By: MIT Work-Life Center
Parents play an essential role in their children’s health and development. The tools parents can use to support healthy teen development are not “one size fits all”. The MIT website recognizes this and offers five basic strategies parents can use for parenting teens that will fit their unique family, culture, and teenager.
The strategies include:
- Continue to express love, support, and respect for your teen. Don’t just think it, say it to your teen as often as possible. Many aspects of a teen’s world are changing, but a parent’s love and support should not be one of them.
- Continue to monitor a teen’s activities, including school progress through grades and behavior, involvement in school activities, mental health, peer groups, social media use and accounts, and friendships.
- Continue to provide limits and guidance. The difference in setting limits for a teenager is that conversations should now include an explanation of why a rule exists and allow teens a chance to respectfully negotiate rules. Negotiation should be expected and welcome – this is the time teens’ brains are rapidly learning how to think rationally. Practicing with you is safe and prepares them for the decisions they will need to make when you are not around.
- Continue to act as a role model for behavior by setting a good example. Respectfully express personal social, political, and moral opinions. Model respectful dialogue by being willing to open to your teen having different points of view.
- Continue to advocate and provide for your teen by making their healthcare appointments or chaperoning them. Encourage them to talk with their healthcare provider (or teacher, coach, church elders, and others in their social network) alone so they can build skills for navigating discussions with people in positions of authority. Surround them with a network of trusted adults.
For more information about these five strategies to successfully raise teenagers, check out the website!