Episode 052: Teenagers, Communication, & Divorce
Episode 052: Teenagers, Communication, & Divorce with special guest Julie Smith
Welcome to our 52nd episode!
Leanne and The Boyfriend discuss technology, specifically social media. The Boyfriend is very tech savvy but has no digital footprint. Leanne, on the other hand, stays pretty current with social media.
Inspired by today’s guest, Leanne did a Google search for confession sites or vent rooms. Her search turned up churches and HVAC information. After refining her search, she found Muttr.com. This is a site where you can anonymously vent about whatever it is you need to get off your chest.
Site’s such as this are very popular among younger generations and if you have kids/teens, this is something you probably want to know about this.
Things have changed a lot since Leanne and The Boyfriend were kids. Today’s guest really sheds some light on today’s teens.
06:52 Meet Julie Smith, licensed psychotherapist, award-winning author and featured TEDx speaker, is an expert in the study of human behavior, specifically adolescent behavior. She has created pioneering workshops and courses such as What to Do When and SpeakTeen to help parents and professionals connect with teens while also dispelling the myths of adolescent (mis)behavior. Julie, a single parent, not only works with kids, she lives with her own three teens as well.
Julie is calling in from Boulder, Colorado! She is a two time divorcee and feels she was married too young. She kids that her first marriage was her “starter marriage”. It only lasted about a year and they decided to part ways. Julie shortly after met her second husband and father of her children. They stayed together for twelve years. Julie said that when they decided to divorce it was very easy. It just made sense and they remained friends. They even continued to live together. They spend holidays together and hang out. They feel that their divorce was the best thing that happened to them. They still talk almost everyday and it’s been seven years. She finally felt free. Because of that they developed a new respect for one another.
13:19 Julie always ends up becoming friends with her ex-husbands girlfriends. There is a little bit of her that finds this fun, and she enjoys poking the bear. They have a fun relationship.
15:44 Let’s talk about teenagers! Julie’s kids were 8, 10, and 11, at the beginning of her divorce.
17:10 Julie has always worked with families. After her own divorce, she decided to follow her passion and work with teens. The one thing that changed for her was an evolution of all her relationships. She had to learn how to set boundaries and create a new balance in her life. Instead of doing what was right for everyone else, she started paying attention to what was right for her.
19:53 Divorce doesn’t screw kids up. How we handle it does (or doesn’t). Julie and her husband sat down and explained that although we aren’t husband and wife, we are still mom and dad. They kept communication open. They remained a family/parental unit.
22:00 Everyone has their struggles, but some people react. They fight it. They think it’s about being right or just about fighting. And no matter what, they can’t keep it hidden from the kids. Kids are smart and they see everything.
24:29 How do you tell your kids you’re getting a divorce? KISS – keep it simple stupid. Don’t over explain. Just be honest and short. Ask them what they need to be supported. If they don’t answer the first time, ask them again later. They’ll eventually tell you.
“Asking someone what they want or what they need is one of the most powerful things we can do.”
Don’t make assumptions!
Kids don’t necessarily want to hear all about their parents problems. They’re in a selfish stage and have their own things going on.
27:40 What about parents who stay together for the kids?
“Kids know exactly what’s going on.”
The kids might not know the details, but they know. And when they know something’s not right, they tend to feel like it’s their fault. Staying together can be more harmful to them.
29:40 How to tell your kids that it’s not their fault? No matter what, it’s going to sound cliche’. But you still need to say it. Let them know that this is your own doing, not theirs.
31:15 Teens have their own language. If you don’t know their language, culture, or norms, you’ll be shut out. You have to start by remembering what it’s like to be a teenager. That’s the first step.
But a lot has changed since we were teenagers, like technology. The environment and intensity has changed. However, what’s most important is the same, like emotions, drugs, sex, and bullying. It’s all just intensified because of technology.
Fake Instagram account is finstagram. Read more about it here: https://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/finstagram-fake-instagram/
Kids are on Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, or conventional sites (Vent). Kids are more influenced by Youtube stars more so than a typical celebrity.
36:52 Technology is a great way to connect with your teenager and Julie shares examples.
37:58 What about these confessional sites? The average age is probably 12 to 21. Ask your kids to help you on some of these new things. Don’t tell them it’s to spy on them. Connect with them. And when it comes to the confessional sites, just be aware of them. Adults really aren’t on there. Kids want to be asked and they like being able to teach you something.
41:20 Dating after Divorce. How do you talk to teens about this? They want to be in the know, but they don’t want to know all the details. They really don’t want to know about you kissing someone. If they don’t talk about it, they are probably hurting.
42:40 Are your teens dating? What does dating look like to them? Is it just talking and hanging out at school? Or is it going out on dates? ASK THEM.
44:04 Teens are venting about anything and everything on the confessional sites. Adults go to bars.
When it comes to supporting their teen through the divorce, be careful not to lean on your teenager too much. A divorced parent might overshare and/or become over dependent on the child.
This is an opportunity to gain some independence. Create a relationship that works for both of you, based on nobody else’s needs but your own.
54:00 “The role evolves rather being this hands-on provider as you were when they were younger, you get to be more of a quiet observer, and also sometimes an engaged participant in their life. And that can have a very friendly tone.”
As parents of kids, you’ll learn the language or you won’t. It’s something you’ll have to spend time on it and pay attention. Remember what it was like for you at that age.
54:22 Julie teaches workshops on Teen Speak. Teenagers think in characters and snippets – that’s why social media was developed. Teens are not problems, bad grades, or a pain. They’re people. We need to see them as people. Once we do that, we can begin communicating.
56:00 The myth of misbehavior. Kids act out because there’s something going on. Not necessarily because they’re bad kids.
Teenagers are our future, but they are also our NOW.
Teenagers are human, too!
Question of the week: As a teenager, what was your biggest challenge?
Tweet: Teenagers are our future, but they are also our NOW. ep 52 w/ @itsjuliesmith #family #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast #coparenting #singleparent #relationships #communication
Tweet: Teenagers are human, too! ep 52 w/ @itsjuliesmith #family #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast #coparenting #singleparent #relationships #communication
Tweet: The myth of misbehavior. #Kids act out because there’s something going on. Not necessarily because they’re bad kids. ep 52 w/ @itsjuliesmith #Marriage #divorce #podcast #relationships #lifelafterdivorce #podcast #family
Tweet: #Technology is a great way to #connect with your #teenager and Julie shares examples. ep 52 w/ @itsjuliesmith #transformations #Divorce #ltransformationtuesday #happiness #marriage #podcast #family #singleparents #coparenting
Tweet: “Asking someone what they want or what they need is one of the most powerful things we can do.” ep 52 w/ @itsjuliesmith #justask #communication #family #teenager #singleparent #singlemom #singledad #liveyourbestlife #gratitude #love