What Teens Need

A persistent gap exists between what teens need and what adults in this nation actually offer them. Best Buy has put up the money to fund the Search Institute’s study on that gap. The main finding? The call for positive adult influences.

Heard that before?

Many of you probably remember me telling the story (I tell it in my CONNECT book and my CONNECT workshop) about my friend Brandon coming up to me and asking me, “What is the most important thing we can be doing in youth ministry?”

The answer wasn’t great talks or awesome games… it was connecting with teenagers one-on-one. Nothing beats the influence of a positive adult role model loving kids and spending time with them. (And that’s what led me to write that book, CONNECT)

Ypulse.com just got a chance to connect with Tim Showalter-Loch, Senior Manager, Community Relations at Best Buy and Gene Roehlkepartain, Vice President at Search Institute, interviewing them about this second annual Teen Voice report. Just a snippet from Tim:

One of the most important findings in this year’s Teen Voice survey was that too many teens lack positive, sustained and meaningful relationships with adults beyond the family, such as teachers, mentors, grandparents, neighbors and other caring adults. In fact, we found that just 19 percent of 15-year-olds scored high on the index measuring adult-youth relationships, indicating that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to strengthening positive relationships between teens and adults.

Sound familiar?

You can find out more about this Teen Voice 2010 study here.

I just find in interesting that most people doing research about “what teens need” find the same thing: a need for positive adult role models.


About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to What Teens Need

  1. Deb Sompel says:

    I find that teens want to trust someone who is real. As a volunteer for a teenage drug addiction group as well as a 9th. small goup leader, I think most leaders have lived in a “christian bubble” and cannot relate to what our teens are goint through at this time. It is difficult to relate and not to judge if they haven’t lived through it first. Unfortunately, or fortunately I did not grow up in a Christian home so I did not have the best exampes as a teen and made many mistake. The kids I relate to like knowing that about me. Just a thought . . . .

  2. Leslie Bogar says:

    Teen do want and need carrying adults in their lives. This relationship requires the adult become a listener instead of an advice giver. Advice, both spiritual and social, is needed, but only when the opportunity presents itself. Teens have an innate sense of knowing who really cares about them and who just wants to share their stories or wisdom.