There is no doubt that adolescents can be a tough population to treat and to educate. To do either successfully really starts with the health care provider coming to a common understanding with the adolescent. It is amazing to me how much more comfortable an adolescent will become when common interests or life choices are shared. Adolescents seem to appreciate being able to discuss other parts of their life while also learning the necessary medical information they need. Even though we have a purpose to teach, taking time can also be done on the part of the health care provider/teacher to make sure conversations with adolescents are real, engaging, and supportive.
I couldn’t agree more with these thoughts. While I do not work with adolescents I did raise two of them and at times what felt like a million of their closets friends! I found that listening to their views on subjects gained a trust and ease in conversation about important topics to them. Gaining a sense of trust with anyone through conversation takes excellent listening skills along with being able to share your empathy when needed.