Parents often worry when their kids hit teenage years. It is only natural for teens to begin finding out who they are at this time in their lives. Some do get into friendships that might not be good for them. The best advice for parents is to always try to have an open relationship with their teens.
If your teen is acting out with angry outbursts, swearing, becoming more secretive and indulging in risky behaviors, the parents or adults in charge should take action. First, learn to be quiet and let the teen vent their frustrations. Often, teens appear angry when they are feeling deeply insecure and vulnerable.
Parents can learn how to engage their teens in those more important talks and subjects, but this typically doesn’t happen overnight. Parents need to stay consistent to see results down the road. Teen health has a direct link to some of their family home dynamics and issues. When parents can honestly sit and listen to their growing into adulthood teens, they are allowing their child to know that they are respected by their parents, and also that their parents really do care about them.
Some of today’s top teen experts in family dynamics and therapies have valuable advice for parents of teenagers. Many base their insights on time evaluating teenagers in a residential drug detox program setting, as heavy drug and alcohol use by youth is a sign of trouble at home. Some of the better ones are listed below:
- Make time for your teenager
- Learn to really listen without judgment or butting in before the teen finishes his/her lines
- Plan fun family events often
- Get to know their friends without being overly protected
- With more than one child, parents need to schedule alone time with all
- Take up a new hobby or fun activity with your teenager
- Take time to learn about your teen’s current interests
- Model good behavior, as this teaches future parenting lessons
- Engage others for assistance like a grandmother figure, an approachable therapist or friends at church
- Bring friends of your teens along for some fun adventures like camping out, going to an amusement park or riding bikes to some interesting local attractions
- Always ensure that you tell your teen how they are loved by you
- It is alright to be mad about a behavior, but never use words that can attack the teen making them feel even more isolated and unloved
Both parents should act as a unit when dealing with their children. This is especially true for teens. It is natural for one kid to pit one parent against the other. Even in divorce situations, parents should be on the same team rather than adversaries. This is important when it comes to diet. Growing teens need to eat lots of healthy foods to maintain the fuel necessary for brain function and overall health benefits. Cook lower-fat meals, decrease sugars, fats and bleached grains. While the occasional fast food burger and order of french fries are perfectly okay for a teenager to eat – in fact the freedom to consume junk food of their choosing is a rite of passage for teens – such foods shouldn’t be a daily routine.
All growing teens need more rest, and requiring that their phones, televisions and music should be off can aid sleep too while avoiding having unneeded electronic elements in the room. Some prominent studies show this can be harmful. Parents should discuss limiting their teen’s activities if the teen seems overwhelmed. Discussed this with the teen first. If your teen is gaining too much weight, refrain from nagging. Encourage healthy activities doing things the teen really enjoys. Exercising releases endorphins that cause happy feelings and relaxation.
Teen health will always be a game of inches, determined in part by the fact teenagers are people in the process of growing. They are learning how to be the people they will be entering adulthood, shedding their childish whims to embrace more mature aspects of the human condition. Parents of teens have to be willing to understand this and act accordingly.
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