In the next month thousands of children will take one more step toward a significant rite of passage: they will transition from being middle school or junior high students to becoming full-fledged high schoolers. This transition for kids is scary – the fear of anonymity, unfamiliar surroundings and higher expectations all play a central role in the anxiety leading up to the start of one’s high school career. There are things, however, that parents can do to assist with this transition.
Parents should not discount their children’s fears by just telling them “it will be all right.” Change can be frightening. Parents should reassure their kids that they will not be alone in this process. Children at this age need emotional security, support and a listening ear. Your child is anxious about this transition and wants to know that you are an ally.
2. Get involved
When students are involved with extracurricular activities, such as theatre, art club or sports, it helps promote belonging. Encouraging involvement in organized school activities fosters teamwork and a sense of place, which ultimately leads to confidence. And confidence comes with inclusion.
3.Help your child learn the ropes
Many school districts have freshman orientation programs that allow time for incoming freshmen to get oriented to the physical plant. Schools, for example, usually allow students to come in and try out locker combinations,locate classrooms and get comfortable with their new surroundings. For students who have their schedules, parents can suggest that they walk through the building as if they were coming and going from classes.
If students have to take a bus to school,parents should help them plan in advance. Students should know where to get on, when to get on and where to get off. This is especially important for students who have to take multiple buses to school.
4. Eliminate stress by focusing on details
The more attention that parents pay to small details, the easier things will be for a student on day one. For example, most schools mail students their new schedules over the summer. Parents should look over their child’s schedule to ensure it appears to be correct. No matter how much little Billy tries to coerce his parents into believing he is supposed to have three gym classes, he shouldn’t. Scheduling mistakes do happen, and if there is a problem counselors are usually available a couple of weeks prior to the start of classes to get these issues resolved. Addressing any scheduling errors early can save your child from waiting in line and missing classes while his/her schedule is changed.
5. Prepare for the summer brain drain
Almost every student loses a little ground over the summer. However, if your child has done poorly in a subject, you should try to help him/her find a related enrichment activity over the summer. This will increase your child’s self esteem and help prepare your student academically for the start of the school year.
6. Adjustments to curriculum take time
The higher academic standards of high school and increased competition will take some time and adjustment. Often students earn their lowest GPA freshman year, and then begin to figure things out. When I interview students and ask the question “if you could start high school over again, what would you do differently?” many students answer that they would take freshman year more seriously. Some freshmen don’t even understand that their freshman grades are part of the high school transcript that is submitted when they apply to college.
7. Know when to seek help
After the first couple of weeks, if your child is having debilitating anxiety or is abnormally worried about school,parents must seek help and get an intervention. Many students will exhibit uneasiness and a decrease in self-esteem, but adjustment problems lasting longer than a few weeks may require special help.
Parents know their children and know when they are having drastic mood swings or acting uncharacteristically. If you notice a change in your child’s eating or sleeping habits, it’s time to talk with someone.
During this time never forget to love your children unconditionally. While they are crossing over into adulthood, understand that change is hard and their fears are real. Students today are more stressed out than they have ever been. It’s a reflection of what is going on in our communities and our society. We have so many complex problems – including heightened economic pressures, changes in family structure, persistent violence, cyber-bullying, etc. – but there are also more resources to deal with these problems than we had 20 years ago.
Parents, teachers, counselors and school leaders need to work collaboratively to help promote a favorable school adjustment. Nobody can do it alone.
Bonnie Rubenstein is a professor of education at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester.
They are four years old one day and 34 the next. And we don’t mean that time flies. We mean teenagers are all over the map in terms of their maturity.
Once they get past age 12, they are adults in training. As the grown-up of the house, it’s your job to teach them what they need to know so they can survive on their own when it’s time to move out. If you don’t prepare them for that, then don’t make plans to remodel their bedroom. They’ll still need it.
You are the parent, so act like it. Sit down with your kids one by one and show them how to make a budget. Find out what they spend their money on and work out a plan withthem. Don’t make it for them.
Let them give mature input. Let them know that this budget is theirs. If something is out of whack, you can correct it, but you’re not babying them. You are letting them set their own priorities. Make sure that they know that.
Teach them about having long-term savings goals. At this age, their own car is probably the first thing on their minds.
If they want one, they can pay for it. Both of you should put down in the budget what they should save each month, and for how long, before they have enough to pay cash for a ride. Early exposure to goal setting helps to give them patience and vision, two things they’ll need in life.
