Consistency is key. Make sure your child knows, understands and accepts your expectations of him or her. If you let your child know what you expect, they are more likely to fulfill those expectations. Do not assume, instead articulate.
Emphasize the sanctuary of home. Teach your child that keeping home a safe and peaceful place is a priority. Make a point to do things so your child wants to come home. It has been determined time and time again that in homes where there is a regular family dinner, teens are present more.
Do not set up a structure in the life of your teen where you do everything for them. Building competence builds self esteem. Feeling good about oneself is a key factor in the foundation of healthy emotional patterns.
Always be an advocate for your child. Remember that in the big picture of life, your teen is very young. Their perception of themselves is often very different than your perception of them.
Find the line between being your child’s “friend” and their parent. As our children get older, our relationship sometimes turns very friend like on one level. That is a wonderful thing but it is always important to keep in mind that you are their parent first and foremost.
Share some of yourself as a teen with your child. Sometimes our children do not see us as once young. Let your child see different sides of you and it will enrich your relationship tremendously.
Do not be afraid to seek outside help if your child is regularly challenging all of your limits and things feel out of control. Support for you and for them at this time can often really turn things around.
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