How to Parent Your Teen Effectively

Maintain Communication

Even though teens need to separate from their parents during adolescence, they also need to know that the safety net of home and family is always there for them. If the lines of communication are shut down, they are not yet capable of surviving emotionally; they need support and input. Let's take a look at a few guidelines for keeping the lines of communication open between parents and teenagers.

1. Pay attention to the small things along with the significant things. If you are generally a good listener, your teen will be more likely to talk to you.

2. When your teen talks to you, pay attention. Don't be doing something else.

3. If you can't pay attention right at the moment, explain why. Ask if you can talk about the issue later, at a specific time.

4. Ask questions for clarification, but watch out for coming across as critical. If your teen sees your questions as disapproval, stop asking them.

5. Expect your teen to change his mind frequently. Avoid commenting on the inconsistencies.

6. Express interest and encouragement in your teen's activities.

7. Accept your teen's opinions, even if you don't agree with them. Preventing High-Risk Behavior

All parents fear their teens becoming involved in high-risk behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and sexual activity. There are some very specific things you can do to minimize your teen's need to act out. Here are some tips for preventing high-risk behavior:

1. Be a part of your teen's life. If possible, be present when she is likely to be home.

2. Encourage your teen to talk to you openly at any time.

3. When your teen tells you things, watch your reaction. Avoid reactions that will cause him to think twice about being candid with you in the future.

4. Be specific about what kind of behavior you expect and what is unacceptable.

5. Keep harmful substances out of the house. This includes cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. When teens have access to these items, they are more likely to use them.

6. Expect good things from your teen. Teens who know their parents expect the best have greater emotional well-being.

7. Encourage your teen to become involved in school activities. Those who are involved at school engage in fewer high-risk behaviors.

Preventing Teen Substance Abuse

Now let's talk about some of the risks that teens face. First, let's look at drugs and alcohol. These are a few things you can do to help your teen stay away from drugs and alcohol.

1. State your expectations clearly.

2. Pay attention to where your teen is.

3. When your teen leaves home, ask her to tell you where she is going. Ask for specifics.

4. If your teen says he is going one place but actually goes somewhere else, consider restricting his freedom for awhile.

5. Remember that your teen is innocent until proven guilty. Stay open to the possibility that there is a reasonable explanation for any story you might hear.

6. Build relationships with other parents and agree on the rules. If none of the kids in the group have complete freedom, there will be less peer pressure and more safety.

Teen Depression

Teens are known for their mood swings. It is common for them to feel sad or gloomy. Many parents become concerned about a teen's moods.

Depression is different from the blues because it lasts longer and is more intense. Clinical depression is an illness that can lead to very serious problems, with lifelong implications. Some of the warning signs that your teen may have something more serious than the blues are:

1. She shows less interest in her appearance.

2. She seems to feel hopeless.

3. He seems to hate himself.

4. He seems indifferent about most things.

5. She seems numb.

6. She lacks energy.

7. He talks or thinks about death and dying.

8. He changes his sleeping or eating habits.

9. She loses interest in her friends or hobbies.

10. She stops caring about her pets or cherished possessions.

11. He has a sudden change in his grades at school.

12. He complains of extraordinary stress.

13. She withdraws from people.

If you think your teen's mood may be depression, here are some things you can do about it:

1. Talk to your teen about how he is feeling. Help him get it off his chest. Encourage him to think of solutions to what is bothering him.

2. Encourage your teen to participate in some kind of physical activity.

3. Check in with her more often than usual.

4. If these steps don't help and the problem seems serious, call a school counselor, teacher, or doctor. Ask for a referral to a qualified, licensed professional who specializes in working with adolescents who have emotional problems.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect more girls than boys during adolescence. They are emotional disorders that require the intervention of a health professional before they become life-threatening. If you think your teen suffers from either anorexia or bulimia, do not hesitate to seek the advice of your physician. Early treatment greatly enhances the chances of recovery.

These are the warning signs for anorexia:

1. She has lost 25% of normal body weight without being on a diet.

2. She has a distorted body image.

3. She diets constantly even though she is thin.

4. She fears gaining weight.

5. Her menstrual periods have stopped (this is known as amenorrhea).

6. She is preoccupied with food, calories, and eating.

7. She exercises excessively.

8. She binges and purges.

The warning signs for bulimia include the following:

1. She eats uncontrollably (binges), often in secret.

2. She purges by vomiting, abusing laxatives or diuretics, or vigorously exercising. She may also compensate for eating with strict dieting or fasting.

3. She frequently visits the bathroom after eating a meal.

4. She is preoccupied with her body weight.

5. She experiences depression or mood swings.

6. She has irregular periods.

7. She has dental problems, swollen cheek glands, or is bloated.

If you think your teen suffers from either anorexia or bulimia, do not hesitate to seek the advice of your physician. Early treatment greatly enhances the chances of recovery.

How to Build Your Teen's Self-Esteem

Having strong self-esteem is critical, especially during the teen years. This is true for the following reasons:

? Self-esteem is a significant factor in how each of us manages our life.

? How we feel about ourselves guides the choices we make, how we feel, how we respond to events, and just about everything else we do.

? Strong self-esteem enables us to make constructive choices for ourselves and others.

? When our self-esteem is weak, we tend to make choices based on what others think and want, rather than on what is really best for us.

You can help your teen build and maintain his or her self-esteem in the following ways:

1. Listen to what your teen is saying to you, in words and actions.

2. Ask your teen's opinion about things and accept it.

3. Ask why he thinks the way he does.

4. Remind yourself that your teen needs to differentiate herself from you. That is her job as an adolescent, and it is healthy. Allow her to do it.

5. Let him know that you love him.

6. Let her know that you will always be there for her.

7. Give him permission to explore ideas.

8. Don't be threatened when she expresses herself.

9. Encourage him to express his feelings appropriately.

Garrett Coan is a professional therapist,coach and psychotherapist. His two Northern New Jersey office locations are accessible to individuals who reside in Bergen County, Essex County, Passaic County, Rockland County, and Manhattan. He offers online and telephone coaching and counseling services for those who live at a distance. He can be accessed through http://www.creativecounselors.com or 201-303-4303.

In The News:


Differing parenting styles are a point of contention | Family Life ...
Columbia Daily Tribune
Once again, a reader proves that parenting must be added to religion and politics as verboten subjects for polite conversation. A column I published back in ...

and more »

Clinton Herald

Distractions add challenges to parenting | Opinion | clintonherald.com
Clinton Herald
When my family of five sits down at the dinner table, we have one main rule — stay off the screens. Unfortunately, there are times that I have to be reminded of ...

and more »

Huffington Post

Video Nails Why Parenting Is Basically Like Living In A Horror Film
Huffington Post
Video Nails Why Parenting Is Basically Like Living In A Horror Film. Check out this mom version of “The Blair Witch Project.” By Caroline Bologna. Raising small children is a lot like a scary movie. There's an underlying sense of fear at all times ...


RVA Parenting: What to do with your kids this summer
WWBT NBC12 News
The 2017 RFM Summer Adventure Expo will be held on Sunday, April 2, from 1 to 4 p.m., indoors and outdoors at Peak Experiences in Midlothian. (Source: RFM). CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -. Wondering what the heck you're going to do with your kids this ...


The Daily Nonpareil

Pregnant, parenting teens find support in Council Bluffs schools
The Daily Nonpareil
New parents Dana Hemmingsen, 16, right, and Daytona Breitenstein, 17, center, get information from Planned Parenthood Health Educator Caitlin Purcell during the fifth-annual Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges young parenting adult conference at the ...


Forward

Advice On Avoiding Parenting Body-Image Pitfalls
Forward
I cannot sing the praises loudly enough for Stephanie Goldfarb's Kveller piece, “Stop Telling Your Daughter She Should Eat Less Cream Cheese.” Love the piece, love the headline, love the message. In it, Goldfarb — ”a chef, a social worker, and a ...


The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer

The Importance of Co-Parenting; and How to make it work.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer
Co-parenting may appear as a foreign concept, but in its most basic sense, it refers to sharing the duties of parenting a child. It is often used in relation to separated or unmarried parents, but I would argue that it is a concept that all parents ...
Parenting Series: Corporal Punishment and Careful LanguageChina Christian Daily

all 6 news articles »

'I love my children, but I find parenting hard'
The Times (subscription)
I am trying to imagine Gillian Anderson as a nagging, nervous, struggling mother, picking up Lego after her sons Oscar, ten, and Felix, eight; shushing them when she's on the phone, balking at their boisterous play. It's difficult. She's so petite and ...

and more »

5 Muhammad Ali Quotes That Taught Me About Parenting a Child With Dyslexia
The Good Men Project (blog)
I'm no professional boxer, but parenting is hard work. I was tempted to do less at times. But I kept reminding myself that the hard work supporting our daughter would pay off, and in the end, it did. Seeing my daughter succeed and graduate from high ...


CNET

Status Update: A podcast about parenting in the age of tech - CNET
CNET
Coming soon from CNET, a new show about how tech is changing the way we raise our kids.

and more »
Google News

How NOT to Motivate Your Children and Students

Chaim Ginott was a schoolteacher whose ideas and observations helped... Read More

Life Lessons Learned in My Underwear

For several years now, I've told the following story as... Read More

Elephants and Teenagers

Something eerily familiar happened in KwaZulu-Natal's Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park in Africa... Read More

Potty Training ?To Train or Not to Train?

I have always found the notion of toilet training a... Read More

Get Down (On The Floor!) And Play With Your Children

When was the last time you and your kids rolled... Read More

Teach Your Kids to Cook Well, Eliminating Excessive Health Care Needs in the Future

We are all aware of the child obesity epidemic that... Read More

Develop Your Childs Genius - Developing Leadership Qualities

Often I have heard that leaders are born, not made.... Read More

Road Trip! Make It Fun For Your Toddler

If you had to spend 4 or 5 hours in... Read More

Dinner Table Drama

It has been a long day. Home from work, you... Read More

When Your Chicks Leave the Nest

When my son was 18 (and had finished school), he... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: 3 More Dangerous Myths

MYTH: If you have not parented as well as you... Read More

Parenting

This article on parenting is by a practicing relationship counsellor/therapist,... Read More

Natural Disasters: Help Your Child Cope With The Anxiety

How on earth can you help your family cope with... Read More

Personal Honor

There are moments in a parent's or grandparent's life, when... Read More

Making Internet Chat Safe For Your Children

No matter what you say or do, your kids will... Read More

Five Tips for Successful Grandparenting

1. Boundaries are necessary for control and safety.All children need... Read More

CPR: Why You Should Know It

I never dreamed that I would be in a position... Read More

Your Checking Account

Checking accounts are an absolute necessity these days. You can... Read More

Managing Sibling Rivalry

It is human nature to feel competitive and envious toward... Read More

Is Your Discipline Damaging the Spirit of the Child?

If your parenting methods include abuse of any kind; physical,... Read More

How Do You Find the Best Car Seat to Protect Your Child

Choosing a good car seat for your child's protection is... Read More

Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

Many families do not want to believe their child is... Read More

Choosing a Daycare or Pre-School ? Top Ten Safety Tips

When it's time to put your child into a daycare... Read More

Assume Personal Responsibility? Who, Me?

As thinking, acting human beings we have the ability to... Read More

Overscheduled Kids

Time devoted the better part of an issue to it.... Read More