This should be a given, but no credit cards! A teen with a credit card is only slightly less dangerous than one with a loaded gun. Don’t fill their brains with that “you need a card to build your credit” crap. That’s for people who want to make a life habit of borrowing money. Break that cycle before it even gets started by teaching them to not borrow.
The great thing about teaching a teenager to properly handle money is that the feeling of responsibility spills over into other areas of life. Money is important to a teenager, so someone who is careful with how much they spend won’t carelessly hang out with the wrong crowd or be foolish about not making grades in school. That sense of accountability will permeate their lives and help them behave.
It’s all right if your kids don’t think you’re cool because you are on their case about money. A parent who is most concerned about being liked by their kids isn’t a parent. He or she is more like a jellyfish. Neither has a backbone.
Love your kids enough to properly teach them about being adults. If they are deeply in debt with a marriage hanging by a thread in 30 years, what are you going to say? “Sorry, son, that I didn’t teach you better … but at least you thought I was cool when you were a teen!”
Check out EveryDollar to help you budget and show your teens the right way to handle money!
While teens are known to be moody, lazy and obsessed with social media, they're also the ones who can make or break a family vacation. No parent wants to leave their teen behind, and you don't have to do so. More often than not, they're up for having a good time with the family -- it might just take a group effort. Follow our tips for traveling with your teenager and you'll be well on your way to having a happy and peaceful family getaway.
Before You Go
Ask for your teen's input.
When you're in the planning stages of your vacation, sit down with everyone and figure out what kind of vacation each person wants. Finding a vacation that suits everyone isn't just wishful thinking. If you let your teen help plan the trip, he or she will feel more involved and the family vacation will start out on the right foot.
Choose your destination wisely.
If you want to relax on the beach but your teen wants to hang out in an arcade, maybe this is the year for a cruise. If your teen wants an adventure vacation, but you're concerned about costs, consider a national park. You get the idea. If you think outside the box and explore each possible destination in depth before you choose, chances are, everyone's vacation expectations will be met.
Find the right hotel.
While staying on the outskirts of town might save you a few bucks, having lots of attractions near your hotel might save you some aggravation. Not only will you cut down on the travel between sights, but your teen can also take some time to explore the area around the hotel when you all need a break.
Set a budget.
On vacation, it's easy to blow your budget by buying all sorts of mementos to keep the kids happy. But if you give your teen a budget and even let him or her keep any leftover money, they'll be less likely to spend all of it on souvenirs you'll find under his or her bed a week after you get home. Plus, having a budget might allow for a few unexpected activities that will make the whole family happy!
Give your teen space.
If possible, book adjoining hotel rooms or rooms adjacent to one another. If you rent a vacation home, make sure your teen has his or her own bedroom. Teens love their privacy, and feel more like the adults they want to be when they have their own space.
Bring a friend.
Traveling with another family has its pros and cons -- on one hand, you can enjoy adult time while the kids keep each other company, but on the other, you have to adjust to another family's idea of fun. Another possibility is letting your teen bring a friend on vacation. If it isn't too cost-prohibitive and the friend's parents are on board, having your teen bring a friend just might mean more downtime for you.
es any of this sound familiar? "I'm too tall." "I'm too short." "I'm too skinny." "If only I were shorter/taller/had curly hair/straight hair/a smaller nose/longer legs, I'd be happy."
Are you putting yourself down? If so, you're not alone. As a teen, you're going through lots of changes in your body. And, as your body changes, so does your image of yourself. It's not always easy to like every part of your looks, but when you get stuck on the negatives it can really bring down your self-esteem.
Why Are Self-Esteem and Body Image Important?
Self-esteem is all about how much you feel you are worth — and how much you feel other people value you. Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect your mental health and how you behave.
People with high self-esteem know themselves well. They're realistic and find friends that like and appreciate them for who they are. People with high self-esteem usually feel more in control of their lives and know their own strengths and weaknesses.
Body image is how you view your physical self — including whether you feel you are attractive and whether others like your looks. For many people, especially people in their early teens, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem.
What Influences a Person's Self-Esteem?
Puberty and Development
Some people struggle with their self-esteem and body image when they begin puberty because it's a time when the body goes through many changes. These changes, combined with wanting to feel accepted by our friends, means it can be tempting to compare ourselves with others. The trouble with that is, not everyone grows or develops at the same time or in the same way.
Media Images and Other Outside Influences
Our tweens and early teens are a time when we become more aware of celebrities and media images — as well as how other kids look and how we fit in. We might start to compare ourselves with other people or media images ("ideals" that are frequently airbrushed). All of this can affect how we feel about ourselves and our bodies even as we grow into our teens.
