Understanding Your Teen - 10 Dos For Parents

How many frustrated parents are left seething after yet another row which ends with their teenager slamming out of the room?

Here are 10 ways to help you understand and deal with your teen.

1. Have a clear boundary between your parent role and your friend role

You can be a friend to your child but sooner or later your parent role will clash. A teen should be able to tell a friend anything without being judged and parents just can't do that because they care too much. Be a good friend, but remember, kids can find friends anywhere. Good parents are extremely rare.

2. Be involved

This means being there even when it isn't easy or convenient and when they aren't interested in having you around. It's about knowing what's going on in your teen's life, heart and mind, and being there so they'll come to you if they're in trouble.

3. Make your teen accountable

It's your responsibility to prepare your teens for life. Teach them that if they want a certain lifestyle they have to put some effort in to achieve it. It's not about money, it's about responsibility, independence and being able to stand on their own two feet. Give them an allowance for jobs, but don't pay them if they don't do what they're supposed to. That's teaching them how the world works.

4. Listen to them

This means listening and understanding, not hearing and judging. Even if they're argumentative or disrespectful, don't interrupt. Try to get the message that's underneath. Often it's a cry for help. Remember, you're the grown up.

5. Explain yourself

If you explain your reason for making a decision, you'll help them to know how to make good decisions themselves. For instance tell them you want them home by a certain time because after that the streets aren't safe. Even if they don't respect it now, they will as adults.

6. Stand up for your teen

Back them up. They need to know you're behind them.

7. Tune in

Know what music they're listening to and everything they're involved in.. the names of their friends (and their parents). Check out their bedroom and downloads. If you don't you're shirking your responsibilities.

8. Be flexible

It's good to have rules, but if there are exceptional circumstances, it?s OK to bend them.

9. Share your interests

Shared interests mean you understand each other better. You learn together and share experiences. Believe it or not your teen wants to have some connection with you besides arguing over the car keys.

10. Keep talking even when they won't listen

This is a secret, but teens do listen to their parents. Even when they're yelling, your words do stick. Tell them what you think about smoking, drugs, sex and it will get through, even if it looks like it hasn't. If you don't, you're neglecting them.

Jay McGraw
Good to Know
Good to Know features lots of parenting advice including information on how to talk to children and a everything else you need to know when raising a family.

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