What Do Teens Like Best about Themselves?

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Teens like a wide variety of things about themselves. Being able to entertain friends or having a nice personality come to mind for several of the teens I talked with. If you are fun to be around, you will be popular and never lacking for company. Did you ever wonder what makes you attractive to others? It’s not so much what you look like. Being very pretty or handsome might even make others jealous.

A researcher in the nineteen sixties studied what people look for in a friend. The number one quality is being able to listen. If you can keep your mouth shut when you need to, hear what someone is saying, and understand how that person feels, you will be very much in demand. As Amy puts it, “I have the ability to put myself in others’ shoes.”

Some see their sense of themselves as their best quality. Ellie says, “I know who I am and stick with my values.” This is not always easy to do. You have to think about what’s important to you and decide that what you believe in is more important than making others happy.

Did you know it’s impossible to keep everyone happy? No matter what you do, there will be some people who like what you do and others who don’t. If you follow your own sense of values, you will attract friends who respect what you believe in. You probably wouldn’t enjoy the company of others who don’t share your values anyway.

Can you imagine having a friend who changes his or her mind all the time? Maybe you have a friend like this. You never know what to expect and probably wouldn’t be able to count on that person for anything important. Being consistent in your values makes it easier for you to decide what to do when something really important happens. It also helps your friends know what to expect from you. Consistency is probably the most important quality of a good friend after being a good listener.

Other teens like their physical qualities such as their appearance or sports ability. As with personality, these might be just as much a reason for others to be jealous as to like you. However, what is important is that your physical appearance or sports ability might give you some confidence which you might not otherwise have. Your self confidence just might attract others more than your special abilities or appearance.

Sometimes it is not so easy to choose one quality you like best about yourself. Punkman sees his grades and willingness to help others who need him as tied for his best qualities. This is not surprising. Most teens have several things they like about themselves. Did you know it’s easier to think of things you don’t like about yourself than things you do like? When I asked teens and adults in counseling to make two lists, the list of dislikes is usually longer than the list of likes. Maybe people tend to take their good qualities for granted.

(Excerpt from my book, Make the Best of Your Teen Years: 105 Ways to Do It. Read a free sample by clicking on this sentence and choosing Look Inside.)

 

Interview with Dr. Langen about Make the Best of Your Teen Years

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Listen to an interview with Dr. Langen about his recent book, Make the Best of Your Teen Years. Choose the September 27, 2015 program- Dr. Joseph Langen.

Le Roy author travels the world of teens

BATAVIA — Teens may very well live in a world all their own.

Retired psychologist, author and columnist Joseph Langen has found a way to at least visit them. He has written a book, “Make the Best of Your Teen Years.”

“I wanted to give them some things to think about,” he said at his Le Roy home. “They’re trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be.”

He actually started writing it several years ago and then stopped. He thought he was about finished with the project but left it alone for awhile. Then he asked some people to read it and they — adults and teens alike — said they wanted to see more of the stories. So he went back to work on it and ended up with 11 chapters and a story for each. There are also poems to set the tone.

Langen dedicated his book to his very subjects: a group of teens that shared their own struggles, concerns and experiences. Instead of writing what he thought kids deal with, Langen first issued questionnaires followed by in-depth interviews to be able to better understand their world.

After working with that age group for 35 years, he figured he had a good starting point. But there needed to be more. As a teen, one is no longer a child and not yet an adult, he said. There can be many topics those youth find troubling or, at the very least, puzzling.

So he dove into topics of one’s emotions, family, friends, physical, mental and sexual health, love, difficulties, spirituality and future. Areas within those topics include suicide, self-injury, substance abuse, bullying, death, homosexuality and pregnancy. Each chapter includes a story, loosely based, about a day in the life of a teen.

For example, Alice talks about her appearance while John discovers why a stranger makes him so angry. After the story, Langen makes a series of suggestions. To make better sense of your feelings, he suggests that the reader make a list of things he/she feels bad about and another list of everything he/she is good at doing.

“I wanted to help teens realize they’re not weird,” he said. “The virtual world has taken over. It has really taken away the human part of interaction. It is OK to talk with other people. Don’t limit yourselves to texting. They know what you’re saying but not how you’re feeling.”

He thinks it might be a good idea that parents read some of the book as well. He wasn’t certain if troubled teens would be as inclined to just read this book themselves. It may be a nice gift from a parent, teacher or counselor. It’s also a helpful aid for peers to be able to understand one another, he said.

“The stories are not about any one person; they’re to give you an idea of what it’s like for kids,” he said. “I think it can be a bridge for talking about difficult things with your parents. Teenagers are sort of a mystery.”

Langen worked for more than three decades with children, teens, adults and seniors to help them to deal with assorted stress. He has written six books and his next project is to condense a previous book into 30 pages about stress for teens and adults.

Langen has a blog at https://bestteenyears.wordpress.com/.

For more information about his book, go to Amazon.com. The book is available in either paperback or ebook formats.

Article by Joanne Beck, The Daily News, Batavia NY

Only- a poem for teens

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Only

A poem by Violet

I have never loved
only wanted
to wrap myself in other skin,
hide my eyes behind another face.

I have only wanted
a better soul than mine,
a graceful body, a strength,
and certainly this flesh could never have.

I have longed
for a patchwork, an alloy
of the pure, intelligent, the solid
a melting pot of my unobtainable traits.

I have watched,
as if I could adapt my observation,
the movements of perfection
that I wished were mine.

I have envied
affectionately from a distance
I can’t imagine coming any closer.

*****

Violet writes about longing for “a patchwork, an alloy of the pure, intelligent, the solid a melting pot of my unobtainable traits.” She is trying to figure out how all the things she knows about herself can come together in a way that makes sense to her. We are all creatures of contradictions. We have rough edges and have parts of us we wish were different.

(Excerpt from Make the Best of Your Teen Years.)

Walking- A Poem by Violet

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Walking

A poem by Violet

The snow superimposes
a new palette on reality;
it muffles,
cuts away sound
until all that remains
is itself,
a wet distorted squeak
beneath our feet.

Reflecting the fluffy sky
in piles all around,
it makes the world
a suspended dream,
a quiet empty earth
for our solitude.

We inhale
the soft sharp air,
arm in arm,
faces cold,
hands anonymous in gloves;
We pull our feet through the growing, glittering drift,

like draft horses going uphill.
Our breath turns to clouds,
floating up like a train’s nostrils,
and dissolves into the cold.

*****

Violet describes how she sees herself. When she says “snow superimposes a new palette on reality,” she is talking about what you can see of her on the outside and the inner layers of her being. You don’t always get to see the whole person and there might be much more beneath the surface. She also sees the earth as a “suspended dream.” What we see through our eyes does not always seem real to us or fit with what we know about ourselves.

(Excerpt from Make the Best of Your Teen Years: 105 Ways to Do It)