Parent Guide: Teen Independence

Parent Guide

Expert Advice

Show Your Love

  • Spend time with your teen.
  • Listen to your child’s opinions.
  • Eating meals together is a good way to stay connected.
  • Encourage teen to talk to other supportive adults, like an aunt or older cousin, for guidance.

Circle of Friends

  • Know who your child’s friends are, and get to know them in a cordial, non-intrusive manner

Minimize Pressure

  • While you shouldn’t refrains from setting expectations, allow for some self-expression.
  • Give your child some leeway when it comes to hairstyles and clothing.
  • For teens interested in tattoos or piercings, discuss the risks and potential permanence.

Stay Safe Online

  • Get to know the technology your teen uses and the websites he or she visits.
  • If possible, keep computer in common area.
  • Remind your teen of basic safety rules.

Set Limits

  • Identify what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
  • Explain consequences for both complying and disobeying.

When setting limits:

  • Avoid ultimatums
  • Be specific & concise
  • Put rules in writing
  • Be flexible
  • Be reasonable

Prioritize Rules

  • Decide which rules you may occasionally be willing to make exceptions to (bedtime, homework habits, etc.)
  • Don’t negotiate when it comes to restrictions imposed for safety, such as substance abuse, sexual activity and reckless driving.

Enforce Consequences

  • Your teen needs to know you’re the parent, not a friend.
  • Tactics can include: active ignoring, scolding, additional chores or restrictions.
  • Punishments limited to a few hours or days are often most effective.

Punishment Don’ts

  • Don’t impose punishment when you’re angry.
  • Don’t impose punishments you’re not prepared to carry out.
  • Punish the offender, not the entire family.
  • Don’t use physical harm.

Do as I Do

  • Teens learn by watching their parents.
  • Set a positive example and your teen will likely follow your lead.

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