Teenagers remember life being easy. And it was!
For a five year old, life is real easy. Not easy because they don’t have problems, but easy because five year olds know something we have all forgotten, how to focus on the good and not let the bad take over their mind.
Therefore a five year old finds it easy to have fun and easy to pick themselves up. Nothing gets them down for long and any situation, whether an airport, waiting room or even a car can be fun. Life is just easy when you are five.
The problem is a teenager remembers being five but they also know life is not so easy anymore, and they don’t know why. And that’s how they start getting into trouble. They try to figure it out. Which, in-of-itself isn’t bad. It’s just that they invariably come to the wrong conclusions.
Drugs are an example of a really bad conclusion, and it’s easy to understand how they get to it. Life used to be easy and taking drugs is easy — it sort of fits.
However, the more typical conclusion they come to is thinking it’s because they don’t have enough money or time, and that when they get to our stage of life, when they will have the money and time, then they will enjoy life again.
The mistake they are making is that we all thought that would happen with us too!
By the time you get to our stage in life you’ve given up being excited about life. By the time you get to our stage you are happy not being miserable. Which, to be honest with you, is pretty downright un-inspiring. And that’s why most teenagers write-off anyone over 40.
Let me explain.
If you look at the things most people want, it’s really just the relief of pain. What’s a vacation? A relief from the drudgery of work. What’s a big screen TV? An escape from your day. Do I need to go on?
A five year old doesn’t want to escape – he loves his life, he doesn’t want to go to bed, he’s having too much fun. When you tell your teenager you are looking forward to a good night sleep, she looks at you and thinks, “Don’t you want to figure out how to have more fun?”
So, in conclusion, if you want to connect with your teenager, you need to talk to them about having real fun, not the relief of pain. And if you don’t know how to do that, I’ll try and fit you in my schedule.