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Parent/Teen Relationships

Being a parent can be a difficult job that seems to get more challenging every year. Your once-loving child has grown into a young adult who is now challenging your authority and pushing for more independence. Understanding that this is part of the growing-up process can help you get through the difficult times, but don’t overlook the simple things you can do to help develop a healthy relationship.

Don’t be afraid to be a parent; your kids already have friends. Though children often deny it, they need and want boundaries that will help them feel safe and secure. As much as possible, your home should be a safe haven from all the confusion they face on a daily basis.

Here are some helpful tips that can help you get through these years:

  • Eat meals together as a family—this can be especially challenging if activities overlap into the dinner hour, so you may need to make some compromises.
  • Initiate conversations and keep the lines of communication open. Put boundaries on the use of electronic devices if necessary.
  • Tell your child you love him—and say it often.
  • Listen to your child and try to hear what he’s not saying as well as what he is saying.
  • Allow your child to transition from parental discipline to self-discipline by allowing him to appropriately negotiate rules.

Most importantly, be a positive influence in your child’s life. Look for those moments that can build closeness and keep communication open. It won’t be long before your child will be gone, building a life for himself.