It used to be commonplace for teens to have a part-time job, whether that was helping to pack bags at the store, or delivering newspapers. However, these days it is becoming a whole lot rarer. Here we look at the potential benefits and pitfalls of your teen getting a job.
The Benefits of Part-Time Jobs for Teens
There are a whole host of reasons how your teen can benefit from getting a job.
1. It offers a much wider perspective on life, and mixing with people they might not normally have the opportunity to meet is a great eye-opener to the world around them.
2. A part-time job is a great self-esteem booster; teens feel empowered, experiencing a sense of accomplishment and personal achievement. It also provides greater autonomy, allowing teens to gently pull away from the parental-guarded environment, which will help pave the way to adulthood.
3. Working teaches important life skills, such as having to deal with issues or problems that arise. It gives teens valuable work experience, which always looks great on a resume; it can also help to network, and perhaps provide useful links to possible work in the future. Going to work regularly offers teens the chance to cultivate their time-management skills, and with that, comes a sense of responsibility.
4. Teens who earn their own money also have more of an appreciation of its value, allowing them to reflect that it doesn’t grow on trees and needs to be earned. Additionally, being responsible for their personal purchases helps teens learn to budget and plan out their finances.
The Drawback of Part-Time Jobs for Teens
Teens are invariably under a lot of pressure, especially during high school, and added stress from working can place a load on their shoulders that they may find difficult to cope with. It is hard enough for them to keep up with the stressors of school life without there being an additional drain on their energy and concentration levels.
Although working only a few hours a week seems to have little effect on teens and their school work, research shows that when the hours creep up to over 20 hours a week, they are more likely to be absent from school and will have grades that are substantially lower than peers. Additionally, studies have highlighted that working more than 20 hours can cause an increase in drug and alcohol misuse.
The other concern about teens working is the fact that they are often naïve and inexperienced, which leaves them open to being unfairly treated and exploited by employers.
How Parents Can Help
The role parents play in assessing whether their teen is a suitable candidate for a job is vital; it’s not for everyone, and if your teen is already stressed out or struggling with school workloads, then it perhaps isn’t the best decision. Suggesting a trial basis is often a good idea; that way, you can assess how well they fare.
When your teen first raises the subject of work, it is important to sit with them and discuss both negative and positive attributes a job can bring. Some teens simply see dollar signs before their eyes and haven’t really given much thought to the reality of actually working!
Some teens are lacking in time management skills, so parents can step in with some words of wisdom; this will allow teens to spend their time more productively, alleviating some of the pressure, helping them to feel less overwhelmed by their responsibilities.
As with everything our teens do, it is our responsibility to look out for our kids. Do all you can to ensure that their terms of employment are fair, and make it clear to your teen that they should be treated with respect. Teens need to be able to distinguish between someone being their boss and being taken advantage of, and you can help them differentiate between the two. However, it is also important that they are aware that respect is earned and most certainly should be reciprocated.
Lastly, be supportive. Although when they come home complaining about how tired they are, and how hard it is to work, your initial response might be to roll your eyes or retort that they have no clue how difficult life can be. However, for them, on their first stretch towards adulthood, it can feel tough. Give them a shoulder to lean on and make sure you have regular check-ins with them; this will provide invaluable support and also allow for any potential problems to be nipped in the bud
Author: Tracy Morgan
A Parent's Guide to Teen PartiesAs a parent, you know the importance of your teen's social life and that parties are a way to socialize and relax. But an unsupervised or poorly planned party can result in unwanted or even tragic consequences. However, parental responsibility is the key to a fun and safe party.
The following is important information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about teen parties.
Facts about teen parties
Alcohol and other drugs impair judgment. Teens are more likely to have sex, be involved in a violent incident, or suffer an injury after using drugs or alcohol. All too frequently teens die from violence, unintentional injuries, or overdoses related to alcohol and other drugs.
Alcohol affects teens differently than adults. For example, compared with adults, teens are more likely to remain awake, to wander about, or to drive a car while having a much greater degree of mental impairment.
What parents need to knowCommunication and honesty are important to keep your teen safe. Teens whose parents talk with them regularly about drugs and alcohol are 42% less likely to use substances than those whose parents don't. Tell your teens that you expect them not to use alcohol or other drugs at parties.
