Parent Tips: Do's and Dont's for Parents of Teenagers

DO . . .
  • Acknowledge appropriate or desirable behavior with praise or rewards.
  • Model the type of behavior you want from your teenager. If you want honest expressions of feelings, you must do the same.
  • Be consistent with rule setting.
  • Acknowledge your mistakes. Your teen needs to know that you recognize that you make mistakes and are willing to take responsibility or them.
  • Regularly ask your teenager how her day was and how she is feeling. It will open up communication and let her know that you are available to listen when she is having a problem, or when things are going great!
  • Use "active listening" with your teenager. Pay careful attention to the emotion behind the message and try to determine what your teenager said by rephrasing it into your own words.
  • Give undivided attention when your teenager wants you.
  • Compliment your child when he makes an effort to look nice and take pride in his appearance.
DON’T . . .
  • Criticize every little thing your teenager does "wrong." Remember that everyone makes mistakes and that your child does "good" things sometimes, too.
  • Say one thing and do another (i.e., you are not teaching honesty, when you say "If that’s ______ at the door/on the phone, say I’m not home.")
  • Change your mind several times about rules. If you are inconsistent, your teenager will learn how to easily manipulate you.
  • Ignore or deny your mistakes. Your teenager will recognize this behavior and may model himself after it. Also, it encourages lack of responsibility.
  • Ignore your teenager’s moods. Although teenagers are moody by nature, ignoring any behavior associated with moodiness, withdrawing, or major changes in behavior may be ignoring a significant problem in the life of your teenager.


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