Tackling those tough teen years

December 17, 2012

Adolescence is a difficult time

Teenagers are expected to act like adults, although in many ways they are still children. They are confronted with an enormous array of values, lifestyles, directions and pressures. Adolescents will try a variety of roles and experiences to figure out what’s right for them.

Teenagers make mistakes; your role is to help turn mistakes into positive learning experiences.

Let your teen know that he or she has your love and respect. Social acceptance and independence are vitally important to teenagers. Your priorities may clash with those of your teen’s peers, but knowing that their parents love and respect them can go a long way in helping teens make the right decisions.

Choose your battles. Teenagers assert their independence through dress, friends, music and activities.

If your teen’s choices will not harm anyone, try to respect his or her decisions. Gain your teen’s trust by showing your confidence in his or her judgment.

Teenagers are influenced by friends. The more you know about your teen’s friends, the more you will learn about your teen.

Build in flexibility when setting rules. Some areas must be strictly governed, so explain why adherence to those rules is necessary. The consequences of breaking them should be clear, logical and consistent.

Respond calmly when confronted by behaviour that concerns you. Overreacting will make your teenager reluctant to confide in you again. When confronted with drug and alcohol abuse or inappropriate sexual behaviour, do some research first, so you can discuss the situation in a credible manner.

Reward positive behaviour. Don’t be afraid to praise your teen and tell him or her how proud you are.

Set a good example. You are your child’s most important role model.

—The Alberta Teachers’ Association

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