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Speaking Their Language

Keep the lines of communication open by:

  1. Take an active interest in your teenager’s friends, activities, and opinions. Make their friends feel welcome.
  2. Respect areas of privacy by not prying, opening mail, eavesdropping on phone conversations, etc. (However, parents should know where their children are and what they’re doing.)
  3. Clearly express your own values in important areas like sex, drugs, money, and religion. Teenagers need parents with firm convictions, not ones who harp on them continuously.
  4. Listen carefully not only to what teenagers say, but to what is really meant. Respect their opinions knowing they may change.

Good parent/child relations are dependent upon these principles:

  1. Establish Rules and Expectations – Parents should clearly state rules on hours to come home, homework, chores, family, and other responsibilities.
  2. Realize Need for Independence and Individuality – Making decisions, and some mistakes, is essential in growing up.
  3. Be Flexible – Adolescents see things from a different slant. In turn, parents may need to rethink their own behavioral patterns.
  4. Avoid Needless Criticism – Since adolescents are not yet sure about themselves, overt criticism can be destructive.
  5. Offer Support – Parents must express trust and confidence that the adolescent is a good person whose judgment can be sound.
  6. Give Love and Affection – They may not show it, but teens still need parental affection and approval.

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