Positive parenting for your teens | #parenting

This is a time of changes for how teenagers think, feel, and interact with others, and how their bodies grow. During this time, your teen is developing his unique personality and opinions. Relationships with friends are still important, yet your teen will have other interests as he develops a more clear sense of who he is. Talk with your teen about their concerns and pay attention to any changes in their behavior. Ask them if they have had suicidal thoughts, particularly if they look sad or depressed. Asking about suicidal thoughts will not cause them to have these thoughts, but it will let them know that you care about how they feel.

Seek professional help if necessary. Show interest in your teen’s school and extracurricular interests and activities and encourage him to become involved in activities such as sports, music, theater, and art. Encourage your teen to volunteer and become involved in civic activities in their community.

Compliment your teen and celebrate his efforts and accomplishments. Show affection for your teen and spend time together doing things you enjoy. Respect your teen’s opinion. Listen to her without playing down her concerns. Create opportunities for him to use his own judgment, and be available for advice and support.

If your teen engages in interactive internet media such as games, chat rooms, and instant messaging, encourage her to make good decisions about what she posts and the amount of time she spends on these activities.Talk with your teen and help them plan ahead for difficult or uncomfortable situations. Discuss what he can do if he is in a group and someone is using drugs or under pressure to have sex, or is offered a ride by someone who has been drinking.Respect your teen’s need for privacy.

Safety first

Talk with your teen about the dangers of driving and how to be safe on the road. You can steer your teen in the right direction. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death from unintentional injury among teens, yet few teens take measures to reduce their risk of injury. Remind your teen to wear a helmet when riding a bike, motorcycle, or all-terrain vehicle. Unintentional injuries resulting from participation in sports and other activities are common.

Talk with your teen about suicide and pay attention to warning signs. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth 15 through 24 years of age. Talk with your teen about the dangers of drugs, drinking, smoking, and risky sexual activity. Ask him what he knows and thinks about these issues, and share your feelings with him. Listen to what he says and answer his questions honestly and directly.

Discuss with your teen the importance of choosing friends who do not act in dangerous or unhealthy ways. Know where your teen is and whether a responsible adult is present. Make plans with her for when she will call you, where you can find her, and what time you expect her home.

Healthy bodies

Encourage your teen to get enough sleep and physical activity, and to eat healthy, balanced meals. Make sure your teen gets 1 hour or more of physical activity each day. Keep television sets out of your teen’s bedroom. Set limits for screen time, including cell phones, computers, video games, and other devices and develop a family media plan.external icon.

Encourage your teen to have meals with the family. Eating together will help your teen make better choices about the foods she eats, promote healthy weight, and give family members time to talk with each other. In addition, a teen who eats meals with the family is more likely to get better grades and less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs, and also less likely to get into fights, think about suicide, or engage in sexual activity. Make sure your child gets the recommended amount of sleep each night.

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