Tips for Parents of Teens
Parenting teens has always been a matter of art, science and luck. Frustrating and stressful for many, parenting teens can still be fun, exciting and fulfilling. Here are a few tips to consider. None are designed to “control” the adolescent – no guarantees are offered. However, they can give a head start at influencing a healthy, happy and safe adolescent journey to adulthood.
Teenagers seek to create an identity that expresses their individuality. Peers, sports and music stars influence their decisions. Changes in personal appearance are hallmarks of normal experimentation identity by teens. Monitoring and some rule setting may be required. Ignore smaller battles in favor of bigger ones that affect health, safety and well-being.
What doesn’t work when communicating with your teen? Sarcasm in correcting behavior, ridicule, put-downs, yelling and screaming, comparing the teen’s behavior with more successful peers, and not being able to admit when you’re wrong are sure strategies to turn your teen off.
Feeling accepted and part of a peer group is crucial to a teen, but not all peer groups are positive. Some experiment with anti-social behavior, alcohol and drugs, or seek to dominate members’ beliefs. Talk about peer pressure early to help teens evaluate peer groups, so they make peers choices that match their own values.
It is normal for teens to begin showing an interest in relationships and sex. Communicate your values and thoughts about dating and sexual activities in an open and honest way. Keeping silent and hoping for the best does not provide your teen with guidance about boundaries for their relationships.
Are you concerned that poor communication with your children is a symptom of larger family issues that you want to resolve? Contact EAP at 757-398-2374 or 1800-EAP-3257.