Were you career oriented at that age?
That being said, some young people do know “what they want to be when they grow up.” Based on my experience working with thousands of students, most do not. I’ve notice, though, that those kids who have an interest in art and the military are more confident in their choices than most. They are fun to talk to, they usually have strong and interesting opinions. It’s definitely refreshing.
How should you start a conversation about future plans with teens, even you own? Instead of asking, “Where do you want to go to college?” ask “What are you interested in?” “What’s your favorite subject in school?” “Who is your favorite teacher, and why?” “What kind of weather do they like the most?” Yep, even that one.
Others questions that work could be, “Are you excited to get out on your own?” A lot of teens aren’t. Hard to believe but it’s true. “What do you do for fun?” “Do you wish your high school was bigger or smaller?”
The best way to have a meaningful conversation.
“What would you do in this situation, ...................?” Or better yet, “What should a person do in this situation, ......................?” Teens have strong opinions about right and wrong, fairness, and are great judges of character so here is your chance to learn a lot about them by asking them WHAT THEY THINK. (Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell.)
Hint: Try and make this a judgement free zone.
Lead with something that you experienced and how you handled it then ask if anything like that happened to them or someone they know. For example, “I had a friend who stole a cell phone then asked me to hide it for them. I didn’t know what to do. What should someone do in this situation?” “Two of my friends are fighting with each other and want me to choose sides, have you had this happen?” “We had a kid in high school that always sat alone in the cafeteria, do you see that at your school?” The question, “What do you think or what have you experienced?” can really get a conversation moving.
Talking to teenagers is tough, I imagine it’s a lot like improv. Make it easy for the other person to build on what you say, and never put them on the spot or make them feel uncomfortable.
What concerns you most about the college application process?
Chris’ cell (412) 302-1136 and home email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Schedule of upcoming college presentations for parents:
- Thursday March 7 at Jefferson Hills Library
- Thursday March 14 at Whitehall Library
- Tuesday March 26 at Bethel Park Library
- Thursday May 2 at Baldwin Library
- Tuesday May 14 at Baldwin Library
- Saturday May 18 at Baldwin Library
- Thursday May 23 at Baldwin Library