Since I began working with teens I have observed how they see things. Unfortunately it is not that different then how we see them as adults. We tend to focus on the negative aspect of a situation which leaves us frustrated, stressed, and many times unable to move.


In conversations when I have been able to talk through how a scenario will be presented I always recommend a similar action. Start with a positive. This can change a whole conversation. Obviously there are no guarantees for how a person will hear what you say but you want to present the best possible perspective regardless of how bad things really are. Here’s how to do that.



Evaluate the situation:

Write down or think about what you know. Don’t dwell on the unknown or what you think might happen. Even if it is an educated guess there is at least a small chance the outcome will be very different.


Come up with possible solutions:

Sometimes the answer is out of your hands but discovering solutions to the problem shows you are invested in and willing to work on figuring out what needs to happen.


Approach the person or people with the positive first:

Here’s an example. You could say, “I know you are not going to like what I’m going to tell you. You will probably get really mad and punish me.” and then tell them the news. The alternative to this is “I have something tough to tell you but I wanted you to hear it from me and know I have some ideas for how to work it out….” then fill them in. This is a much more positive way to handle sharing difficult news. It lets the person know you value them enough to tell them yourself and that you are not expecting them to come up with a solution on their own. You are telling them up front you are invested in helping correct the error.


This type of approach can be applied to many different situations. Telling a boss about a project gone bad, a teen telling their parents they are pregnant, telling the person you borrowed the car from you wrecked it. It is up to you but the next time you are faced with the responsibility to communicate a tough message think about how you could start with a positive.


This is just one way to handle a tough situation, what is a way you have seen that works well?