Calling all Parents of Teens
So, this week, I was approached by the Partnership for a Drug Free America to be a guest blogger on their site. I will be submitting four articles about “decoding teen behavior” or something along those lines. Basically, they want my take on what makes teens tick and how we can parent them better.
I have taught teens for a number of years and I have a young one of my own, but I’d love to go into this guest blogging thing with a little backup from my peeps. If you have teens or adult children, I need your help.
What from ScreamFree has been helpful to you as you’ve parented your teens? Have their been some principles that have really made a difference to you? What is the best advice you’ve heard about teens and drinking or drug use? What kinds of things would you like to see someone in my position address?
I’ve already written one and I’ll share it with you soon. But I know that there is strength in numbers. If you know someone who might have some insight, send them a link to this. Let’s see what we can come up with together for the sake of all of our kids.
5 thoughts on “Calling all Parents of Teens”
I started talking to my boys when they were entering middle school about various issues of sex, drugs, alcohol etc. I often share stories I hear either from friends or on the news and since it’s in 3rd person there is no lecture or emotions. It has always opened communications and dialogue. Also, I am realistic and convey that I expect they will be in situations where these things occur so I expect them to have a plan on how they would deal with it and get out. ie. if they see their best friend smoking, what would they do and how would they handle it.
Drugs and alcohol are no different than any risky behavior, and the same rules apply: connect with your teen, love them, and express concerns when you have them, without asking questions. “I am thinking that there might be drinking at the party you want to go to tonight, and I’m concerned about that.” The answer I got? “Don’t worry, Mom. The worst thing that would happen is that I’ll do something a little out of my comfort zone, and I won’t do anything stupid.” It’s tough out there, and tougher inside, being a parent managing my own discomfort. Parenting, for me, feels transformational – an invitation to model being balanced, and calm, and loving. Bring it on!
I don’t think this is in the book but Hal says the three most important words you can say to your child is “tell me more”. I think this is crucial in the teen years. We want them to come to us and if we don’t freak out but, instead, listen…we will gain their trust and build relationships.
Brilliant Jennifer – thanks for the input!
When dealing with a teen the most important thing to remember, and the hardest thing to do, is to keep your cool. There was something in the scream free book about most kids want a cool parent. And that doesn’t mean a parent who dresses cool or speaks like a teen, it means a parent who they can come to about anything and the parent won’t blow up. Friendships for teens are volatile. They spend all day navagating the waters of teen friendships where trust is hard to comeby and what is being said is often mean and reactions are often blown out of proportion. When your teen speaks to you, they NEED calm consistency. Or they won’t come to you anymore because it is just too much to deal with.