HELP FOR PARENTS OF TEENAGERS
DJ2: We now talk about, the most, well, just say the mostFerrell people in the world, our teenagers.
DJ1: No, don’t say that. Why would you say that?
DJ2: No, because I’ve been a teenager, and maybe I’m just speaking for myself.
DJ1: You were ferrell. Not everyone was lucky and had criminal convictions.
DJ2: No, but not necessarily ferrell in that way. But ferrell is hard to understand sometimes. We got an educator and teen expert Sharon Witt, author of “Teen Talk, Parent Talk”, here to have a chat to us this morning.
DJ1: Lovely Sharon.
DJ2: Regularly seen on Kerri-anne.
DJ1: Yes. Tell Luke, that not all teenagers are ferrell.
SHARON WITT: Good morning guys. Oh what a bad rap for teenagers Luke.
DJ2: Tell me I’m not right in some way.
SHARON WITT: All my beautiful teenagers listening right now, we love you, we love you. Bad Luke, bad Luke.
DJ2: Let’s talk about, let’s talk about the fact that our teens so often, when we hit them. I’ve got a little kid and I’m scared by this because I know that kids change.
SHARON WITT: Yes.
DJ2: And even at the young stage. But I’ve got, right now Sharon, I’ve got a little boy who’s 2 ½ who is well behaved, he does what I say, he is well managed, he says please and thank you and he’s just all around as good kid and I’m worried, I don’t think that he should ever become a teenager.
SHARON WITT: Well, that actually sounds like most of the teenagers I have at the moment Luke. So, I understand what you are talking about. No, Luke I think it can be a really difficult time. I’ve actually written a chapter called “The Jekyll and Hyde Teen” because, Luke, we’ve got to be a little bit fair to the teenagers here. You know, they are going through such a tumultuous time. They are going through, let’s say the “P” word.
DJ1: Puberty, those poor kids.
SHARON WITT: They’re going through puberty. You know, they are starting high school and in the midst of high school they’ve got, you know, exam pressures, they’ve got you know all their subject pressures. Their friendships change, and your kids coming to the school and let’s not forget social, like the social side for kids is huge. But adding into that, social media which is as massive and the kids have got a lot to deal with. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be a teenager again.
DJ1: I often think about that and I see what some of my friends who have teenage children are going through. I’m like, “Ah, I’m so glad I’m not a teenager”. These poor kids.
DJ2: Yeah, they do go through a favorite, pressure wise when it comes to. I don’t know if there’s any different from what we went through or any teenager has gone through. Just different platforms for things like social pressure, and your appearance and your friendships. But with the social media and all those things, it’s just a different way for it to come out.
SHARON WITT: It’s huge. And I actually think it is quite different when I look back for when I was a teenager. You know, you’d see your friends at the end of the day and say “Hi, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning”. And if you’re lucky, my mom use the telephone if you have to ring someone urgently. And now, our kids are walking out the door and their saying “Hi, I’ll see you on MSN or whatever at 4 o’clock” or “I’ll be on Facebook”, and their connection doesn’t end. You know, it’s 24/7. So, they will, a lot of the communication actually happens outside of school, more so. So, they come into school the next day and they pedal all sorts of discussions, you know, all these pressures and we’re dealing with it everyday. So, there’s a lot the parents can do to help the kids through this time. I mean, I think one of the biggest things I would say to the parents who are listening now, and especially if you’ve got a teen that’s just driving you crazy, is stay connected, you know. Be there for them because it is such a difficult time. Don’t give up on your teenager but be connected. Listen. You know, they’re not gonna wanna tell you absolutely everything but just let them know that you’re there to listen.
DJ2: But they don’t always talk. Or talk in a way that you could understand.
SHARON WITT: No, look. I mean, I get my son in the car and say how was school and he’ll go “yeah”, and “what did you do today?”, “nothing”, and I’ll go “right, well, let me get up to the school and ask them why I’m paying school fees for you to do nothing all day.”
DJ1: But, I know that you say you know teenagers say one thing and they mean another. But, in your book Sharon, there’s a little bit that I absolutely love because it’s what parents say and what they actually mean. And, there’s a bit here like it says parents maysay“make up your bed”, what it actually saying is “learn some good habits”. Or, they saying “be careful” and what they’re really meaning is “you’re so precious to us, we hate to lose you.” My favorite, “get off the phone” means get off the phone. It’s all in the book people.
SHARON WITT: So, true.
DJ1: It’s in the book.
DJ2: It must be good with today’s internet age though and we’re talking about the media said that fine lines are tied up wireless than they used to be. You see most of the teens are have no landline concept. But you were a teen girl.
SHARON WITT: Yes, I was a teen girl. Good observation.
DJ2: Line in your bedroom? Did you get home? Not a landline?
SHARON WITT: No, but I wasn’t and I’m still not, not a big friend person. I never was one of the girls that chatted on friends for hours.
DJ2: Weren’t you Sharon?
SHARON WITT: Yes, I could actually talk, under wet concrete, actually dry concrete. I could.
DJ2: But you would try dry concrete, wet concrete.
SHARON WITT: Yes, I would. I would chat on the phone constantly.
DJ2: Now, you really passion to make a difference in the lives of teens in this particular book, as well to help out the parents. But, I guess, still, the heart is often is still the teens in the sense, but it’s just, making sure that the family communication, the family understanding concept is strong as well. You are so passionate about this, you have this conviction one time that you really felt spiritual leading to take some books and randomly leave them in some public bathroom.
