These are just a few gentle reminders on staying connected to your teen. As they enter adolescent, parents are no longer the center of their universe and we often need to adjust our approach.

DO…

  • Do connect with your teen each day.
  • Do expect parenting to be difficult.
  • Do be honest and direct with your teen.
  • Do practice active & reflective listening.
    • Listen as much as you speak.
    • Ask your child if they want feedback.
    • Use “I feel” statements.
  • Do parent! But choose your battles.
  • Do set limits and hold your boundaries.
  • Do show your teen support.
  • Do be consistent with your family values.
  • Do be flexible and keep a sense of humor.
  • Do acknowledge positive actions.
  • Do stop, be present, and listen when your child talks to you.
  • Do apologize if you are wrong.
  • Do know your child’s friends and their parents.
  • Do find shared interests whether it is baking together, taking a walk, watching a movie or going shopping.
  • Do connect over a television series that you watch together each week or try a game night.
  • Do have family dinners. This can be challenging with conflicting schedules but make it a priority a few times a week.
  • Do carpool can be a great way to talk to your child as well as a way to get to know their friends.
  • Do limit screen time for the whole family (parents included) in the evenings so that everyone makes more of an effort to connect.

DON’T…

  • Don’t make promises you cannot keep.
  • Don’t guilt trip. It will only hurt your relationships with your teen.
  • Don’t apologize for parenting.
  • Don’t try to be your child’s friend. They need you to be their parent.
  • Don’t feel guilty when you must say no.
  • Don’t accept disrespect.
  • Don’t expect your kids to always like you or appreciate you.
  • Don’t try to control everything.
  • Don’t try to have serious conversations first thing in the morning or right before bed.
  • Don’t give consequences for negative behavior that you don’t plan to follow through with.

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