Categories ParentingTeenagers

Teaching your teens

Adolescence can be a confusing time of change for teens and parents alike. To nurture your teen and encourage responsible behaviour, there is the need to understand parenting skills to guide your teen

Give kids some leeway

Giving teens a chance to establish their own identity, giving them more independence, is essential to helping them establish their own place in the world.

Show your love

According to, one of the most important parenting skills needed for raising healthy teens involves positive attention. Spend time with your teen to show him or her that you care. Listen to your teen when he or she talks, and respect your teen’s feelings. Also, keep in mind that only reprimanding your teen and never giving him or her any justified praise can prove demoralising. For every time you discipline or correct your teen, try to compliment him or her twice.

Minimise pressure

Don’t pressure your teen to be like you were or wish you had been at his or her age. Give your teen some leeway when it comes to clothing and hairstyles.

Set limits

To encourage your teen to behave well, discuss what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable at home, at school and elsewhere. Create consequences for how your teen behaves. When setting limits avoid ultimatums as your teen might interpret that as a challenge. Also, be prepared to explain your decisions. Your teen might be more likely to comply with a rule when he or she understands its purpose.

Prioritise rules

While it’s important to consistently enforce your rules, you can occasionally make exceptions when it comes to matters such as homework habits, TV watching and bedtime. Prioritising rules will give you and your teen a chance to practise negotiating and compromising. Before negotiating, however, consider how far you are willing to bend. Don’t negotiate when it comes to restrictions imposed for your teen’s safety, such as substance abuse, sexual activity and reckless driving.

Enforce consequences

Enforcing consequences can be tough. Being too lenient might send the message that you don’t take your teen’s behaviour seriously, while being too harsh can cause resentment. Calmly explain the unacceptable behaviour and the consequences. Be consistent when you enforce limits. Whatever disciplinary tactic you choose, relate the consequences to the broken rule and deliver them immediately. Limit punishments to a few hours or days to make them most effective.

Set a positive example

Remember, teens learn how to behave by watching their parents. Your actions generally speak louder than your words. Set a positive example and your teen will likely follow your lead.

Invite their friends for dinner

It helps to meet kids you have questions about. You are not flat-out rejecting them, you are at least making an overture. When kids see them, see how their friends act with their parents, they can get a better sense of those friends. If you flatly say, ‘you can’t go out with those kids,’ it often can backfire —it just increases the antagonism.

Decide rules and discipline in advance

If it’s a two-parent family, it’s important for parents to have their own discussion, so they can come to some kind of agreement. Whether you ban them from driving for a week or a month, whether you ground them for a week, cut back on their allowance or Internet use, set it in advance. If the kid says it isn’t fair, then you have to agree on what is fair punishment. Then, follow through with the consequences.

Discuss checking in

Give teens age-appropriate autonomy, especially if they behave appropriately. But you need to know where they are. That’s part of responsible parenting. If it feels necessary, require them to call you during the evening, to check in. But that depends on the teen, how responsible they have been.

Talk to teens about risks

Whether its drugs, driving, or pre-marital sex, your kids need to know the worst that could happen.


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