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Parenting Teenagers


1.    The frontal lobes of their brains are not fully formed, so they assess risk haphazardly.

They need adults who will push them to link their choices with consequences

2.    They want respect, so they need language such as,

-    “Does that sound fair? Is that a good deal?”
-    “What if” questions
-     Opportunity to write their own rules, keep a curfew etc.

3.    They don’t always read the situation well.

Often good kids hang around when they should get out of a situation. Street-smart kids smell the trouble.

So they need adults who will give them street-smarts. 

-    Walk through with your children how to read the signs
-    Give them the language for saying “no”
-    Give them a mechanism to get out of a situation when things are turning to custard e.g. a code they use with you when they text or call you

4.    They will become more self assured as they get older.

At 14 they are the most oppositional and yet most insecure about their peers’ view of them. They think that the world has a telescope focused the wrong way on them.

Often girls who get into trouble have dads who were passive. It’s as if they are pushing their dads to see if they will fight for them or stand up to them.

So they need adults who are prepared to be the ‘big people’.
-    Keep calm when they are oppositional
-    Set boundaries but involve them in the process
-    Help them to “be their own boss”