoyed is a great topic for video chat. Janet uses the Skype group call feature so that she and the two teens, who live in different states, can meet together to share their thoughts about a story. The Club meets every two weeks during the school year and more frequently during school vacations.
While checking Amazon and Barnes & Noble online I discovered Anita Silvey. This author has published several book guides for children and teens including 500 Great Books for Teens published in 2006. Both websites will give you ideas for books for children & teens. Also, check with the experts at your local bookstore and library.
Janet shared that one of the favorite reads for her online Book Club was The Book Thief, a book that I enjoyed myself but thought of as an adult book. When I researched the book I discovered that it has won numerous children’s book awards including the School Library Journal Best Book of The Year, Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book of The Year, and Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature. Incidentally, the book was made into a movie which also was an award winner. Now Janet plans to watch the movie with the two teens the next time they get together. A Movie Club may be in the making!
Contact me and share your video call ideas
If the teens you want to stay in touch with are reluctant to communicate try Skype or FaceTime. My friend Barbara recently told me that her teen grandchildren were communicating less often than when they were younger. Then she discovered Skype and began to enjoy the video chats so much more than telephone calls. Being able to see expressions and changes as children grow – and grow up – is a precious gift. With video chats parents and grandparents who are separated from their children can continue to play an important role in providing guidance to teens if they continue to be available to communicate on tough issues.
In my book Learn To Video Call With Children I provide examples of open-ended questions that will get more than a yes or no answer. The questions are appropriate for all ages, including teens. Some examples are: Can you tell me what you know about that? What is the best thing that happened today? What is the worst thing that happened? What do you think you should have done?
Growing up isn’t easy. Many teens assume that parents and grandparents don’t understand them – and sometimes we don’t. It is not unusual to experience a disconnect with teens. Some key points that you can consider when video calling with teens:
1. Listen and try to understand without confronting, even if you disagree.
2. Keep your comments short and don’t lecture.
3. Ask questions to explore thoughts & behaviors before making assumptions.
4. Be willing to praise rather than criticize.
Here are some webpages with other suggestions:
Send me some of your favorite stories about communicating with teens using video call.