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DIRECTORS MESSAGE Special teenage issue WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A TEENAGER? Is it .... Someone who can legally drive a car but may burn down your house trying to make ramen Or is it ... Someone who is well prepared for a zombie apocalypse but not ready for tomorrow's maths test? However you define them ... It takes a lot to sometimes simply understand them and even MORE to relate and connect with them. So in this issue we look at some wonderful tips to help relate and build that connection with your teenager.

Our teenage years are an intensely dramatic and emotional time in our lives.

Looking back at those times from our adult perch we forget just how turbulent it is.

All we see now is unnecessary drama, emotional outbursts and frustrating rebellion. We overlook that we all went through the same thing and we ALL did the same crazy things to our parents.

BUT ... Did you know that in childhood you have two separate neurological systems developing:

(A) Incentive processing system

(B) Cognitive control system

The first makes you more sense and sensation seeking, emotionally reactive and more susceptible to social influences.

The second system allows you to regulate all those urges.

This is bad news for teenagers because our incentive processing system reaches its full power in early adolescence while the second system (our cognitive control system) doesn’t finish maturing until your early twenties.

So this means, you have a few wild years where you’re madly processing incentives, seeking sensations and reacting emotionally, without the control system to keep it in check.

THIS IS WHY the teenage years are so tough AND your teenager (like you before them) will make some of the dumbest decisions of their life ... without explanation or logic and have emotional outbursts, unnecessary drama and frustrating rebellion.

So let's give them a break ...

To find out WHAT is the best way to connect with your teenagers, read our feature article.

FEATURED ARTICLE Genuine connection Did you know that we learn by example more than words. It is called observational learning, mimicking and imitation. This is why the keystone principle of leadershipis leading by example. As humans, we are instinctively sending and receiving signals from each other without any words being spoken. Teenagers can (and probably have) stopped listening to you ... but they can never stop watching you. That is why leadership is about how you move your feet, not your lips. It may be hard for us to hear, but the truth is, if you want an action to change or improve in your teenager, the first place to look for change is with yourself. Remember, as adults (as leaders of our tribe) we are always on stage and what we do and what we say is always being watched, observed and heard. So as a leader or parent, if you are looking for change in others you must first ask yourself:

  • Do YOU lead by example?

  • Are YOU still doing what you're asking your teenager to stop doing?

  • Are YOU doing consistently what you're asking your teenage to improve in?

  • Are YOU the most disciplined?

  • Are YOU the most organised?

  • Are YOU the most on time?

  • Are YOU the most empathetic?

  • Are YOU the most respectful?

Then ... Allow them to observe the difference by example, not by lecture, because the best thing a leader (parent) can do for another ... is to serve as an example. It was wisely said by one the greatest coach of all time, JOHN WOODEN ... "That being a role model is the most powerful form of educating youngsters." And I would add ... that they need it more than they need social media or 'likes', ipads or holidays or criticism. In addition to correcting your own behaviour and bing a great role model ... the best way to connect, relate and unite with them is to: 1: Take a sincere interest in them You do this by asking them questions, not by command or by direction or by judgement ... but by inquiry 2: Really listen Whether you agree, whether you've got an answer or not , just listen … hear them . You’re not looking to agree with them, you’re only looking to understand them. Where they are and what they are dealing with ... and not where you are and what you’re dealing with! 3: Relate with them Not from where you are now was an adult ... But from what you remember and felt when you were 12 or whatever age person you’re talking to. You can say ... "I remember when I was 12, ohh man, that was such a tough time, I felt ....…" OR "I remember experiencing ...." "I remember worrying about ...." "I struggled with ...." "I wished for ....." " hoped for ....." And share yourself from YOUR 12 year old perspective. This way you will be able to genuinely connect with them and in turn, better lead them.

No written word nor spoken plea can teach our youth what they should be nor all the books on all the shelves it's what the teachers are themselves - Unknown

More often than we e’er suspect the lives of others we do affect

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