Raising Teens & 20 Parenting Tips
1. Give kids some leeway. Giving teens a chance
to establish their own identity, giving them more independence,
is essential to helping them establish their own place in the
world. However, there is a limit though - going out with the wrong
crowd is a whole other thing.
2. Choose your battles wisely. If your teen is
doing something that is harmful to themselves or others - like
getting a tattoo - then it is time to intervene. If it is purple
hair or a messy room - it is not worth it. Don't nitpick.
3. Invite their friends for dinner. It helps
to meet kids you have questions about. That way you are not flat-put
rejecting them and you can see how they are behaving around your
4. Decide rules
in advance. If it's a two-parent family, it's important for parents
to have their own discussion, so they can come to some kind of
agreement, so parents are on the same page. Whether you ban them
from driving for a week or a month, whether you ground them for
a week, cut back on their allowance or Internet use -- whatever
-- set it in advance. If the kid says it isn't fair, then you
have to agree on what is fair punishment. Then, follow through
with the consequences.
5. Discuss 'checking in. Give teens age-appropriate
autonomy, especially if they behave appropriately. But you need
to know where they are. That's part of responsible parenting.
If it feels necessary, require them to call you during the evening,
to check in. But that depends on the teen, how responsible they
6. Talk to teens about risks. Whether it's drugs,
driving, or premarital sex, your kids need to know the worst that
7. Give teens a game plan. Tell them: "If
the only option is getting into a car with a drunk
driver, call me -- I don't care if it's 3 in the morning."
Or make sure they have cab fare. Help them figure out how to handle
a potentially unsafe situation, yet save face. Brainstorm with
them. Come up with a solution that feels comfortable for that
8. Keep the door open. Don't interrogate, but
act interested. Share a few tidbits about your own day; ask about
theirs. How was the concert? How was the date? How was your day?
Another good line: "You may not feel like talking about what
happened right now. I know what that's like. But if you feel like
talking about it later, you come to me."
9. Let kids feel guilty. Feeling good about yourself
is healthy. But people should feel bad if they have hurt someone
or done something wrong. Kids need to feel bad sometimes. Guilt
is a healthy emotion. When kids have done something wrong, we
hope they feel bad, we hope they feel guilty.
10. Be a role model. Your actions -- even more
than your words -- are critical in helping teens adopt good moral
and ethical standards. If they have a good role model from early
on, they will be less likely to make bad decisions in their rebellious
11. Use questions sparingly. Resist the urge
to know EVERYTHING your teen is thinking or planning. Show some
trust; you would expect the same.
12. Try not to be defensive. When they make generalizations
or critical remarks, don't take them personally. They are opportunities
13. Give straight forward advice on important
issues such as sex, drinking and drugs, but don't keep repeating
it. They need to hear you and they do hear you, even if they pretend
14. Talk about yourself sometimes, don't always
just focus on the teen. They hate to be the only topic under discussion.
Tell them about your own teen memories and mistakes.
15. Set up and use family meetings to full advantage.
Get input from each person on rules, curfews, etc. as well as
on the consequences of breaking rules. Sign agreements, try them
out; modify as needed.
16. Show intimacy. Teens are still kids inside;
they need the warm feelings of belonging that come from good touches
17. Give lots of praise and positive feedback.
Teens need to hear the "good stuff" just like the rest
of us. They need to know you love them for who they are inside,
as well as what they can do.
18. Give them responsibilities with every privilege;
that's real life.
19. Teach them to make decisions and make them
accept the consequences of each choice they make.
20. Teach them to deal with information. Teach
them to think critically about what they see or hear, as well
as how to sort out and prioritize information
Disciplining Your Teen
Rules & Limits
Sex & Relationships
Sex & Knowledge
Talking About Birth
Talking About HIV &
Talking About Self-Image
Talking About Puberty
Drugs & Pre-teens