- Listen, listen, listen. Find frequent time without the distractions of phones and television to hear what’s on your children’s minds.
- Find a mentor.Some teenagers don’t want to confide in their parents, so ensure that your kids have regular talks with other adults they trust.
- Know your kids’ friends well. Make sure you’re in constant contact with the parents of those friends. “Hi, I’m hanging out at Tyler’s house” invites fact-checking.
- Help teens develop a passion,even if it’s playing the drums loudly enough to shake the house. Spending eight hours a day alone playing video games or messaging unseen and unknown Internet “friends” doesn’t count.
- Push your kids to do community service. Teenagers enjoy giving to others, but they need encouragement.
- Don’t dismiss brooding or angeras “normal teenage angst” or “a phase,” and don’t write it off because you were moody yourself as a teen. It could be a sign that your child is struggling with depression or something else.
Tips from the Trenches
By The Editors / March / April 2005
August 10th, 2007