Navigating The Teen Years

teenagersPRINCIPLE # 1 –

Tune into your teen – the common thread among teens who do well academically and socially , and stay healthy and drug-free, is that they have close relationships with their parents. These teens report that their parents are interested in them, in what they do and in who they know. They say their parents are curious about their lives and their ideas. They feel connected, because their parents listen to them and take time to find out what’s going on in their world. Foster close relationships with your teens by :
• Spending time together regularly, doing things your teen enjoys
• Talk openly and honestly
• Use positive communication skills, especially when there is conflict. For example, think before you speak and acknowledge your teen’s point-of-view so he or she knows you are listening
• Acknowledge the positive qualities and behaviors of your teenager
Guide your teen – rules are their safety net, they need to know you have a boundary for them. Rules and their consequences provide a concrete way to help your teens understand your expectations and learn self-control. It’s better if you tell them “no” than “maybe.” Set expectations by:
• Discussing “house rules”
• Defining specific consequences for breaking rules
• Involve teens in the rule-setting discussion
Respect your teen – respect is a two-way street, and teens are very concerned about fairness. When you’re disrespectful, they will probably respond in-kind. You don’t have to agree all the time to show respect, but try to listen and treat them fairly. Research shows that parents who respect their teen’s individuality help prevent risk-taking and protect their kids against depression and other emotional problems. Build respect in your relationship with your teen by:
• Staying involved, but giving them privacy to be an individual
• Don’t be dismissive of your teen’s ideas – learn to debate in a healthy manner
• Appreciate and acknowledge your teen’s unique interests, skills and strengths
Be a good role model – parents who set a good example through their relationships and social skills have teens who do better in the areas of school, employment, relationships, communication, coping and other life skills. Be a good role model by:
• Non-use of alcohol, illicit drugs and not smoking
• Don’t allow teens or their friends to drink or smoke in your home
• Don’t involve your teen in your use, such as asking them to get you a beer or a cigarette
• Never drink and drive
• Get help if you think you have a substance abuse problem

South Shore Counseling & Mediation Center is a full service mental health agency, offering CBT counseling, EFT modalities – (tapping), therapeutic counseling, a variety of behavioral and psycho-educational programs and divorce mediation. To speak with one of our therapists please call 631-286-8282, e-mail us at SSCounseling1@optonline.net or visit our website, Southshorecounselingcenter.net.

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