• Raising Great Teens


    Your teen still needs you more than ever

    Althoughit may seem like your teen doesn't need you anymore, children at thisage actually need their parents more than ever. And although it mayseem like he isn't listening to what you say, teens do consider theirparents' actions, opinions and values when making decisions forthemselves. Life gets busier as children get older, and your teenprobably spends most of his time outside of school with friends ortalking to friends. Although these friendships are important, it isalso important to talk and listen to your teen and spend time togetheras a family.

    How to build a good relationship with your teen

    • Be actively interested in your teen's life. Eventhough your child no longer needs you to arrange her get-togethers withfriends, you should still know who her friends are and make an effortto meet their parents. Your teen may be responsible, but you shouldstill know where she is, what she is doing, and who she is with.
    • Talk with your teen, not at him. Tryto avoid arguing with your teen, because as both of you get moreemotional, you will be less likely to listen to the other person andmore likely to say something you don't mean. If you need to, take atime out from the conversation and come back to it when you both arecalm. Try to listen to your teen's emotions and his point of view.Remember that things have changed from when you were a teen.
    • Share things with your teen. Yourteen is old enough to understand what is going on in the world aroundher. Take your teen to work with you for a day to see what the realworld is like. Talk to her about what she thinks she might want to doafter high school and encourage her to explore this by taking on anafter school job. Let your child know of stressful circumstances, suchas if things are tight financially for your family right now. Childrensee and hear more than we think. Discuss things in the news with yourteen.
    • Schedule in family time. Makesure to schedule some one-on-one time with your teen. Although everyonehas busy schedules, take advantage of the short times you have hisundivided attention, such as when you both are in the car together, toask him about school or friends. Even though your teen may be too oldfor a bedtime story, take a few minutes to sit in his room when you goin to say goodnight and talk about things. Family dinners areimportant, even when your child is a teenager, so try to make sure youeat together as often as possible, and away from the television! Findan activity that you both can enjoy together, from going to the gym towatching the news together for a half hour every night.
    Thisinformation was compiled by Sunindia Bhalla, One Tough Job Manager, andreviewed by the Program Staff of the Massachusetts Childrens TrustFund.