Parent networking is the best prevention tool to combat underage drinking. Get to know your teen's friends and their parents. If your teen is planning on going to a party, call the parents to ensure that they will be home and that they will not allow drugs or alcohol. If this is not possible, don't let your teen go.
Parents are legally responsible for anything that happens to a minor who has been served alcohol or other drugs in their home. If anyone brings alcohol or other drugs to your home, be prepared to contact their parents. And if someone comes to your home already intoxicated, make sure that they get home safely. Help your teen feel responsible for this as well.
Parents may be criminally or civilly liable if...
If you are hosting a teen party...
To America’s teenagers, adulthood must seem like a comparative vacation. They match us step-for-step during the day, then wade through an hour or two of homework at night. If it seems like youngsters are under fiercer pressures than in your day, you’re not imagining things. They are.
“It’s a national phenomenon,” says Dr. Coleman, who points to two causes. In an increasingly high-tech economy, more will be demanded of tomorrow’s workers. As teachers are constantly reminding their classes, they will need superior skills if they expect to land a job. That is, if there are any jobs left, a worry generated by the downsizing trend of recent years.
The pressure to achieve is partly self-imposed, notes Dr. Coleman, but it comes mostly from Mom and Dad. “Teenage patients of mine will complain, ‘My parents are putting so much pressure on me to get into a good college that I can’t even have fun as a sophomore in high school.’ Parents can get very revved up. I’ve had couples bring in an eight-year-old because she wasn’t doing well in spelling. They wanted to know whether or not she’d be able to get into college, be independent and have a good life.
“Some of their concerns are justified,” he continues, “but other times they’re focused too far ahead and not on keeping their youngster’s life balanced now.”
What You Can Do
Watch carefully for signs of strain. You can’t put a number on how many extracurricular commitments are too many. A girl’s schedule may resemble the queen of England’s social calendar, but if she appears happy and is doing well, then her parents can relax. (Incidentally, research suggests that participating in after-school activities may strengthen students’ affection for their schools, which is associated with lower failure rates and dropout rates.)
A youngster who is feeling overwhelmed may seem irritable, depressed or exhausted. Her schoolwork may suffer. “When you notice consistent signs of stress,” says clinical psychologist Helen Pratt, a mother of five, “it’s time to step in and insist that the teenager give up one or more of her activities.”
Examine your expectations for your child. Are they realistic? To demand that a perennial D student in science suddenly start pulling A’s in eleventh grade chemistry is not only unreasonable but may very well set her up for failure and discouragement.
A better way is to measure progress in small increments. So although our ultimate aim may be to raise her grade to a B by semester’s end, we institute short-term goals along the way. Perhaps the first stepping-stone is to help her understand a key concept. Acknowledge this step forward and offer encouragement for the next landmark: a B on a forthcoming lab test. And so on. If she falls short, examine why. Was it due to a lack of effort? Or was the bar set too high? If the latter, then the goals need to be reconsidered.
Don’t insist on college if your child is determined not to go. You can make a compelling case that attending college will give him a competitive edge, but ultimately the decision is his. Perhaps he’s never been academically inclined. Or perhaps he wants to dive directly into the job market, enlist in the armed forces or pursue a field where education is secondary to a particular talent, like acting or athletics.
As long as a youngster has a plan—even if it’s short term or not the ambition you would have chosen for him—we’d advise against pressuring him to go to college against his will. All of us progress through life at our own pace and according to our own timetable. Some teenagers know from a young age what they want to do professionally; their career path resembles an arrow’s flight, straight and true. Others set their sights on one career but abandon the dream once they achieve it or at some point along the way. Perhaps it was someone else’s vision for them more so than their own. Eventually they discover that their heart lies somewhere else.
Then there are the many young people who don’t come into their own until later in life. They may try their hand at working for a few years, then go to college. Maybe they’ve found their true calling and now want to develop the skills to make a career out of it. Or, their experience in the workforce has taught them to appreciate the advantages of that diploma. Our point is that it’s never too late to go back to school. With future generations expected to have two, three or more careers in their lifetime, many adults will no doubt find themselves back in the classroom.
A high-schooler who can’t bear the thought of spending four more years in school might consider obtaining an associate of arts degree (A.A.) at a two-year institution. Those armed with an A.A. will find more welcome mats out when looking for a job and higher salaries than if they never went to college at all. Another timesaving option is to enroll in a technical program to obtain the skills and experience sought by employers.
Caring for Your Teenager (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
"Huh?" "Like ... Noooo! You can't make me." My teenager stared blankly through me and held a defiant stance. My ears burned. My blood raced. I pursed my lips to keep emotion from flying out! Parenting teens with attitudes can be challenging.
