Manage your emotions. Our emotional reactions sometimes send signals we don’t intend: fear and worry can look an awful lot like anger, for instance. Take a cooling down period if you need one, and don’t be afraid to say so: I’m a little too upset to talk about this right now, let’s have this conversation in the morning when I drive you to school.
Set an expectation of honesty with your teen or young adult, and remain open to hearing information that may not please you. The only other options are snooping or speculating, so asking your teen when you have a question (or suspicion) is almost always the best course of action. Get help addressing sensitive topics. >
Tip of the Day March 28
Talk to other parents. Don’t be disadvantaged in your parenting by not having your daughter’s best friend’s mother’s cell phone number. As our kids get older, the hours they spend away from us grow longer. Build your network of interested and attentive adults so that you have allies to reinforce positive behaviors and address those that are not so positive.
Tip of the Day March 27
Pay attention to your kids’ relationships outside of the home. What’s her tone of voice when she speaks to her friends? Is he a follower or the leader among his teammates? Has her style of dress changed since she met her new best friend? All of these things are cues to who your kid is when they are out in the world without you and may tell you how much your values are actually taking root.
Tip of the Day March 26
Be patient. While it would be wonderful if our kids got everything right the first time (rules, schoolwork, chores, etc.), they seldom do. Your expectations should keep pace with what is realistic and appropriate for them developmentally. Visit our Ages & Stages section for a guide.>
Tip of the Day March 25
Sometimes it can be more than apparent why you had to take a disciplinary action, but it doesn’t hurt to spell it out, even with your teenagers. I specifically forbade you to return with the car after dark because you’re not an experienced enough driver yet and I don’t want you to get hurt, or to hurt someone else. You’re not allowed to drive at all for the next two weeks, because you need to consider it a limited privilege until you’re at least eighteen.
Tip of the Day March 24
If you’re trying to build your child’s self-esteem, telling them they did a great job when they didn’t can do more harm than good – not only will they see right through it and begin to distrust your word, they will fear that they aren’t capable of doing better.
Tip of the Day March 22
Use the word ‘no’ appropriately. If you mean ‘maybe’ then say so. A ‘no’ followed by a ‘yes’ later sends the wrong message and may give your kids a sense of entitlement or diminish their ability to forgo things they want, even when it’s not what they need.
Tip of the Day March 21
If you’re exhausted from managing your career and your household, take a break by letting the kids make the plans once in a while for where to go and what activities you might try as a family. Give them parameters and help them execute the plan, but turn over the reins to help them build self-assurance.