Ep. 56: Teen Virtues & Marvel

Ep. 56: Teen Virtues & Marvel

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Summary:
Join Chris and Karlie in one of their most important conversations to date. Learn this simple trick to harness the power of words to encourage and affirm teens. You’ll also love this episode’s deep dive into the world of Marvel, parental warnings and great takeaways.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Ep. 53: Gratitude & Teen Terms 3

Ep. 53: Gratitude & Teen Terms 3

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Summary:
If you’re feeling hopeless or even just a little down, gratitude is one of the best antidotes. Chris and Karlie talk about guiding teens to be thankful for the little things that are going right and the incredible benefits that gratefulness brings.

They also dive into some teen terms you might be hearing or confused about and how to raise capable teenagers using the “funnel theory”.

It’s an episode full of really practical information and tips that will leave you more empowered and maybe even a little more hopeful!

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Diagnosis: Loneliness

Diagnosis: Loneliness

Truth be told, I’m a pretty stubborn guy. Just ask anyone in my family. It’s a feature which serves me well at times, but more often than not is to my detriment. The main area I tend to be stubborn is being honest about my shortcomings. Often when confronted with areas I don’t measure up, I default more to defensiveness than acceptance and this leads to more friction.

Why am I telling you this, you might wonder? Well, I wish to be as honest as I can on this post as a way to forge some crucial conversations around our teenagers.

The truth is: I have been lonely lately.

And, I think it has been that way since this pandemic hit. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have amazing relationships in my life that are there for me at the drop of a hat. I lack nothing in relationships. But, that is what makes this so weird to reckon with.

During the early days of the pandemic, we stayed home and hunkered down. I didn’t see anyone (physically) outside of my family for a very extended period of time. I associated physical connection with disease and spread. While it was necessary and needed, it was also traumatic and life-altering.

There was a lot of fear in those early days of the pandemic. When fear persists, we withdraw and keep tight circles as means of preservation. And, this is quite natural…over short periods of time.

But the long, drawn out nature of this pandemic has turned what was supposed to be temporary to a full scale upheaval of our habits and impulses.

And when we change the very nature of our relationships over a long enough period, they become “the new normal” that everyone likes to refer to.

Our interactions have become shorter. We leave the house less. Fewer details are shared in conversations. We say less. When people call, we hit “decline” even though we know it would be good to talk.

I am lonely. Likely you are too.

And the teenagers in our world almost certainly are.

A recent study found 61% of young adults (including older adolescents) reported feeling “serious loneliness” in the past month while only 27% of adults 55-65 reported this form of loneliness.

The supposed “most connected generation” is in-turn the most lonely and disconnected of all. (Read our recent post on gen z and loneliness.)

I guess what I am saying is if you or I are feeling lonely, that burden likely falls much heavier on the shoulders of the younger and more vulnerable of our population.

We see it in our support groups every week here at Teen Life. Since schools have reopened, our teens are quick to talk, lean in, and share. We take for granted that today’s teenagers actually have someone to talk to about meaningful things! I’ve been shocked how quickly and to what degree teens will share vulnerable and honest information about their lives.

Teens are lonely. So are we.

So, what do we do?

A recent New York Times article goes into great detail on this “Loneliness Epidemic” happening within one of the largest cities on the planet – New York City. Towards the end of the article, the authors share some ideas on how to combat this epidemic, but one really stood out to me.

Ask for help.

But, I don’t mean it the way it probably sounds.

That is, ask for help for….something. Anything.

For a teenager, maybe the ask for help with:

  • Homework
  • A problem to solve
  • Relationship issues
  • Learning something new
  • A challenge

When teens hear “ask for help” it’s often interpreted as “cry out for help” – which seems overwhelming. But when we just ask for help, we are communicating a need for connection, and giving someone else an opportunity to step in and get the good feeling of helping someone.

Everyone wins, and everyone’s a little less lonely.

An epidemic like loneliness can only be defeated by pulling together for the sake of the most vulnerable. The teens in our lives need us more than ever, and if we can give them better tools (like teaching them how to ask for help), we will see a generation that finds hope in healthier relationships and deeper connections.

Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Ep. 46: The Importance of Hope & War

Ep. 46: The Importance of Hope & War

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Summary:
Hope is one of the top indicators of mental health, but for many teens it can feel out of reach. Chris and Karlie share practical ideas for encouraging and teaching teens to be hopeful. They also take a look at social media’s effect on how teens see war and how they filter news sources. Don’t miss these useful tips for talking about the war in the Ukraine with teens. Be sure to listen to the end for this week’s tip on identifying triggers, too!

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Ep. 45: Digital Detox & ASMR

Ep. 45: Digital Detox & ASMR

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Summary:
Can unplugging for a day really make a difference in a constantly connected world? We talk digital detox in episode 45 of the Teen Life Podcast! Stay tuned for insights into trending phenomenon, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), and how to fail like a champ. If you’re not familiar with the weird science behind why whispers and haircuts are so relaxing, you’re in for a treat!

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us

Gen Z – The Lonely Generation

Gen Z – The Lonely Generation

Our teenagers (Generation Z) are the most connected generation, but they are also the loneliest. Seems contradictory, doesn’t it?

As a Millennial, my early teenage years were defined by wired phone calls, brick cell phones, and dial-up internet. I was a teenager when the iPhone first came on the scene and had my first phone with internet my Freshman year of college. I got Facebook in High School. Instagram gained popularity a few years later. Basically, technology and social media was rapidly changing, but I didn’t have to carry it around with me 24/7 like our current teenagers.

Today’s teens are even more connected than ever with Google, Instagram, Snapchat, FaceTime, TikTok, and messages at their fingertips. But let’s take a look at what it means for our teens who are growing up in a world that never turns off…

In Michele Borba’s book Thrivers, she states the following:
“Welcome to the “running on empty” generation…They are more inclusive and open-minded…They’re well educated with high aspirations for college and their future. But they’re also less happy and more stressed, lonely, depressed, and suicidal when compared with any previous generation – and those descriptions were identified prior to COVID-19 and all the resulting anxiety it produced.”

That is not a fun statement to read, and we are going to break down some more characteristics of Gen Z in Episode 43 of the Teen Life Podcast. Be sure to subscribe in your favorite podcast app or sign up to receive notifications so you won’t miss it! For now, let me give a couple of suggestions for how we can combat the loneliness of this generation.

Listen to understand.
One student in Thrivers said, “We hide our anxiety…It doesn’t work telling our parents because they don’t understand what it’s like to be a kid.” I know that it is easy to compare our teenage experiences with what teens are currently going through, but it isn’t the same. They are living in a world that is completely different from the one you grew up in.

Instead of minimizing their experiences, use this as a chance to listen and ask good questions! Be curious. Resist the urge to give advice if all they are looking for is an empathetic ear.

Model imperfection and boundaries.
A piece of nearly every day is posted online now, and our teens feel the pressure to be “picture-perfect” at all times. The “comparison game” is not a new problem, but now our teens are comparing their worst to the highlight reel of others. Pictures are filtered and feeds are full of celebrities and influencers.

This might seem silly, but make sure that teens know that they are valuable just as they are. They don’t need to filter or fake their life to enjoy it. Pictures and videos do a great job of capturing moments, but make sure you put your phone away sometimes to be fully in the moment! On the other hand, take the picture even if you don’t look your best. Model healthy boundaries and self-esteem with how you interact with social media.

Set aside time to connect.
What combats loneliness better than human connection? Life can get busy but scheduling regular time to connect with your teen can make a huge difference! In a recent podcast episode with my dad, Chris Hatchett, we talked about how he has intentionally made time for me from a young age. The main way he did that while I was in High School was to take me to lunch every week (every teen loves free food!).

Here are some other ways to be intentional with your connection:
• Talk in the car to or from school
• Grab breakfast before school
• Stop by a coffee shop on the weekends
• Do something special on their birthday – bring lunch to school or take them out
• Ride home together from games
• Schedule a meal together weekly or monthly
• Go shopping to find a new outfit
• Do a hobby together – golf, reading, building something, concert, movies, etc.

Teenagers will benefit from your wisdom and advice, but they will thrive when they feel connected and accepted by you! Let’s change the narrative for this generation and bring more connection than loneliness.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.