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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

The teenage years are the most difficult for parent and child alike, but they don’t have to be a nightmare. There are resources and strategies available to help you and your teens make it through the tumultuous period of adolescence. Consider some of the most common roadblocks that parents of teenagers face and look for ways to put these simple solutions into practice.

Be Aware of the Reasons Behind Problems at School

At some point, nearly every parent deals with a teenager having problems at school. Whether the issue is that your teenage child is having trouble making friends and fitting in or getting into trouble at school, open communication is the best solution. Instead of instituting punishments as soon as your teen brings home a bad grade or a detention slip, sit them down for a conversation. Sudden problems at school from a teen with a history of good behavior can be an indication of something more serious, such as bullying or depression. Your best ally is often your child’s teacher or guidance counselor, both of whom might be able to help work out a solution to the underlying cause of bad behavior at school.

Get to Know Their Friends

If at all possible, do your best to know who your kids are hanging out with. Making your home a place where the teens can hang out and have fun will allow you to know where your kids are and what they are up to. This will allow you to get to know their friends—their names, what they are like, and maybe even who their parents are. The more informed you are, the easier it will be to keep track of your son or daughter and what kind of activities they are participating in. Don’t be overbearing, but make sure you know who they are hanging out with and what they are up to.

It may be hard to remember, but think back to when you were their age and the influence peer pressure had on you. Legal professionals from the Valerie M. Little Law Corporation, a family lawyer in Burnaby, claim that many of the teen arrests they see are a result of limited adult supervision and immense peer pressure. Knowing where your child is and what kind of kids they are hanging out with will help you to eliminate situations like this. While you can’t be with them at all times, checking up on them and being involved in their lives will help you avoid disasters like this.

Turn Rebellions Into Opportunities for Education

Teenagers are known for their defiant ways, and nearly every one goes through a period of adolescent rebellion. From what the clothes they wear to the music they listen to, your teen will continue to find new ways to test their limits and see how much they can get away with before mom or dad gets angry. The best way to handle a defiant teenager is to choose your battles. Sometimes teenagers need to express themselves with colorful clothing and loud music that parents don’t understand. If your teenager is obstinate and insists on expressing themselves in ways that are detrimental to their reputation or against your moral values, explain why that particular expression is inappropriate. Teenagers are locked in a developmental stage which causes them to be oblivious of the way their actions affect others. Taking the time to explain why a certain behavior is wrong goes much further than simply saying no. Oftentimes, they only use defiant behavior to get a rise out of you or to get your attention, so consider in what ways you can make them feel acknowledged if you think this may be a reason for their behavior.

The teen years are filled with hormonal changes, developing personalities, and peer pressure. The best way to stay close to your teen while encouraging them to be a strong adult is to respond with patience and not be afraid to seek the outside intervention of a counselor or teacher when necessary. It can be difficult to foster a close relationship with a moody, stressed teenager, but as long as your child knows you are there for support, they are more likely to openly communicate with you and allow you to be a part of their lives.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of teens. ‘Nuff said.