DEAR GRANDDADDY- A Teen, Parent, and Educator Advice Column BLOG #4

Dear Granddaddy, what do today’s teens need more than anything else? Denise G. – Parent and Radio Personality

Bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, and TV host.


Denise, there is no easy answer to your question. There is, however, an answer that makes sense. I believe, as so do many of my colleagues who are in the business of teen leadership, that all teens, even struggling, disengaged ones, are just one positive relationship with a caring adult away from taking their lives to the next level. Now I know that this may sound much too simple in this complex world we all live in but, it’s true!

Let me give you an adult example of the same kind of dynamics at work that I’m talking about here with teens. Dr. Ruby Payne, founder of the Aha Company, teaches about poverty and socioeconomic classes all over the world. One of her pillars of instruction is that people cannot easily travel, or travel at all, from their socioeconomic class into a higher one without a strong relationship with someone from the next desired class. This new relationship influences them and even changes the way they think.

Take a really good look at yourself and the friends and family that surround you. They’re mostly from your same socioeconomic class, aren’t they? We are where we are, at least partially, because of whom we hang out with, even as adults.

The same relationship dynamics that are busily at work in our adult lives are also at work in the lives of our youths. A teens need to develop positive, caring relationship with someone who has done more successful things than he or she has. And in most cases, that person could be just about any caring adult in that child’s life who is willing to invest time and effort in his or her progress.

So in conclusion, what do our kids need today more than anything else? Well, at the risk of sounding too simple, let me just simply state that they need one caring adult in their lives to stick by their side and engage them in an on-going, positive relationship.

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Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator who has appeared on over 100 television and radio shows. To find out more about Dan or to submit a question to him, please visit him on his website at: