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Parenting Teens

Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 10, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Communication is Key with Your Teenager

Help Your Teens BigStockFatherSon2-300x201 Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance The teenage years of a child are one of the most troublesome times for a parent. During these years, most teens pull away from their parents to assert their independence. In addition, it is also when they’re setting boundaries, throwing tantrums, and doing exciting new things.

This development stage is where teens begin creating decisions that have real and life-long consequences. These things include making new friends, choosing schools, selecting vitamins that are essential for men and women their age, and learning how to drive. But, unfortunately, they are also susceptible to harmful activities like drinking alcohol, partying, substance use, and experimenting with sex.

However, this is a vulnerable time since they aren’t good at regulating their emotions yet. Hence, they’re prone to making impulsive decisions and taking unnecessary risks. That is why having a healthy and trusting relationship between you and your child is crucial during their teenage years.

Importance of Listening to Your Teen

You can achieve a positive relationship with your teen by improving the communication between the two of you. Besides, good communication starts with you knowing when to talk and especially how to listen. Hence, good listening skills are fundamental for building a relationship with your teenager.

Listening is more than just hearing the words your teen is saying. But it is tuning in to their thoughts and feelings. In addition, taking the time to listen to your teen shows that you are respecting their thoughts and opinions. Then, this will help in building trust between the two of you. Moreover, listening will allow you to understand and learn what is happening with your teen’s life.

When you’re listening, it lets your teen be the one talking. Talking helps your child to think more clearly. Furthermore, this situation will allow them to express their feelings and thoughts without any correction or judgment. That is why listening is a vital skill that every parent must have.

Practical Tips for Listening to Your Teen

One of the parents’ main concerns is thinking of “what is the right response” when talking with their teen. However, parents need to understand that most of the time, listening to your child is more important than what you have to say.

The following are five (5) practical tips to ensure that you truly hear your teenager and make sure that they know it.

Create a Safe Environment

Help Your Teens PexelsMomDaughter-300x200 Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance The first step you need is to create a safe environment for your teen to share their thoughts and feelings. It would help if you assured them that they could tell the truth and be honest in anything with you. Moreover, they should not fear any judgment, blame, or ridicule from you. However, it is most crucial that you stick to your promise and never break it.

Give Them Your Full Attention

When communicating with your teen, you must give all of your attention to them. By doing so, you will send a message that the most important thing right now is your teen. It also tells them that you are interested and available on what they’re saying, thinking, and feeling.

Turn off any appliances that may distract you from your child, including the television, radio, and speakers. Also, put down your phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices. Model the behavior that you would expect from your teen.

Don’t Interrupt Them

Listening to your teen means allowing them to talk without interruption. Avoid asking any questions or saying anything until they’re finished talking so that you wouldn’t break their train of thought. In addition, this will help you concentrate on what they are saying and identify if there are any hidden meanings with their words.

Display Positive Body Language

When communicating with your teen, displaying positive body language shows that you genuinely care about what they’re saying. You can do this by getting close when your teen is speaking, using eye contact to show that you are listening, nodding your head appropriately, and simply saying, “I see.”

When there is a pause, you can also ask them, “Then what happened?” or “And then?” Moreover, avoid sighing, eye-rolling, crossing your arms around your chest, and looking into the distance or over your shoulder.

Restate in Your Own Words What You Heard Them Say

Restating what your teen says is a crucial act of proving that you are paying attention to them. In addition, it tells them that you are trying to understand their story. Moreover, it assures your teen that you’re truly hearing them. Furthermore, if you restate their story incorrectly, it gives them the chance to re-explain it and avoid any misunderstanding between you two.

The Bottom Line

Staying close and having an open relationship with your teen may not be as easy when they were a child. Some teens are open books with their friends but mute as fish with their parents. If you want to find out what’s going on with your teen, learn how to communicate with them properly.

However, interrogating and grilling your teen is not the right way of achieving open communication with them, but an earnest back-and-forth conversation is. Good communication with your teen starts with good listening. Moreover, good communication with your teen is the core of having a healthy and nourishing relationship with them.

 

 

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How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 07, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Raising Responsible Teens in an Entitlement Generation

Help Your Teens EntitledTeen-300x199 How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation

Raising teenagers is not easy especially when they are expected everything handed to them. It seems we live in an entitlement generation.

It’s not uncommon to hear parents of teenagers bemoaning the lack of responsibility and maturity that their children exhibit. As kids get older and enter into the teenage years, it becomes more apparent that they’re actually approaching adulthood, whether they’re prepared for it or not.

