How to Handle Your Teenager

How to Handle Your Teenager

You know how your sweet talkative child hit their teen years and suddenly stopped talking to you about everything (or anything)?

That’s totally normal. But it doesn't make it any less confusing or frustrating for you as a parent.

Today we’re talking about:

  • Why teens stop talking to their parents
  • How to manage teen behavior when counting doesn’t work anymore
  • The four big risks parents should plan to manage

How to Manage Teen Behavior

Generally, we recommend using counting from the 1-2-3 Magic program for children ages 2 - 12. So what do you do once your child hits 13? At this point they are looking for more independence, and they are looking to be treated as an adult. Change your strategy to make them feel more mature, and also continuing to maintain who is in charge at your house.

Rather than counting and time outs, one thing you can do is switch to tiered sets of consequences. Plan out consequences for minor, medium, and major offenses ahead of time and apply those consistently. Consequences might include a fine, grounding, "community service" (either in the community or around the house), and more.

Four Big Risks

As teenagers are pushing boundaries and looking for more independence as they grow into adulthood, there are going to be four major risk areas that you want to be aware of and plan to manage as a parent. 

  1. Driving - driving feels like freedom as a teenager. It is also a big responsibility that not all teenagers take seriously.
  2. Drugs and alcohol - whether because it makes them feel more grown-up, because they're curious, or because of peer pressure, the teen years are when many people first experiment with drugs and alcohol.
  3. Sex and relationships - teenage hormones are a funny thing and the teen years are when many people are getting their introduction to sex and relationships.
  4. Technology - a lot of teenagers have access to the world in their pocket via their smartphone, but there are a lot of risks associated with too much screen time, and with what they might be doing on their phones.

Each of these risks is very manageable, and the better you have done with Parent Job #3 (building a strong relationship) the easier these will be to manage. Open, honest conversations with your teen, along with clear, firm rules will go a long way toward keep your teen connected and safe while allowing them to grow into adulthood.

June 11, 2021
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