Conlee Ricketts

Educator - Facilitator, AccepTeen.com
Columbus, OH, United States

About Conlee

Areas of Expertise

working with teens, working with parents, Humor as a tool to Heal, Acceptance as a tool to Heal

An idea worth spreading

Anyone over the age of thirty did not experience high school with a QWERTY phone in hand, ready to reach out at a moments notice to anyone about anything. Being an adolescent with this added "ability" is an experience that in reality adults have no point of reference to comprehend. We think we know what it was like to be in high school, but we only know what it was like in our high school, not today's high school.

As adults our brains tend to process things more logically and less emotionally now. Working with teenagers in a world we didn't experience needs more listening, respecting, and extending the support they need in an empathetic way.

I'm passionate about

Improving relationships between teenagers and adults.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

142809
Conlee Ricketts
Posted over 3 years ago
Are grownup bullies teaching kids how to bully?
Shelly, Years ago when I started teaching I taught at a residential facility for abused, neglected, and semi-violent children. These kids were hurt, angry, and were abusive to each other, themselves, and to me as their teacher. My technique is probably too long to completely explain, but it boils down to listening to their story and showing respect. When a student was being verbally abusive to the others in class or to me, it was amazing how effective it was for me to look at that child and tell them, "I'm sorry that somewhere in your past someone has treated you so horrible that you feel that you can treat others this way. That person was wrong, and you shouldn't have had to endure that, no one should, and I am sorry that happened to you! It shouldn't have." Simply acknowledging that you have no idea what their past is, but that it was probably a violation of who they are, and that you basically care enough to say you're sorry was able to move mountains for me. I think that for most of my students it was the first time they had ever heard an adult apologize, for anything. I think they want to share their story and that they don't understand how their actions wound others because they are young, fragile, and very ego-centric. You have to help them step out of that "it's all about me" mindset and it is very challenging!
142809
Conlee Ricketts
Posted over 3 years ago
Are grownup bullies teaching kids how to bully?
I refuse to believe that any child is born "bad" or "evil". No two people will handle stress and pain in the exact same way. While teaching I have seen mothers proud of their daughters' "Queen Bee" status and defend cruel behavior as a normal part of adolescent behavior. This never failed to alarm me. I continually say to all: those of us over thirty no longer have the emotional point of reference to equate our experience in middle or high school with that of today's youth. The culture of 24/7 contact creates a level of potential embarrassment and harassment that I would have never experienced. Creating stress levels for youth far above what I would have known and been able to cope with. However today's kids see it all as perfectly normal and "it is what it is" kind of attitude. The adolescent brain is wired for emotional action and reaction leaving the use of logic as a second choice, so add to this a constant contact with parents (perhaps bullying parents) teachers, friends, random acquaintances, and it's a recipe for pain. The energy put into helping victims is vital, but there also needs to probably be ten times that energy put into working with and trying to understand the bullies as well. They are certainly victims of bullying somewhere in their life as well and have chosen to self-soothe in this way.They are hardened and find the topic of empathy pathetic and boring. They need help and protection from themselves and others, but their actions make it an "undesirable" task. And having worked with their parents who perpetuate the pride in their bully-child make it impossible to work with the parents. So, you are left with the child. The child. Who in all likelihood without intervention will grow to become the adult bully. These are children, both bullies and victims, that are living an emotional, technological experience that we adults did not. I propose that we ask them. Then listen to them without our "expert" point of view of "how to be a teen".
142809
Conlee Ricketts
Posted over 3 years ago
Roughly 52% of the world's population is under 30. What is best way to harness the energy and ideas of youth?
This question is exactly what I am passionate about! I believe to harness the energy and ideas of "today's youth" has to begin with respecting today's youth. It begins by acknowledging that their experiences differ from my/our youth (anyone over 30) in ways that I can not truly understand without their help. When I speak with high school students they are rarely stressed out about their life with technology in hand, and if I take a moment to emotionally travel back in time to 17 and put that technology into MY hand, and all the implications of that technology, it REALLY stresses me out. I take the time to honor today's youth for managing their world as well as they do, and I speak with their parents about taking the time to listen more and to try to stop being "the expert". Preparing them for the future really means giving them a voice in their present, respecting their voice, and then working with them as a guide by offering scenarios, choices, possible outcomes, and letting them work with those through the lens of their life experience, not mine.