Instilling a sense of responsibility in a teenager can be a very challenging prospect, but it can also help them to avoid succumbing to peer pressure or failing to learn important life skills as they grow into productive, capable adults.

Let Them Experience Natural Consequences

It’s normal to want to limit your teen’s exposure to disappointment, failure and hurt as she grows into an adult. However, shielding her from the natural consequences of her more irresponsible behavior will only make it more difficult for her to connect her choices to those consequences. While you certainly shouldn’t allow your child to behave recklessly or take dangerous risks without intervening, you also should think twice before stepping in to protect her from the inconvenience or even disappointment of making an irresponsible choice.

For instance, nagging and cajoling your teen to collect her laundry or pay her cell phone bill will probably only make her more likely to resist in an attempt to test boundaries and assert her independence. Allowing her phone to be shut off or her clothes to go unwashed as a result of her choice not to manage those tasks, however, can help her to understand the importance of managing her responsibilities.

Model Responsible Behavior

While a teenager may not show many signs of listening to what you say, you can be certain that she’s watching the things that you do. Demanding her to behave responsibly while allowing her to see you making decidedly irresponsible choices is not only ineffective, it can also be downright offensive to kids.

Taking a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to parenting doesn’t usually help your children gain the skills or learn the lessons that they need to learn, so be sure that you’re practicing what you preach when it comes to accepting responsibility and behaving accordingly.

Minimize Large, No-Strings-Attached Purchases

It’s become something of a rite of passage for teenagers to receive vehicles and other pricey objects as they come of age, but simply presenting them with such items without requiring that they take ownership for care and maintenance of them, or make any financial investment of their own, can cause your teen to feel as if she’s entitled to such grand gestures.

Helping your teen to purchase a car but insisting that she make part of the payments, purchasing a car outright but requiring her to pay for the insurance, and making sure that she alone is responsible for the care and upkeep of her things can help her learn more about how to be responsible and that she has to earn the things she wants rather than them just being given to her.

Help Your Teens parent-talking-to-teen-300x184 How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation Maintain an Open Line of Communication

When your teen knows that she can approach you with her problems, concerns or questions, she may be more likely to do just that. Part of being responsible is learning how to admit when you need help, and learning from the experiences she has along the way. Make sure that your child knows she can come to you when she’s feeling pressured or anxious so that she’ll be more likely to address her problems than to seek an irresponsible, escapist solution that could have far-reaching implications.

Make a Chore List

If your teen wasn’t responsible for keeping track of and completing a list of chores as a child, instituting a policy of doing just that after she reaches adolescence can be a struggle. Still, she needs to understand that there are tasks in life that must be completed, even if they’re distasteful or less than thrilling. Giving your teen a list of chores and some real-life, practical consequences that accompany her failure to complete them are two ways of helping her to gain responsibility through experience and consequences.

Help Your Teens FamilyDinner How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation Eat Dinner as a Family

In today’s busy world, sitting down to family dinners can seem like a major inconvenience. Studies at Emory University, The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and a white paper study by Dr. William J. Dougherty all show, however, that kids and teens that regularly share meals with their families have lower rates of obesity, higher academic performance, are less likely to develop or struggle with eating disorders, have higher self-esteem, and have lowered risks of depression, substance abuse and teen pregnancy than their peers whose families don’t share meals together. Preparing and sharing dinner as a family unit can help your child make more responsible choices and be more capable, productive and successful in adulthood.

Read more to help them learn about financial literacy.

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Gentle Ways To Give Your Teen Constructive Criticism

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 23, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Ways to Talk to Your Teen About Constructive Criticism

Help Your Teens UnSplashTeenCriticism-300x223 Gentle Ways To Give Your Teen Constructive Criticism One of the most important and challenging skills to learn as a parent is how to give your teen constructive criticism. Many parents struggle to find the fine line between being overly critical and being constructive with the feedback they give their teens.

Despite the discomfort that often comes with both providing and receiving feedback, it is an inevitable part of life. Learning how to give your teen constructive yet gentle criticism will help them foster a healthy relationship with criticism and maintain a healthy relationship with you.

Receiving constructive criticism is healthy for your teen

Constructive criticism not only provides your teen with an opportunity to improve but also builds their resilience. Throughout their lives, they will face countless criticisms–both constructive and destructive.

Receiving gentle feedback from you exposes them to a healthy form of criticism. It teaches them that feedback is not intended to put them down but to build them up into a better version of themselves. ‘It means you wholeheartedly believe in their ability to do better. Giving your teen constructive criticism the right way enables them to distinguish healthy and supportive feedback from criticism that is cruel and harmful,” says Marian Larson, a writer at Studydemic and Academized.

Create a safe space for your teen to receive feedback

Help Your Teens PexelTeenMomTalking-300x203 Gentle Ways To Give Your Teen Constructive Criticism Before assailing your teen with countless ways to improve, ensure you have cultivated a relationship that actually makes them feel safe to receive feedback from you.

Do you listen to them when they speak? Truly listen. With no judgment, but with the aim to understand them better.

Can they trust you to only give feedback with the intention to help them improve? Feedback that isn’t laced with shame or blame?

Do you talk to your teen or do you talk at them? Are your conversations a two-way street?

Criticizing your teen is easy and almost as natural as breathing to most parents, but the difficulty lies in convincing them to listen. Just like any other relationship, effective communication with your teen requires a two-way street. Building a healthy, loving relationship based on mutual respect and trust is necessary if you want your teen to listen to you.

Avoid shaming, overly criticizing, or comparing your teen to others

It can be difficult sometimes to recognize the difference between parenting and shaming, especially so if your own parents corrected your behavior this way growing up. “If shame-ridden and guilt-loaded criticism was the only style of behavior modification parenting used on you by your parents, it can even seem like the norm. This mentally harmful cycle should end with you,” explains Dana Wilson, a parenting blogger.

A general good rule of thumb is that constructive criticism addresses a specific behavior. Focus on the action that requires improvement instead of your teen’s character. Avoid shaming statements that accuse them of being something wrong as opposed to doing something wrong. There’s a difference between your teen being lazy and your teen not doing their chores as consistently as you would like them to. One is a character flaw, the other is a behavior that can be easily fixed.

Implying something is wrong with who they are could seriously damage your teen’s confidence and mental health. Instead, identify the behavior that you would like them to change, explain your reasoning for wanting the change, and clearly state what they can do to improve.

Another hurtful style of parenting to avoid is comparing your teen to someone else. It suggests that they are not good enough for you. This could breed harmful tendencies such as feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and self-loathing.

Frame mistakes as opportunities for personal growth

Define mistakes to your teen as opportunities to learn through experience. It’s what you do after a stumble that matters most, not the fact that you stumbled.

Criticism should be followed by affirmations of their positive traits to reassure your teen that they are more than their worst mistakes. This also reminds them of their capabilities and encourages them to do better.

Explore your own relationship with criticism

Do you speak to yourself with kindness and compassion after a mistake? Or are you overly critical and mean? Your relationship with yourself tends to determine your relationships with other people, including your teen. Modeling a healthy way of responding to constructive criticism can cause your teen to imitate your approach. Remember that you are your teen’s most influential role model, regardless of whether they like to admit it or not. So go easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can.

 Emily Henry is a writer and editor with a passion for healthy living. You can find her writing at Top Canadian Writers and Essay Writing Services, and her editing work at Assignment Help.

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Ways to Create a Healthy Interior Design for Your Teen

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 18, 2021  /   Posted in Mental Health, Parenting Teens

Redecorating Bedroom For Teens: When Teens And Parents Disagree

You love neutrals. Your daughter loves color with a capital C. How can you find common ground when redecorating your teenager’s bedroom?  Karen Rutman-Weiss, owner of Cleveland-based Karen Rutman-Weiss Interiors. offers some sound advice.

3 Tips for Redecorating a Teen’s Bedroom:

1. If it’s not permanent, let it go.

Help Your Teens UnSplashParentTeenPainting-300x211 Ways to Create a Healthy Interior Design for Your Teen “Remember, paint is just paint,” says Rutman-Weiss. “Compromise on the more permanent choices.” Like carpet. Look for a color that complements your teenager’s decorating scheme but also works with a toned-down palette for when she moves out.

Explaining your reasoning to your daughter and providing examples of some colors that might work for both you might help the conversation along. “For example, chocolate brown can look amazing with bright red or pinks, pale lavenders, greens, and blues,” she notes. “But it’s also lovely with sage, taupe and camel.”

2. Let your teenager pick her bedding and accessories.

Again, bedding and accessories (think pillows and throw rugs) don’t need to be a major expense. If your daughter’s leopard-spotted black and purple sheets are not your style, then send them off to college when she goes and replace them with more adult patterns after the big move.

