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Are You Parenting Your Teen Ostrich-

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Are You Parenting Your Teen Ostrich-

By Glenda Gabriel

Core Solutions

Parenting teens isn’t for dummies. You’ve got to bring your best game. The teenage years bring challenges that you probably didn’t experience during their elementary school years.  Much of this is the natural course of things in preparation for them to become independent, contributing adults. Research confirms that teen’s parents are a vital influence in their development, choices and behavior. Here are three sound ways you can help your teen safely navigate their teenage years.

Close parent-child relationship. Your child needs to know they can count on you to say what you mean and mean what you say. Your family values need to be spelled out and known by every member of your family, and modeled by you. Set clear expectations and boundaries based on those values, with fair consequences. Monitor and follow through. They need to know you’ve got their back.

Talk about what matters to them. Keep communication open by talking about what matters to them. The teenage years are filled with unknowns and curiosities. The world’s a scary place, but it’s also a place of possibilities and wonder. Make sure they know they are a priority by making time for them. Research confirms that eating dinner together as a family is one of the most important influences on the positive development of teens. This simple family activity is a strong predictor of positive adolescent development.

Know their friends. If you want to strengthen the bond with your teen, be their parent, not their friend. Parenting is not a popularity contest. However, you do need to know who your teen’s friends are, what they do, what they’re interested in, where they hang out, and what activities they are engaged in. Monitor and verify this information. You are not being invasive. You are being a responsible, proactive, caring parent.

The teenage years are not a time to stick your head in the sand. Be a parent, not an ostrich. This is the time to step it up, not step away.  If you’re sensing red flags, listen to those warnings. Do not put your head in the sand hoping things will be okay. You must be vigilant, consistent, present and most of all, realistic. Listen to your ‘parental gut’ instinct. It will never lie you. If you need to take action, do so. Be the safeguard your teen can count on.

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