What is the best way to respond to smart-mouthed quips or rude gestures?
Before you jump to a hasty response, it would be helpful to consider that the teenage years:
What is happening? Where did your sweet child disappear to?
I don't want to suggest that disrespectful behavior is acceptable. It is not. But it is important to understand that now more than ever your teen needs a good behavioral model. Teens need to understand that you understand what is happening to them. They are looking for a way to handle their frustration and confusion. They are looking to you for guidance.
What is an appropriate response?
It is human nature to want emotion. But if we react to their outbursts with outbursts of our own, we will only have an out of control firestorm. "Love and Logic parents make it clear from the start that sassing does not result in an emotional response" (Parenting with Love and Logic pg. 219). Teens believe that loud disruptive emotion will get them the attention they crave. When teens act out, it is a time for parents not to be shocked, angry or confused, but rather to answer their loud emotion with a calm quiet assurance.
How do you defuse their outbursts?
Step I Regroup
Will a code of discipline or a calm approach help keep the defiant teenage years at bay? Probably not completely. But it will help parents teach teens better methods of self-control as their bodies grow into the young adulthood years.
What do you do to help your teen manage their behavior?
What are some phrases that you have successfully used to get your teen to talk?
Does your teens birth-placement within the family make a difference in how you respond to their defensive behavior? Should it?
by Linda Shaw
Positive parenting a teenager? A terrific teen who's responsible, considerate, shows good judgment, at least most of the time? Yes, it is possible!
Here's your game plan, with 12 essential Tips. You may not feel like you have much influence on your child these days, but teens’ behavior is highly correlated with the strength of their bonds with their parents.
Good relationships between teenagers and their parents, as rated by both, are positively correlated with school success and general happiness as rated by the teen, and also by those around her.
By contrast, weak or conflictual parent/teen relationships are correlated with early sexual activity, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, the teen's involvement in violence (as either perpetrator or victim), and suicide.
How do you parent this blossoming person who sometimes seems to be becoming a stranger?
12 Essential Tips:1. Remember you're a parent, AND a friend.Teens crave the security of knowing their parents understand them, appreciate them, and love them no matter what--so they do want the relationship to be a form of friendship. But they also need to feel like they have some independence, so sometimes you may feel a bit shut out. If you can navigate your closeness in an accepting way that doesn't take advantage of your role as parent to tell your child what to do, he's more likely to open up and share with you.
Does a close friendship erode your teen's respect for you? No. Don't you respect your friends, and treasure those who are really there for you emotionally? If you offer your teen respect, consideration, and authenticity, that's what you'll receive in return.
And as close as you want to be to your teen, sometimes you will have to pull rank and say No. If you're doing it often, that's a red flag that something is wrong. But sometimes your teen will be looking to you to set limits they can't set for themselves. Sometimes you'll need to stick by your values and say no, whether that's to an unsupervised party or a very late bedtime. And, of course, sometimes your teen will be able to use your guidance to come up with a win-win solution that answers your concerns.
2. Establish dependable together time.Be sure to check in every single day. A few minutes of conversation while you're cleaning up after dinner or right before bedtime can keep you tuned in and establish open communication. Even teens who seem to have forgotten who their parents are the other 23 hours a day often respond well to a goodnight hug and check-in chat once they're lounging in bed. In addition to these short daily check-ins, establish a regular weekly routine for doing something special with your teen, even if it's just going out for ice cream or a walk together.
3. Parent actively and appropriately.Don’t invite rebellion by refusing to acknowledge that your son or daughter is growing up and needs more freedom. But don’t be afraid to ask where your kids are going, who they’ll be with and what they’ll be doing. Get to know your kids’ friends and their parents so you’re familiar with their activities.
4. Try to be there after school.The biggest danger zone for drug use and sex isn't Saturday night; it's between 3 and 6 PM on weekdays. Arrange flex time at work if you can. If your child will be with friends, make sure there’s adult supervision, not just an older sibling.
5. Keep your standards high.Your teen wants to be his or her best self. Our job as parents is to support our teens in doing that. But don't expect your child to achieve goals you decide for her; she needs to begin charting her own goals now, with the support of a parent who adores her just as she is and believes that she can do anything she aims to. Support your teen's passions and explorations as she finds her unique voice.