3. Keep wall decor on the neater side.

“Consider poster frames, which look a bit more polished, or large bulletin boards covered in patterned fabric,” Rutman-Weiss recommends. “Wall decals are another inexpensive, nice-looking option for redecorating a bedroom.” All of these help minimize damage and contain what is being hung up, which will make things appear neater and more organized.

Most importantly, though, let the decorating process be a learning experience for your teen – one that encourages her to express her tastes and make lasting decisions. “Letting your teenager redecorate their bedroom and create the room of their dreams is a wonderful thing,” says Rutman-Weiss. If her tastes and yours totally diverge? Remember, you can always shut the door.

By Karen Rutman-Weiss, Your Teen for Parents

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Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need and How Parents Can Help

Posted by Sue Scheff on August 10, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond–and How Parents Can Help

A counselor and popular Washington Post contributor offers a new take on grades 6-8 as a distinct developmental phase–and the perfect time to set up kids to thrive.

 

By author Phyllis Fagell

Help Your Teens BookMiddleSchool-199x300 Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need and How Parents Can Help Middle school is its own important, distinct territory, and yet it’s either written off as an uncomfortable rite of passage or lumped in with other developmental phases. Based on her many years working in schools, professional counselor Phyllis Fagell sees these years instead as a critical stage that parents can’t afford to ignore (and though “middle school” includes different grades in various regions, Fagell maintains that the ages make more of a difference than the setting).

Though the transition from childhood to adolescence can be tough for kids, this time of rapid physical, intellectual, moral, social, and emotional change is a unique opportunity to proactively build character and confidence.

Fagell helps parents use the middle school years as a low-stakes training ground to teach kids the key skills they’ll need to thrive now and in the future, including making good friend choices, negotiating conflict, regulating their own emotions, be their own advocates, and more.

To answer parents’ most common questions and struggles with middle school-aged children, Fagell combines her professional and personal expertise with stories and advice from prominent psychologists, doctors, parents, educators, school professionals, and middle schoolers themselves.

Order your copy of Middle School Matters today from Amazon.

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Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 29, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens

Learn more about understanding teenage feelings

Help Your Teens UnSplashSadGirl-300x236 Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence There is a rough idea that managing and understanding emotions increase the human chances of success. So here are some of the science of emotional intelligence.

Thinking about feelings

Emotional intelligence starts with social and self-awareness, which is roughly the ability to recognize human emotions in oneself and others. Awareness begins with reflection, which leads to someone asking themselves about their emotional strengths and weaknesses.

For example, medical students use nursing assignment help to find their weaknesses when performing emotional resilience tasks. People also go a long way into asking how their mood affects their decision-making and thoughts. Having questions like those may generate valuable insights that can get utilized to someone’s advantage.

Pausing

It entails taking a moment to halt, and I think well before speaking or acting. The deed can assist you from embarrassing yourself or giving out comments quickly. It, therefore, helps you not to make a permanent decision while you have a temporary emotion.

 Striving to control thoughts

A slight moment may not give you enough room to control your emotions, but you can control how you react to such feelings, and that can get done by focusing only on your thoughts. If you strive to maintain your thoughts, you can resist being coming to a Messenger or a slave to your feelings and emotions, and that can allow you to live in harmony with yourself along with your values and goals.

Benefiting from criticism

Help Your Teens UnSplashHand-300x200 Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence There is no single person that enjoys getting negative feedback. But, on the other hand, criticism is a Golden chance for learning even if you don’t get it in the best way possible. It will also allow you to see how others think. So, instead of feeling bad when you get negative feedback, hold your emotions and ask yourself how you can make it better.

 Showing authenticity

To be authentic does not mean that you share everything concerning yourself with everyone. It means speaking out what you mean and telling whatever you say while sticking to your principles and values above anything else. Not everyone will come around to accept or appreciate your thoughts or feelings, but the people who matter will do it.

 Demonstrating empathy

Showing empathy includes understanding the feelings and thoughts of other people and understanding that can help find more that you have a deeper connection with other people. Instead of labeling and judging other people, you will work hard to see how they view things through their eyes. Of course, to be empathetic does not mean that you agree with other people’s points of view or perception. Still, understanding how they see things allows you to be more connected and build stronger relationships.

Praising others

All human beings are grateful for appreciation and acknowledgment. When you praise other people, you will satisfy their craving, and in the process, you will find yourself building trust. It all begins with focusing on the good that you see in others. Afterward, if you share what you appreciate in them, you’ll inspire them to become the best version that they can be.

Giving positive feedback

When you give negative feedback to people, they will get their feelings hurt and after you realize this, try reframing criticism as a constructive type of feedback so that the recipient can see it as a helpful thought instead of a harmful one.

