Ep. 9: Affirmation & Omegle

Ep. 9: Affirmation & Omegle

 Listen & Subscribe

 

Summary:
Learning to affirm others’ worth is a habit that can change the world. Chris and Karlie share tips on positive affirmations for teens, as well as take a critical look at the website Omegle.

All Teen Life Summit sessions are available on demand until August 10. Register and watch at any time. Use code podcast20 for $20 off!

In this episode, we mentioned 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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Follow Us

Ep. 6: School Life & Memes

Ep. 6: School Life & Memes

 Listen & Subscribe

 

Summary:
It’s not difficult to imagine that mental health has deep-rooted effects on academic achievement. Succeeding at school is as much a health issue as it is a mind-game. Chris and Karlie talk school and how to help students achieve a healthy school life.

Also on this week’s episode, the meme phenomenon. What it is and why people love it.

Don’t miss your chance to get $20 off the Teen Life Summit, May 11-12, 2021 with code podcast20

In this episode, we mentioned 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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Follow Us

The Power of Teamwork

The Power of Teamwork

Teamwork: cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause.

As the wife of a High School Basketball Coach, I spend A LOT of my time thinking about and cheering on good teamwork. It is not super fun to watch a team full of individuals who won’t work together. It can be frustrating and, more times than not, will lead to a loss.

But man…when you see good teamwork, you know it!

Let’s take the recent events of March Madness for example. My alma mater, Abilene Christian University (ACU), did the seemingly impossible and beat #3 seeded Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament. As I was watching, you could feel the energy of the entire team – those on the court, and those sitting on the bench who would never go into the game.

In fact, one of the ACU players went viral as the “hype man” for the team. He was the first to start a defense chant and the one yelling the loudest, even though he never played a single minute of that game.

Today, it is significant when we see that level of selfless teamwork because it is often counter-cultural. I have witnessed incredible teamwork at the High School level over the years, but I have also watched players who only care about their own stats at the end of the game. Even in the midst of losses, they celebrate high-point averages and plays that will look good on highlight reels.

In a world where our kids are told to be the best at any cost (even to the detriment of the team), we need to be intentional about encouraging teamwork. And this doesn’t just apply to sports! Teams can take nearly any form: a group of friends, a family, a group project, a grade level, a team at work, or humanity as a whole.

What if instead of rewarding individual success, we celebrated the team player? Our families, schools, places of work, and communities would be more enjoyable if individuals were willing to take roles that would benefit others.

Let’s take a look at some of the roles that are worth celebrating…

The Utility Player
This person is willing to take any position that will give the team the best chance. They will set aside their own wants for the greater good, even if that role isn’t always their favorite. You gotta love the team player who is always up for a challenge – they are the one you want on every project or team.

The Hype Man
This team member will cheer for others, even when they aren’t the center of attention. This is the person who encourages, pumps up, and cheers for those around them. When you’re having a bad day or feeling pessimistic, you’ll want to turn to your hype man – they are the one who will pick you up when you fail and then celebrate the loudest when you succeed.

The Assister
This teammate does their best to make sure others succeed. Sometimes that means that they give up the “shot” so that someone else can score. This might be a person doing the difficult work behind the scenes or giving others information they need to make the right decision. Teamwork does not mean that you put others down so you look better. On a team, you win when everyone wins

It is important to celebrate the often over-looked positions on a team. But what does that look like?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask, “Who have you had a chance to help this week?
  • Look for ways to acknowledge the little things – in sports, in your family, at school.
  • Be the hype man for those in your life!
  • Ask, “Who has helped you this week? Who would you go to when you’re having a bad day?” Encourage those relationships!
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

The Power of Consistency

The Power of Consistency

“How’s your wife feeling?”

This question came from a 14 year old young man at a local drug rehabilitation unit where I lead Teen Life support groups.

And I was floored.

Think about it. A kid whose short life had landed him in rehab was asking about how my wife was feeling. For an adolescent to ask a question so far outside of himself in a setting that involves so much inner work was humbling.

The previous week, I had shared during our “check in” that I was a little worried about an injury my wife had sustained and wasn’t healing well. I didn’t think they were listening.

I’d say only about half or even less of my interactions with these guys seem that successful. They have it really hard, and their situations moving forward seem rather dire. A lot of the time, it just seems hopeless.

In fact, I often dread showing up to this place. It’s just one of the harder aspects of my week because I never know what I’m gonna face.

But as I have grown as a helper of teenagers, my mantra is “you will never regret showing up.”

And I never have.

Working with students is hard because it is unpredictable. Despite being prepared and ready, you never know what is going to happen. Sometimes you hit a home run, but a lot of times you strike out or just get a walk.

What we have learned from our work with students here at Teen Life over the last 11 years is the power of consistency. In a world of chaos and confusion, the steady hand is the one who makes the difference.

