Raising Teens: Messages for Parents
Teenagers face enormous risks ranging from violence and substance abuse to teen pregnancy and school failure.Yet seldom do professionals seek to enlist the group that can best, and most wants to help: parents. Below is an excerpt from a recent research synthesis that suggests ways parents can support positive adolescent development.
The 5 basics of Parenting Adolescents
1. Love & Connect. Teens need relationships with parents that offer support and acceptance while accommodating and affirming the teen’s increasing maturity. Most things about their world are changing. Don’t let your love feel like one of them.
2. Monitor & Observe. Teens need parents to be aware of—and let teens know they are aware of—their activities and relationships, through a process that uses less direct supervision and more communication, observation, and networking with other adults. Monitor your teen’s activities.You still can, and it still counts.
3. Guide & Limit. Teens need a clear but evolving set of boundaries, maintaining important family rules and values, but encouraging increased competence and maturity. Loosen up, but don’t let go.
4. Model & Consult. Teens need ongoing family support around decision making, values, and goals in order to interpret and navigate the larger world.Teach by example and through ongoing dialogue. Parents still matter and teens still care.
5. Provide & Advocate. Teens need parents to provide not only adequate nutrition, clothing, shelter, and health care, but also a supportive home environment and a network of caring adults. You can’t control their world, but you can add to and subtract from it.
Taken from Simpson, A. Rae (2001). Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action. Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public Health. For more information or to download a free copy: www.hsph.harvard.edu/chc/parenting or 617-432-1038.
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