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Teen Talk: Learning Teenage Love Language

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 23, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Discovering the Love Language of a Teenage Child

Teen Talk

Help Your Teens PexelTeenLanguage-300x203 Teen Talk: Learning Teenage Love Language Although teens need parents to express love with all five love languages, a
teenage child usually has a primary love language they prefer.

What is a Love Language?

The idea of “love languages” – the way that people “speak” or “express”
love to others and how they prefer love to be expressed to them. People need all
five love languages, but that everyone has preferences about the love languages
they like the most.

The love languages are divided into five basic categories:

● Words of Affirmation
● Quality Time
● Acts of Service
● Receiving Gifts
● Physical Touch

How to Discover the Love Language of a Teenage Child

Parents of teens who pinned their child’s primary love languages when the
child was younger will be happy to know that the love languages stay fairly
constant. Although the love language is still the same, parents may need to “speak
the language” slightly differently during the teen years.

For parents of teens who have not yet determined their child’s love
language, there are several ways to discover the primary love language of a
teenage child. Some websites offer free online quizzes for teenagers. Parents can
send a teenage child an e-mail with a link to a quiz that will reveal a teen’s
preferences for receiving love.

Parents can also casually observe a teen notice how a teen expresses love.
People often express love in a way they like to receive love. So if a teenager often
gives compliments to others or appreciates others with words, it’s a good clue that
the teen values words of affirmation as a preferred love language.

Examples of Applying the Love Languages for Parents
of Teens

Help Your Teens BigStockFatherSon2-300x201 Teen Talk: Learning Teenage Love Language Due to developmental changes in teens, parents may find that what worked
to express love to their child before the teen years may not work as well once their
children become adolescents. Parents may need to change their expression of the
love language of physical touch.

Although a child may have enjoyed and accepted hugs and kisses before
adolescence, teens may more appreciate high fives, elbows, and roughhousing.
Parents of teens can use the ideas below to better understand the expressions
of love that fit into the categories of the love languages, but parents should also
remember that teens are individuals and should take note of personal preferences
by their own children.

Words of Affirmation – “Thanks for mowing the grass.”, “Did you
know I love you no matter what?”, “I notice you’ve been working hard on that
school project”. Teens who appreciate words of affirmation usually like cards, e-
mails, or even a simple sticky note tucked in a backpack or planted in a bathroom
mirror.
Quality Time – Parents can set up a certain time each week to spend
quality time with a teenage child. Parents can also plop next to a teen who’s
watching television alone and simply “hang out” or be there. Family meals
or cooking dinner together are another way to spend quality time with a teen
throughout the week.
Acts of Service – A teenager who receives love through acts of service
will appreciate even the smallest of tasks. Even if a teen never makes her bed, it
will most likely be noticed and appreciated if a parent makes the bed for the teen.

Other small acts of service include serving a teen a simple breakfast in bed once a
month on a school day, assisting a bit when a teen cleans her room, washing a
teen’s car every once in a while.

Receiving Gifts – Gifts should be personal and reflect a teen’s
interests and needs. Extreme gifts aren’t necessary. Gifts can be small and
sometimes hand-made including an iTunes gift card for $5, a hand-made
personalized bookmark, a box of homemade favorite cookies, a photograph of a
special memory.
Physical Touch – Although some teens do still enjoy hugs and kisses
from parents, others don’t feel comfortable with such affection from parents. A pat
on the back, a touch on the shoulder, or a soft pat to the face may be more accepted
by teens. Games such as arm wrestling or a playful game of rough basketball are
other ideas for giving teens physical touch.

Parents of teens should also note that although a teenage child will have his
favorite love languages, teens still need a little of all of the love languages. Parents
should try to fit in a little bit of physical touch, acts of service, words of
affirmation, gifts, and quality time with teen daughters and sons on a routine
basis.

About the author: John J. Gregg is an experienced essay writer
where he provides students with an opportunity to get high grades.
Besides, He is fond of reading and playing the guitar. By the way, John dreams of
traveling a lot and visiting as many countries as possible.

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Teen Life Skills

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 01, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Helping Your Teens Hone Useful Skills for the Future

Help Your Teens UnSplashTeens-300x201 Teen Life Skills Every parent wants to see their teens succeed in life. That’s the biggest job of parenting, after all – raising someone who can eventually go out on their own and do good things in the world.

Sometimes, it can feel like teaching them how to be a good person is easier than teaching them how to be successful in a career.

