There is no shortage of shady people trying to influence your teenager; marketers, friends, the media, random people on the internet. And today, no matter who these people are (and regardless of whether you approve or not), they can have your teenager’s full attention any time they want–thanks to the smartphone.
Parents have lost a lot of control over how, when, and with whom teens communicate…and it’s scary.
With teenagers open to so many conflicting messages from outside of the family, what hope can parents have to instill firm positive values?
This week’s guest, Thomas Lickona, is the past president of the Association for Moral Education and he speaks around the world on fostering moral values and character development in schools, families, and communities. He has written 9 books on moral development and character education, which have been translated into ten languages.
His new book, How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain, addresses the question of how to instill virtues in your kids.
In this episode, Thomas reveals that, yes, parents can combat the constant barrage of outside influence, but it isn’t easy. It requires creating a family culture so strong it overpowers the negative influence of teenagers’ friends and social media newsfeeds.
As an example of how to put this into practice with your own teenager, I developed a word-for-word script you can use for inspiration (or even just memorize). To download it free now, enter your first name and email below. I’ll also show you how to sign up for my free 10-day email course that reveals the secret method behind the word-for-word script. And I’ll even hook you up with a free trial membership to the entire website!
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2 Quotes from
6 Clips from
CLIP 1 (1:32)
What is a Family Culture and How Does it Work?
Just like a successful sports team might have a set of shared values, so can your family. Tom explains the benefits here.
CLIP 2 (3:10)
Writing a “Family Mission Statement” Together
Here’s how you can create a feeling of moral empowerment to get your teenager to reflect on what they deeply believe in.
CLIP 3 (3:15)
Create the Context for Meaningful Conversation
Tom reveals a surprisingly simple method for getting a deep conversation going with a teenager.
CLIP 4 (1:37)
An Activity from the Best High School Teacher in America
A friend of Tom’s (who happens to be the best high school teacher in America) taught him this incredible activity.
CLIP 5 (4:51)
What to Do When You Think Maybe it’s “Too Late” for Your Teen
Tom says it’s never too late. In this clip he reveals a strategy for approaching very highly resistant teenagers.
CLIP 6 (2:34)
Talking to Your Teenager about Living a Virtuous Life
Here’s how you can explain to your teen the importance of being a person of strong character.
A developmental psychologist and professor of education emeritus at the State University of New York at Cortland, Thomas Lickona is also the founding director of the Center for the Fourth and Fifth Rs (Respect and Responsibility).
A past president of the Association for Moral Education, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Character Education Partnership and speaks around the world to teachers, parents, religious educators, and other groups concerned about the character development of young people.
His publications include:
Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility (recipient of the 1992 Christopher Award for “affirming the highest values of the human spirit”)
Sex, Love and You: Making the Right Decision (1994) (a book for teens co-authored with his wife, Judith, and William Boudreau, M.D.)
Character Quotations (2004) (with Matthew Davidson)
Dr. Lickona has been a guest on numerous radio and TV talk shows, including “The Larry King Live Radio Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “Focus on the Family.” His work was the subject of a New York Times Magazine cover story, “Teaching Johnny to be Good.” In 2001, the Character Education Partnership presented him with the Sanford N. McDonnell Lifetime Achievement Award in Character Education.
He and his wife have two sons and fourteen grandchildren and live in Cortland, New York.