Its 10:30 PM on a Saturday night.
The neighborhood teenage gathering is well underway.
A figure emerges out of the darkness and approaches the group. It is a neighborhood mother.
The mother stands at the edge of the gathering. She says nothing.
The teenagers stare. Finally, one of them speaks.
"Can we help you with something?"
"Yeah. I am trying to find my favorite star in the sky. Can you all help?"
The teens are speechless.
An adult joining them?
Finally and politely (the group has been totally silent since the mom showed up)
"I don't think we quite understand"
"Well, did you guys ever go to school?"
(The teens are now in total disbelief)
"Oh, so they taught you about letters in the alphabet and such"?
(Other teens now begin to get into the dialogue)
"Of course they did".
(The mother now has the full attention of the group. The teens are on the verge of talking to this strange adult as one of their own but don't quite dare).
"So I guess maybe all of you know how to read?"
"OK-Could you read me that sign over there?"
(the mother points to a big NO PARKING sign next to a parked car)
(the teens are quiet as they start to catch the drift).
"It says NO PARKING"
"That's what I thought it said, too"
(Mother is silent; group is silent)
"What do you want with us?"
"Do you really want to know?"
"All of you?"
"OK. If I go there do you promise that none of you will run away until I get done?"
"Sure, we promise"
OK. It seems that some of the adults who live around here have forgotten some stuff about their past. Are you guys all teenagers?"
"Did you ever take any science in school? Do you know anything about the teenage brain?"
(the answers to this might be mixed)
(the mother continues)
"So the teenage brain is not yet an adult brain. So each of you has a hole in your brain. So to speak. Sometimes we adults forget that. So teens can and sometimes do crazy, unpredictable stuff. Like maybe parking their cars right beside signs that say NO PARKING! Like I know that all of you are drinking MONSTER but I'd bet maybe one or two of you might be drinking something that's against the law for teenagers to drink.
"We all are".
"Good heavens, that's the teenage brain for you .Now that you know that its your teenage brain causing all the trouble, and not necessarily you, would you be willing to let me help you work on some sort of solution?”
The group is now fully engaged and committed to working with this adult who seems able to speak their language and who has actually begun to penetrate their " culture". At a minimum, these kids will surely take their party somewhere else (or mom could keep coming back). It's also possible that because teens so rarely are able to develop trust with adults, and certainly not so quickly, that other individual problems and issues may emerge...
Keep going for:
DISSECTION OF THE DIALOGUE
A Program To Help You Deal Effectively with Teen Problems
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