Olivia Rodrigo + NPC Streams + Finding Trusted Adults | Ep. 131

Olivia Rodrigo + NPC Streams + Finding Trusted Adults | Ep. 131

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What makes a trusted adult and how can adults help teens thrive?

“Discernment is so important,” says Sarah Brooks on the Next Gen Now Podcast. When it comes to the influential figures in a teenager’s life, having people they genuinely like is not enough; these individuals must also be trusted voices. But what exactly makes a trusted adult, and how can we help teens find them?

Here are a few of the qualities that define a trusted adult, along with some tips for both parents and non-parents on how to be that reliable source of support for teenagers.

What are the qualities of a trusted adult?

Whether you are looking for trusted adults to surround your teen with or looking to start a conversation about people they might already know and trust, having a clear picture of what to look for can help.

Someone They Can Talk To

A trusted adult is someone a teenager can openly communicate with. They are approachable and willing to listen without judgment. Teens should feel comfortable discussing their thoughts, concerns, and dreams with this person.

Available for Communication

In today’s digital age, communication is not limited to face-to-face interactions. Trusted adults should be reachable via text, calls, or other messaging platforms. This accessibility ensures that teens can seek advice and support when needed.

Provides Encouragement

Encouragement is a crucial component of trust. A trusted adult motivates and uplifts teenagers, boosting their self-esteem and helping them develop a positive self-image. Their words and actions should inspire confidence.

Willing to Give Honest Feedback

A trusted adult is not just a cheerleader; they also act as a guiding light. They are unafraid to call out a teenager when needed, helping them recognize their mistakes and grow from them.

A Safe Haven

Above all, a trusted adult is someone with whom a teenager feels safe. Teens should be able to confide in this person without fear of ridicule or betrayal. This safety net is essential for building trust.

So how can we help teens find trusted adults to confide in?

We’re so glad you asked.

Ask Who They Would Turn To

Sometimes, teenagers already have trusted adults in their lives but may not realize it. Parents and mentors can initiate a conversation by asking who the teen would turn to if they needed help or what are the qualities of a trusted adult.

Recognize Existing Trusted Adults

Chances are, teens have several potential trusted adults in their lives. This could be a teacher, coach, youth minister, parent of a friend, or a family member. Identifying and acknowledging these individuals is an essential step in cultivating trust.

Aim for a Network of Trust

Ideally, teens should have at least five trusted adults in their lives. A variety of perspectives and experiences can help them navigate different aspects of life. Parents can even ask people they trust to take a more prominent role as trusted adults, giving them permission to offer counsel without always involving the parent.

Encouraging mentor relationships for your teen

One idea on how to encourage mentorship relationships for your teen is to organize a coming-of-age event like Caleb’s dad did for him. Caleb’s 13th birthday marked a transformative experience. His dad organized a hiking trip with a group of men he viewed as trusted adults. These were individuals Caleb knew and loved but hadn’t considered as people he could turn to in place of his dad. However, this experience allowed him to start viewing them that way. It doesn’t have to be a hiking trip either. It could be a special dinner or a coffee date!

How to be a trusted adult

If you have teens in your life and are a trusted adult, there are three things that teens need you to do.

  • Listen
  • Encourage
  • Keep it confidential (unless they are hurting themselves)

Also in this episode

  • Olivia Rodrigo is back in the limelight with the release of her second album, GUTS
  • Teen Term: Fax, No Printer
  • NPC streams are increasing in popularity, but what are they and why do people watch?

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about Olivia Rodrigo, NPC streaming, and finding trusted adults for teens.

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

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Caleb Hatchett

Caleb Hatchett

Podcast Host

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Why teens need caring adults

When I was fifteen, I was thriving as much as a nerdy, idiotic, high school sophomore could. At least on the outside. I was a talented trumpet player in a competitive band; I had a decent social circle; and I was involved in extracurricular activities. But the inside was a different story.

I was full of anxiety, doubt, and a professional at self-deprecation. Every day, I was carrying an extra load of problems on top of the normal daily sophomore struggles. I had some life stress that was daunting, but the scary thing to me is that I had loving parents and mentor teachers and it still wasn’t enough.

Enter my One.

Around the middle of the year, I was clearly off. An adult I had known for a while noticed and reached out to me. Pretty soon that became a weekly check-in. It was simple. It wasn’t anything extravagant, planned out, or complicated but it was huge for me.

Even though I was lucky to have positive influences in my life already, having someone show up for me did wonders for my well-being.

I think about how much I would have benefited from Teen Life Support Groups when I was in school. Parents and teachers are great mentors and do have a huge influence on teens today. There’s no denying that, but a member of the community showing up for a teen in need can be just as, if not more, impactful.

Teens with mentors show improvement in their attitudes and attendance at school. Studies have shown that high school graduation rates are higher, teens are less likely to drop out, they have enhanced self-esteem, improved interpersonal skills, and more.

A previous Big Brother, Big Sister study showed that teens with mentors are less likely to begin using drugs or alcohol. Specifically, 6.2 percent of youth with mentors initiated drug use compared to 11.4 percent of their peers without mentors, and 19.4 percent initiated alcohol use compared to 26.7 percent without mentors. This shows that they can gain important life skills to stay away from drugs (LoSciuto, Rajala, Townsend, & Taylor, 1996).

So how can you Be the One?

Teen Life makes it easy to take training that equips you to lead Support Groups on a campus near you. If you want information on how to get involved with schools, email me at tobin@teenlife.ngo.

We don’t all have time to be on a school campus during the day though.

You can also help by going here: teenlife.ngo/partner. Any one-time or monthly donation helps us connect teens in schools with trusted adults and peer support.

It can also be as simple as checking in with the teens in your life. Teens need to know that we care. Because no teen deserves to feel alone.

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Tobin graduated with a Bachelors of Music from Texas Tech University. A teacher’s kid twice over, he taught for 13 years before coming to Teen Life. His entire career has been centered around helping students and teens from all walks of life become the best version of themselves.