I've written before about this, but something reminded me today just how important this is. Adolescents need specific, clear, and direct instructions. Today at play rehearsal, we got the props in. So, during one of the musical numbers, the stage managers distributed some gardening tools to some of the actors. They performed their number then walked off-stage. About 15 or 20 minutes later, I looked back and noticed they were all still holding the implements.
I asked them why they were still holding them and they looked a little surprised. "Because you never told us to put them down," they said.
These are bright, intelligent kids. But it never occurred to the to put down the props once the song ended.
This might seem silly, but it's an excellent example of how an adolescent brain works. They need detail. They need specificity. They need things spelled out in very clear and basic terms.
So, if you tell your child to do his or her chores, you might not have success. If you tell him or her to pick their things up, you might not have success either. These can be too broad for this age. Likewise, if you just assume that they will do what you would do in the same situation, you are setting yourself up for frustration.
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Thoughts about raising and teaching adolescents. You can read the complete series here. (What in the world are Middle School Mondays?) Click here.
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