Ep 27: Awkward Talks with Teens
David McGlynn, author of “One Day You’ll Thank Me” along with two other books, gets candid about tough talks. By stepping up and doing the awkward talks with his own kids, McGlynn developed some important insights about how to approach the toughest parenting conversations.
Full Show Notes
Sometimes as a parent you have to put your teen through things you know they aren’t going to like. Maybe it’s forcing them to finish the season of a sport they signed up for. Or initiating an awkward conversation about drugs or sex.
Why do you do these things?
Because you know that your teen may not like it now, but one day they will understand you were doing what you thought was best for them.
This week’s episode is about how to do those “hard things.” And how to know when it’s better to just leave it alone. Our guest, David McGlynn, is the author of the new book One Day You’ll Thank Me: Lessons from an Unexpected Fatherhood, a candid, insightful, hilarious, and poignant memoir about raising a couple of rebellious boys–and about his close but complicated relationship with his own father.
A college professor and the author of three books, David shares gripping anecdotes laced with surprisingly fresh insights into adolescent behavior.
Specifically, this episode breaks down the ins and outs of discussing sex and other difficult topics with your teen. After finding explicit search terms on the family iPad, David polled his college students about how their parents discussed sex with them and he found that ALL of them said it was extremely awkward.
In fact, as he pushed himself to go through with this and other awkward talks over the years, he realized that the awkwardness can actually be a good thing. The way that parents handle these awkward talks teaches teens how to initiate awkward talks in their own lives as they grow up and go out on their own.
Also, by initiating awkward talks, you show your teen that you are OK with awkward. And this makes them feel comfortable talking to you later on when they have sensitive issues happening in their lives.
What’s the best way to have these awkward talks?
That’s the subject of this week’s episode.
The 22-minute public version is free to listen to, and the 39-minute extended version, packed with extra goodies, is reserved for site members. Log in or sign up to access everything our site has to offer!
Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. When your teen needs encouragement
“You are stronger than you often give yourself credit.”
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Face Down the Awkwardness:
We all have some topics that we really should talk to people about but we know it’s going to be awkward to bring it up so we’ve been avoiding it. David told me that for him, sex and pornography were these kinds of issues. He knew he needed to talk to his boys about it but he was avoiding it. Finally he talked to his college students and realized that everyone said it was awkward talking about sex with their parents. So he decided his job was just to push forward anyway despite the awkwardness and he was glad he did. What are some awkward topics you’ve been avoiding with your teen? Jot down as many as you can think of below. Circle the three most important topics and talk to your teen about them sometime this week. Set a reminder on your calendar of the “due date” so you won’t forget.
About David McGlynn
The author of three books – One Day You’ll Thank Me: Lessons From an Unexpected Fatherhood, A Door in the Ocean, and The End of the Straight and Narrow – David has written for Men’s Health, Real Simple, Parents, The New York Times, Swimmer, Best American Sports Writing, and numerous literary journals. Three of his essays have been named Distinguished Essays in the Best American Essays and Best American Non-Required Reading anthologies. He teaches at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he lives with his wife and sons.
His book A Door in the Ocean was reviewed on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, won the Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Nonfiction Book Award in 2013, and was named an Outstanding Achievement by the Wisconsin Librarians’ Association. The End of the Straight and Narrow won the 2008 Utah Book Award, was a finalist for the 2009 Steven Turner Award for Best First Fiction by the Texas Institute of Letters, and was named an “Outstanding Achievement” by the Wisconsin Librarians’ Association.
A lifelong swimmer, he captured a national championship in the 500-yard freestyle at the 2001 United States Masters National Championships. He now competes most regularly in open-water races. On most mornings, he’s the first one in the pool.