Tips for Parents of Teenagers
Make sure your teen has someone else to talk to: Make sure your teen has a doctor both of you trust, and that a working professional relationship has been established between them. If your teen wants to switch doctors, meet the new doctor to make sure you are comfortable with the change. Make sure your teen has confidants other than you (such as extended family, a religious leader, school counselor, and family friends). If you feel that others are leading your teen down a dangerous path, however, don't be afraid to step in. Your teen still needs your protection.
Tell your teen what you think: Studies show that teens are less likely to smoke, drink, do drugs and engage in premarital sex if their parents clearly tell them not to. Talk to your teens honestly and frankly. Provide them with the appropriate information that they need, and be careful to keep the lines of communication open. Does your teen appear to not be listening? Sometimes teens will appear to be shrugging off what you have to say when they are really just trying to appear cool. If you don't say anything because you assume they won't listen, you are leaving them in the lurch.
Don't dismiss complaints from your teen: Does your teen have stomach aches, headaches, sleep problems, waking up problems? Take complaints seriously -- they might indicate a physical, social or emotional problem. Ask your teen, and then listen. This is your opportunity to find out what's really happening. If your instincts tell you that something is not right, don't just chalk it up to teen angst. Listen to your gut, and press for more information or for outside help.
We don't think all teens are troubled: Parents and teen-agers should know that we don't think that the majority of teens are bad or likely to get into trouble. We believe most teens are fun, helpful, interesting, full of enthusiasm, and responsible. But the teen years can be troubled times for some, and we want to make sure that the teens and families who do need help and support -- can find it here.
Reprinted with the permission of Safer Child, Inc. © 2000-2008 Safer Child, Inc. All rights reserved.
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