Read these 23 Raising Teens Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Single Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.
According to the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, family dinners are VERY important. Teen surveys conducted by CASA in 1998, 1999, and 2000, showed that the more often a teen eats dinner with the family, the less likely that teen is to smoke, drink, or use illicit drugs.
Make sure your teen is getting enough sleep. To be fully alert the next day, they need 8-9 hours of sleep. Most high school and college age kids average only about 6 hours a night; many even less. This has a major impact on their academic performance, athletic abilities, and emotions.
When your teenager does a good job, provide some type of reward. Ask your teen for a list of rewards they would like, (something more realistic than a new car). Some possible rewards: going to the mall or the latest box office movie with friends, staying up a hour past bedtime or granting an extra hour on their curfew, extra driving privileges, concert tickets, etc. Discuss the list with your teen and then agree on appropriate rewards for successful completion of certain activities. While money is always nice, sometimes extra privileges and perks means more, which is nice for you if you happen to be running low on funds. The goal is to encourage good behavior and it is more likely to be repeated.
If you have an adolescent who has just come to live with you after having spent time living with the other parent, you will probably encounter some discipline problems. The first thing you need to do is decide who is boss in your home. Regardless of their age, if they want to live with you, they need to show respect and abide by the rules of your home. Decide what you feel the rules should be regarding curfew, household duties, etc. Then sit down with your child and talk about any problems. Explain how much you love your child and that you are very glad they have come to live with you. However, this is your home and there are certain restrictions that need to adhered to in order to make life easier for both of you.
Information taken from article at http://alcoholism.about.com/health/alcoholism.
The findings of a recent study at Columbia University “show that a personal sense of spirituality helps adolescents avoid alcohol and drug use and abuse. Unlike adults in Alcoholics Anonymous, adolescents in this study were shown not to be helped by a rigid or forced adherence to religion. In other words, religion forced upon adolescents by their parents or others has little effect, but if teens have made a personal choice to pursue a spiritual life, they are much less likely to drink and do drugs.”
It is not unreasonable for you to expect your teen to assist with household chores such as laundry, helping prepare meals or cleaning up, tidying their room, changing the sheets on their bed, cleaning up their messes, etc. Enlist the help of your teen in household chores. They will learn an early lesson in becoming responsible and taking care of their needs. Your future son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws will appreciate it.
Alcohol is the number one drug used by children and teens and poses the greatest threat to their well-being. Alcohol significantly alters a person's judgment and many teens find themselves doing things while drinking they otherwise would not do. This includes driving while intoxicated, engaging in risky sexual behavior, and trying other drugs. Take steps now to help your teen avoid this deadly drug.
Try not to play the heavy hand, but do exercise a consistent, firm hand in dealing with a child who has just come to live with you. Sit down together and talk about your expectations. Work together in establishing curfews, night out restrictions, etc. that you both can live with, and secure her agreement on fulfilling those expectations. If your child feels he/she cannot abide by those restrictions, then he/she is welcome to go back to live with their father.
After your evening meal, get in the habit of taking evening walks and having good heart-to-heart talks. (The younger they are when you start this, the less suspicious they will be.) If they don't want to share what's going on in their life, you can encourage them by talking about some things going on in your life or that you may have gone through when you were their age. Try to draw them out if you can but don't push. Use this time to encourage and provide guidance for your child, not lecture and scold.
For many teens, symptoms of depression are a reflection of troubles in the family. When parents are struggling over marital or career problems, teens may feel the tension and try to distract their parents. One powerful option that teens possess is to blatantly express severe depressive or suicidal feelings; they do this so the parents can clearly see that they are still needed in their primary role as parents. Teen-agers may be trying to help their parents in the only way they know how.
(Innoculating Against Depression by Richard Louv Senior Editor)
Talk to your teen about the good things in your life, and how you are working to make things better. Do not overload your teen with details on all your problems. They will face adult problems soon enough, don't overload their minds with them now. Many parents who have lost control of their kids did so by not spending quality time bonding with their kids and making them feel special. Find time daily to spend talking with your teen and let them know you are there for them and how very special they are. You will help build their self-esteem immensely.
A recent study by Columbia's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), found that America has an epidemic of underage drinking. Many children begin drinking as early as middle school and by the time they graduate from high school, as many as 80% have tried alcohol. Alcohol is a poison to many cells in our bodies, particularly in the brain, heart, and liver. Parents must get involved in their children's lives by asking tough questions and discussing tough topics such as self-esteem and self worth, finding healthy ways to express themselves, etc.
Parents should not rely on a teen's affirmation that everything is fine. Teens often use disguises or masks to hide their underlying feelings. The mask of success can be particularly misleading. Overachievers rarely express their genuine feelings, especially anger. They are driven to succeed and try fiercely to be independent. But they are actually very dependent on outside accomplishments to justify their existence. The most important message a parent can send to an overachieving teen is: "I know you are human and struggling just like everyone."
A recent study was published in the September issues of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry advocating that spirituality is important to children in helping them avoid alcohol and drug abuse. A key to helping your child develop spiritually is to find a church to attend WITH your child that teaches about having an “active personal relationship” with God. Caution: Spiritual food is needed on a daily basis, it is not a one-time thing. Just as we feed our bodies daily to keep from being malnourished, our spiritual body needs daily food to keep it healthy.
Alcohol is a contributing factor in the top three causes of death among teens: accidents, homicide, and suicide. Peer pressure is a strong influence as adolescents struggle to find acceptance. Many teens state they give in to peer pressure because they have low self esteem, and to curiosity because they are bored. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance and alcoholism destroys lives. Do not let this happen to your teen. Get involved in your child's life at a young age and stay connected with them before it is too late.
The effects of alcohol are magnified on a body that is sleep deprived. One drink taken with only five and a half hours of sleep has the same effect as six drinks would have on eight hours of sleep. This combination can be deadly for your teen if they are also behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Information taken from article at http://alcoholism.about.com/health/alcoholism.
Dr. Lisa Miller states “Alcoholism, in addition to being a biological disorder, is a spiritual disorder. Adolescents who claim to have a personal relationship with the Divine are only half as likely to become alcoholics or drug addicts, or for that matter even to try contraband drugs (marijuana and cocaine). This is particularly important because onset of alcoholism and drug addiction usually occurs in adolescents.” A study of 675 adolescents aged 15 to 19 at Columbia University, showed that “teens with a higher degree of personal devotion, personal conservatism, and institutional conservatism were less likely to engage in alcohol consumption and less likely to engage in marijuana or cocaine use.”
Information taken from above named article at http://alcoholism.about.com/health/alcoholism. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Teens who have an active spiritual life are half as likely to become alcoholics or drug addicts or even try illegal drugs than those who have no religious beliefs or training. Previous studies have indicated that being spiritual or religious may help persons recovering from substance abuse overcome their additions alter in life, but this new study suggests that adolescents are much less likely to ever develop those problems if they have a spiritual foundation when they are young.”
A study by the University of Michigan in 1999 revealed that teens who participated in religious activities were reported to have a higher self-esteem than those who don't, according to the Associated Press (AP) report. The survey was given to 1261 eight-graders of which 570 were males, 691 females with 1,011 considered to be white and 260 black. The survey asked participants how involved they were in religious activities and the ones reporting the highest self-esteem were those involved who rated themselves as being very religious. Rebecca Nolan, one of the psychologist conducting the study, stated “At the eighth grade, their parents' opinion and the effect of their religious training tends to give them an edge over kids who do not have this foundation.”