SHARON WITT: Did you find out about that?
DJ2: Yes. So this is where, I know it is gonna sound weird that on random and you left a little note on these books. Tell us about the conviction one night.
SHARON WITT: Oh wow. That’s huge that you found that out. That is so true. When I write the first book I’ve written, this is the seventh, but when I write the first book “Teen Talk: Become a Teen with passion and purpose”, I had this real sense from God that I should leave the book in public toilet. So, I was actually blow-drying my hair at the time, and, long story short, I just felt God saying “Can you leave, I want you to leave your book in public toilet.” I’m like, “why, why would I do that?”. But I followed that lead, and I left, we were going away with my husband for the weekend, into the country and actually left the book in four separate toilets on the cubicles with a little lettersaying “this is not stolen, this is actually from the author. If you find this book, I really meant, believe that you are meant to have receive it”. And I left , I left one in the toilet in Yea,a outer town of Melbourne, and my poor husband thought I had a bladder problem, By the time we got to the Yea, I’ve stopped in so many toilets. And I hadn’t told him, I didn’t want to tell him because I was just like, no, he’ll think I am crazy, which I am. But, I left one in the Yea public toilets and we drive off. And the next day, I received an email from a girl who had been really seeking God and saying, you know, I just, I know you did, but I just want something physical. I am going through a hard time at the moment; I want a physical representation that You were there for me. And she said she walked in and she found my book and the letter. And she just knew that it was for her and she wrote the email the next day. And I remember I was at work and I found this email and I was just sobbing, just going “Wow”, it’s meant, you know, it got to the person it was meant to.
DJ2: Our guest this morning, Sharon Witt, author of many books including the most recent one, “Teen Talk, Parent Talk”, and this whole concept of parents trying to understand their teens and be there for them in the right way. Matt Fernburry, you have won the book “Teen Talk, Parent Talk”, do you have a teen at the moment?
CALLER: I’ve got a 12 year old, that’s to start school next year and so we are just about to lead into the teen years.
CALLER: So a fantastic opportunity to get a bit of information on them about before we hit those teen years.
DJ2: Boy, girl?
DJ2: Yes, there you go. So, book is all yours. Matt, thank you very much. Sharon Witt, the author, is here. And Sharon, another was, there was a chapter in your book about, I guess, their self-value, their self-worth, and the question I had, cause I see it quite a little bit when you go, the messed up adult, you know that they didn’t necessarily have this great self-worth as teens. But, if they don’t have it by their teen years, if they haven’t learnt their own value, is it too late?
SHARON WITT: No, I think it’s never too late. I mean, sometimes it takes us as adults, you know. Many,many years to really discover, you know, who we are and what we’re about and our own self-worth. So, I think if we’re teenager, that’s really a pivotal time if they haven’t discovered that yet. Just for us and the adults in their lives to just reinforce how special and how valuable they are. And there’s a lot of things that they can do to sort of increase their self-worth, they can be, you know, following their passions. You know, sometimes, there’s a thing they might really enjoy doing when they were young child to bring those out, you know, sort of in the later years. I didn’t really discovered how much I love writing till I was in my 30’s. So, it’s just discovering those things and making sure that they’re connected, whether be sports or dancing or whatever happens to be, those things can really help.
DJ2: And we don’t have to be a parent of a teen to be able to make an influence on a teen’s life.
SHARON WITT: Absolutely not. I mean, anybody can just be a mentor and role model to young people and they need them. They really need positive role models, positive people that can just be there in their lives and encourage them.
DJ1: There’s a great little bit here that I love, and it’s so simple but I think it’s, it needs mentioning. It says here, “Your teen needs to know that you actually like them”. I think that’s really simple but I think sometimes a lot of people aren’t a wordy people that don’t say how they feel. I am the opposite, I say everything I’m feeling and more. But I think that’s really simple, that teen needs to know that, actually, that mom really like you. That makes a big difference?
SHARON WITT: Absolutely. I mean, I was on Facebook last night and my son had written something and I was in another room and I was like, “Just love you buddy, just love you. You know, you’re so important to me.” So important because we take for granted that they know that we like them, you know. I know as a teacher I teach grade 7 students and I just reinforce to them everyday, not to seem what I to say to them but a smile. When they walk in the room and at the start of the day I smile and say “How was your night?” And, you just need to let them know that they’re really loved and they’re valuable. You know that, look at them and expect them to stuff up. Expect that they’re going to light up your world.
DJ2: It makes sense because we know that when we’re irritable, or emotional or whatever, we interpret everything else as people saying that I’m like this, or people having an issue with us when we’re feeling that way. And when do we feel more emotional or more messed up in life through the puberty years. And so, that would interpret a lot of things our parents say and do is, “they don’t even like me, that they’re just stuck with me, and to be able to deliberately make sure they hear the other message, a very strong and powerful thing. We can talk forever, at least for the years of the teen years through my kids, we can have you in here permanent in the studio.
DJ1: Maybe, you could live with Luke and raise his children.
DJ2: That would be great. The book “Teen Talk, Parent Talk”, the author Sharon Witt and we see quite a bit in Kerri-Anne. The last year you’ve been on plenty times in particular. Good to see you on the telly. Sharon, thanks for coming in.
SHARON WITT: Thanks guys, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.