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Hi, I'm Courtney!

Host of the Thank Dog It's Friday Podcast

Today we chat about how to best communicate with preteens and teenagers. We shine a light on youth who are in a vulnerable season so get ready to take notes! Our external words become their internal voice so let's be intentional!


FREEBIE: Communication Hacks Cheat Sheet!

If you're anything like me, you might love having a pretty graphic with all of the hacks we discussed summarized. If that's you, drop your email and you'll instantly have all the goods to save to your phone or print for the fridge!

Now that I'm a grown ass adult, I'm starting to realize how much of an affect my childhood has had on me. Even though I love my upbringing and wouldn't change it for the world, I now recognize how much my guardians external words became my internal voice.

So today we're chatting about how we can be a better communicator to preteens, teenagers and pretty much anyone who's going through a difficult season.

The topic for this week has been foster care and adoption since I was recently on the Wife of the Party Podcast talking about my personal adoption experience. If you guys checked that out, you already know that I've played a huge role in raising my little sister. So when things got difficult for her, I reached out to the only expert I knew, my friend Raquel Perez, to see what she thinks I should do.

We had a full blown amazing conversation that I so wish I recorded for you guys, but instead I took notes and shared my take of our chat.

Raquel has done so much work for the foster youth community and is months away from officially becoming a social worker! woot woot! So I had a ton to learn and gobbled up as much as I could.

In this episode, we discussed a bunch of hacks but I also mentioned how Raquel has been chosen to host a trip of a lifetime for foster teens to visit South Africa. So if you've enjoyed this episode, I encourage you to donate and support her mission :)

DONATE HERE and read more info about her mission and the UCLA program that hosts this amazing trip (see "Resources Mentioned" Section Below)


So this is another episode that’s not talking much about dogs, but just remember.. The more we do the inner work with ourselves, the faster you’ll see the results you want with your dog.


Here's a Summary of Communication Hacks for Preteens & Beyond:

  1. Don't be a fixer. Avoid telling them what they need to do. Instead encourage and support them to resolve things on their own.

  2. Try not to feed the fire when they're complaining by inserting your feelings or commentary. Instead, validate their feelings by saying things like “It’s sounds like you’re upset about this. I’d be upset, too”. Make them feel heard and guide the conversation without putting in your input. 

  3. Give constant praise for the small things, too. "I’m so proud of you for checking in" or "I’m so proud of you for talking to me about this".

  4. Avoid acting like you know all of the answers. Don’t fake confidence and think things through for as long as you need. For example, you can say “I don’t have all the answers, but let’s find them together.” or “I haven’t been through that so I don’t know how this feels. What can we do to help.” and if they say “I don’t know what to do anymore”.. You can say “I don’t know either but maybe we can try this and together we can see if it helps”.

  5. Listen and don’t interrupt as often as possible. Vulnerable youth just want to be heard and they want to know someone is there who cares. If you do interrupt and say something they don't like, let go of pride.. “Hey my bad I didn't mean it like that”.

  6. Hold feedback for a later conversation. For example, avoid saying you're worried when they're in a mood. Say it later like “I get worried when I don’t hear from you”.

  7. Remind them that conversations are between the both of you and acknowledge that you love having these chats and that you enjoy getting to know another side of them. Also, expect that they need and want someone else to vent to as well.

  8. Consider letting them have their room (or space) the way they want. It's their creative space and probably the only place they feel like they can have some control so give them that gift.


Resources Mentioned:

My guest appearance on the Wife of the Party Podcast talking all about adoption.

Check out Raquel Perez and email her with any questions!

Support Raquel and the foster students by donating to their trip to South Africa! --> DONATE HERE!

Hop Skip Drive - Uber for Minors

Casa for Children - Access to legal advice from volunteers. They also help children from the foster care system thrive.

Alliance for Children’s Rights - Additional resources for foster youth and legal advice for guardians.

UCLA's BGSA Program (Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy) - They work to provide high school foster youth with the proper tools to be successful academically, socially, and emotionally. Raquel is an academic case manager at BGSA and this is the program that got the opportunity to take foster youth to South Africa. 


Courtney's Links:

More episodes of the Thank Dog It's Friday Podcast

Dog Squad LA's Instagram & Facebook

Courtney's Personal Instagram

Courtney's online program The Dog Parent Experience


--> Next Episode: Friday, February 14th 

FREEBIE: Communication Hacks Cheat Sheet!

If you're anything like me, you might love having a pretty graphic with all of the hacks we discussed summarized. If that's you, drop your email and you'll instantly have all the goods to save to your phone or print for the fridge!


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