This bears out in life and should be instructive for those of us who face resistance: showing up is half the battle. Think about the last time you experienced significant resistance. After jumping in and facing that resistance head on, did you regret engaging with the difficult situation? Was there a moment after that you really regretted showing up?

The life of a teenager – no matter when someone experiences adolescence – is hard. And you know who is the most aware of how hard it is? Teenagers. Whether they are able to articulate the difficulty or not, they are aware of how hard things are for an adolescent.

In my experience it is rarely lost on a student when I show up in the midst of their chaos and do so consistently. I don’t always show up with the right answers, or even the right words, but my presence can make all the difference in the world – especially when it is steady.

Whatever you have committed to in your work with students, please do so with the commitment to consistency. You will never know how much impact this commitment will have.

And, you never know. They may ask you about something that is important to you – like those guys did checking in on my wife.

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.

Searching for Strengths and Solutions

Searching for Strengths and Solutions

 

Listen & Subscribe:  iTunes | Google Play | RSS

 

Join Chris and Karlie as they talk about Teen Life’s philosophy for working with teenagers! With a quick intro to Solution-Focused Therapy, Chris and Karlie discuss the importance of helping teenagers find practical solutions while also pointing out the strengths and resources they already possess.

In this episode, Chris and Karlie will give some practical tips for how you can use solution-focused tools and questions to interact with the teens in your life. By using scaling, fist-to-five, and good questions, you can help teenagers focus on how they can make a positive change in the future. This discussion is full of practical tips that can help you empower teenagers this week. Join the conversation and let’s start assuming the best about teenagers!

 

Resources:

In this interview, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us:
Chris Robey is the CEO of Teen Life. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!
Karlie Duke is Teen Life’s Marketing & Development Director, joining Teen Life after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 8 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!
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!
5 Ways to Connect with a Teen

5 Ways to Connect with a Teen

In my Teen Life Support Group last semester, I had a student who seemingly did not want to be there. She refused to talk. She crossed her arms. She kept her head down. After the first week, we talked to her and said that she didn’t have to talk but needed to participate as a member of the group. She reluctantly did the activities, but still never spoke a word.

A few weeks later, another student asked about my family. I explained that my parents live in Alabama, and I don’t see them very often because of the distance. Immediately, my standoffish student spoke. “Wait, you’re from Alabama? Me too.” In that moment, we had created a connection.

Connection. It sounds so easy, right? But how often do we strive to achieve it and come up short? Sometimes, finding a commonality is like finding a needle in a haystack. Some days I wonder if I have anything at all in common with the teens I’m with. Some days I wonder if they even want to connect with me at all.

In their book, The Connected Child, Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine walk through a series of connecting principals to help us as parents, teachers, youth ministers, or friends of young people who are struggling and yet seem to reject our help. In order to connect, we have to engage with students. Here are five of their strategies:

 

  1. Behavioral Matching: Reflect your student’s behavior or physical position. This increases their ability to feel safe. It’s less complicated than it seems. When my daughter wants to talk at night, I lay down next her instead of standing over her.  If my smaller child wants to play with cars on the floor, I sit on the floor as well. Find the natural comfort behavior for your teen and match it without even mentioning it.

 

  1. Playful Engagement: Be playful in your conversations. We adults often want to get to the point, address the problem, and fix it. But they often need us to break the ice. We do that by showing that we can have fun. When my teen doesn’t want to do something they deem embarrassing, I do it first. If they are frustrated, say “Whoa? I didn’t know you were the boss!” Let them know they are safe even in disagreements. You can have a deeper conversation once there is more connection.

 

  1. Create Eye ContactWe live in a world where students don’t look at each other. They look at screens. But the eyes are powerful.  Look your students in the eyes and they will know they are cared for. As parents, how often do we yell down the hall or up the stairs. How would things change if we spent more time looking in our teenagers’ eyes?

 

  1. Share Healthy Touch: Give a hug. Pat them on the back. Hold their hand. Play with their hair. If you aren’t sure if it’s ok, ask permission. Students often want to know you care, and you don’t have to use words to show up.

 

  1. Be aware of your tone of voiceAre you loud? Are you frustrated? Are you talking quickly or slowly? Do you even know? You can start and end a conversation just by using your tone. You also can be authoritative without being demeaning or unkind.

 

Connecting through engagement is hard, but as Dr. Karyn Purvis says, “When you connect to the heart of a child, everything is possible.”

My student from Alabama? After she learned we were from the same place, everything shifted. That tiny connection was all it took to help make our group safe for her. She was able to talk through some significant things happening at her home all because of connection.  

A week after group ended, the interventionist stopped me in the hall.  She raved about how this girl was totally different than she was 8 weeks before. What a powerful lesson about the potential power that can be unleashed with just a little connection!

 

Beth Nichols

Beth Nichols

Program Director

With her background in social work and experience as a mom of 4, Beth’s perspective is invaluable. She has had the opportunity in both her personal and professional life to encounter youth from a variety of situations.