6. Make it a high priority to eat meals together...as often as you can. Meals are a great opportunity to talk about the days' events, to unwind, reinforce and bond. They're also your best opportunity to keep in touch with your teen's life and challenges, and to spot brewing problems. Finally, an important factor in kids' happiness and overall success is whether they feel they get time to "just hang out and talk" with parents every day. Click here for more on Dinner.
7. Keep the lines of communication humming.If you don't know what's going on, you lose all hope of influencing the outcome. Click here for more on Becoming a Brilliant Listener, Getting Your Kids to Talk with You, and Family Conversations your Teen Will Love.
8. Encourage good self-care...such as the nine and half hours of sleep every teen needs, and a good diet. Coffee is a bad idea for early teens because it interferes with normal sleep patterns. Too much screen time, especially in the hour before bedtime, reduces melatonin production and makes it harder for kids to fall asleep at night.
9. Continue family meetings.Held regularly at a mutually agreed upon time, family meetings provide a forum for discussing triumphs, grievances, sibling disagreements, schedules, any topic of concern to a family member. Ground rules help. Everyone gets a chance to talk; one person talks at a time without interruption; everyone listens, and only positive, constructive feedback is allowed. To get resistant teens to join in, combine the get-together with incentives such as post-meeting pizza or ice cream, or assign them important roles such as recording secretary or rule enforcer. Click here for more on Family Meetings.
10. Keep kids safe and connected to the family by keeping computers in your common space.It can be hard for parents to track what teens do on line because they usually know more about the computer than we do. But research shows that he'll be less tempted to spend time doing things you'd disapprove of if the computer is in a common space, where you can walk by and glance at what he's doing. Kids live online these days, but he can still stay connected to his family if online is in the heart of your home.
11. Don't push your teen into independence before he's ready. Every teen has his own timetable for blossoming into an independent person. Real independence includes close relationships with others, and it never needs to include rebelliousness. It is NOT healthy for your child to feel that you're pushing him into independence -- that only leads to him becoming overly dependent on the peer group for validation. If he isn't ready to go to sleep away camp for a month, then he isn't ready. Sooner or later, he will be. Respect his timetable.
12. Make agreements and teach your child to make repairs.If you've raised your child without punishment, he will almost certainly be close to you. Because he doesn't want to damage the trust between you, he won't lie to you, and he won't usually infringe on your limits. If he does, ask him how he can make repairs, including repairing your trust.
13. What if you've raised your child with punishment, and now she's breaking your rules and lying to you?It's never too late to help her learn to take responsibility, but to start, she has to value her relationship with you. That means you need to stop punishing, and start listening and connecting. You also need to insist that she find ways to make repairs. That's a tricky dance, because punishment will make things worse, so she has to choose the repair-- and yet you are still insisting that she do so. No, it's not a punishment -- it's a way for her to make things better when she messes up, which is what all adults need to learn to do. But she'll only understand it this way if she wants to please you, so if you need to go to counseling together to create that relationship, don't hesitate.
14. Stay connected even as she moves into the world.If we've accepted our child's dependency needs AND affirmed her development into her own separate person, she'll stay fiercely connected to us even as her focus shifts to peers, high school and the passions that make her soul sing.
It's appropriate for teens to want to spend more time with their peers than their parents as they get older, but kids who are well grounded in their families will respond well to parents' efforts to stay connected. And parents who have bonded adequately with their children at each earlier stage will feel invested enough in their teens to stay connected, even if a lot of effort is required.
It’s critical, during the teen years, for parents to remain their children’s emotional and moral compass. Kids will begin to experiment with intimate relationships outside the family, but to do that successfully, they still rely on those intimate relationships at home remaining solid. That means that a 14 year old who focuses mostly outwards is probably looking for something he wasn’t getting at home.
We need to invite our children to rely on us emotionally until they’re emotionally ready to depend on themselves. Too often, in our culture, we let teenagers transfer their dependency outside the family, with disastrous results. Teens often give up a great deal of themselves in pursuit of the closeness they crave, only to crash against the hard reality that other teens aren’t developmentally able to offer them what they need to flourish as independent young adults.
You may not be at the top of your teen's list nowadays, but work like the dickens to stay close, and don't take it for granted that your child will now push you away. That’s a sign of a damaged relationship. Don't give up. It’s never too late in your relationship with your child to do repair work and move closer.
If you have an older child, you can’t simply walk (or carry) him to time-out or physically confine him to his room when you have to give a consequence for negative behavior like you can with younger children. So, what can you do to help your teen understand that you are in charge?
Make sure that you establish yourself as the family authority.
The following are a few parenting tips to help: