4-H Youth in Action: The Power of Youth-Adult Partnerships

By _Amaya_Collins_ October 21, 2019

Like myself, many teens don’t always listen to their parents’ advice. However, if another adult gives them the same advice, they are more willing to listen to it.

I often find that I prefer to work through difficult problems or plan events and logistics with adults other than my parents. What I enjoy about other adults is the connection. I can form a professional relationship as a colleague as opposed to the people that make me clean my room.

How you view the adult(s) in your youth-adult partnership will lead the way into how you both view the relationship and how well you work together to accomplish tasks. If you find yourself in a situation where the adult is making the majority of the decisions, and you would like to take on a more significant role in the process or gain more decision-making authority, just ask! Sometimes it can be difficult to muster up enough courage to ask for the responsibility of decision making, but you need to be vocal. The adults you are working with may not want to overwhelm you with the work. Never feel like they don’t have faith in your abilities.

So how do you ask? I think it’s simple. Approach the topic in a professional manner. Tell the adult you have confidence in yourself and want to test and grow your skills. If you have the chance to make more important decisions, you can grow in your leadership abilities. If you are still wary about asking for more responsibility, remember nothing can happen if they say no. If the adult does say no, show them you can take on more by successfully completing a few tasks. Then, ask again.

One thing that I commonly see in youth-adult relationships is a lack of communication. The most common way I see this is when the youth does not voice their opinions, show progress on the activity, or ask questions. The relationship in which you are working is a professional one. Although you may be a teen, or even younger, refrain from thinking you are inferior or that the adult is running the show. Both parties need to take equal responsibility.

I want to leave you with one more nugget of advice. Listen to your adult partners. They have real-world experience and have encountered many incidents. Your adult partners can provide information from experience. They have an understanding of what can work in an instance and what may not be as successful. Just speak up and ask questions.