You don’t have to come up with any grand schemes or techniques when it comes to helping your teen succeed. They might already have certain skills that can help them in the future. It’s just a matter of honing those skills and discovering their true passions.

How can you help your teenager do that? Why is it so important for them to become self-sufficient in the first place? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of useful skills and how they can positively impact your teens’ future.

Why Self-Sufficiency is Important

When you turn in a resume for a job, there are two different skill sets a potential employer will look at – hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills include specific talents and strengths as they pertain to a job, like computer skills, management skills, or marketing skills.

Soft skills have become more important in recent years as employers are looking for well-rounded individuals. Soft skills include things like:

  • Strong communication
  • Ethics
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving

Soft skills can help your teens to become more self-sufficient and emotionally intelligent. Those are incredible tools and characteristics to have in the working world. Almost anyone can learn a hard skill, but soft skills require time to build and grow. Some people naturally have more of them than others, but honing in on them will make it easier for your teenager to “leave the nest,” understand what others are thinking and feeling, and use their instincts to get a job done.

If you’re concerned that your teen doesn’t have many soft skills, they can be taught. Most people do have them but may not show them often. Find ways to encourage your teen to express themselves more frequently. Doing so can show them how important those skills are and how far they will get them.

Practical Skills Your Teen Should Know

Help Your Teens PexelsCookig-300x203 Teen Life Skills Encouraging your teen to develop their soft skills doesn’t mean the hard skills should be ignored! There are some practical things every teenager should know – not just for career success, but when it comes to self-sufficiency and being able to take care of themselves. Useful skills for the future aren’t just about work. Teaching your teens life skills will boost their confidence, reduce stress levels, help them set goals, and motivate them to learn more.

Start with some basic life skills you’re most comfortable with. Maybe you’re handy with car repairs. Teaching your teen some DIY car maintenance solutions like how to change their oil or fix a flat tire can go a long way.

Do you like to be in the kitchen? Cooking is an incredible skill that your teen can either use in their personal or professional life if they want to pursue it as a career.

Ask your teen what they’re interested in, too. Maybe they’ve always watched you doing things around the house or using your own skills for something and they want to try it for themselves. Life skills are about learning and taking on new challenges. Whatever you teach your teen  – whether it’s career-focused or not, make sure it’s something they will be able to utilize on their own for a lifetime.

Harnessing Your Teens’ Strengths

Teenagers (and adults) should always be willing to learn and grow. No matter how old you are, lifelong learning will teach you the skills needed to succeed and thrive in every area of your life. But, that doesn’t mean skills should ever be forced – especially as a teenager.

If you’re having a hard time helping your teen hone useful skills for the future, consider the things they already enjoy doing. How can their current strengths, hobbies, and interests better their future? Could they fuel a career? You might be surprised at how certain things your teens enjoy could actually help them become successful.

For example, if it seems like your teenager spends a lot of their time playing video games, you might assume they’re just being lazy. But, gaming skills can be extremely helpful in the real world. Video games can help with:

  • Collaboration
  • Problem-solving
  • Social skills
  • Strategic planning
  • Leadership
  • Conflict resolution

Talk to your teen about the things they enjoy most when they’re playing video games, and help them to focus on those specific skills. The same rings true for any hobby or passion they might have.

Whether they’re into sports, music, art, animals, or spending time with people, there are strengths to be found everywhere. Sometimes, it just takes a little encouragement and digging to find them. As a parent, offer that encouragement consistently and freely, and you’ll be able to stand by proudly as your teen steps into a successful future.

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How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 25, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Tips to Giving Your Effective Advice

Helping them to be good listeners

Help Your Teens PexelParentTeenAnnoyed-300x207 How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice When parents give advice to their kids and teenagers, many moms and dads can be confused and not understand why kids can struggle to be receptive and take on advice. The best way to understand where this natural tendency to be averse to (sound) advice as a kid stems from is to think about it from your point of view.

Take the exact advice you are giving to your kids and imagine your partner giving it to you if you were frustrated or had a little bit of pent-up animosity inside you.

Chances are, you would probably feel a little bit frustrated and maybe even angry. The transaction of giving advice and accepting it can be difficult on both sides, and it is important to understand why. There are ways to make this interaction less of a fight and more of a productive exchange.

Funnily enough, things actually get even harder when we as parents offer unsolicited advice to our kids. Although you might think that you could live their life so much better than them, doing this will actually interfere with their growth patterns and need for autonomy as they develop. Kids need to make their own decisions and listen to their own intuition in a somewhat guided, but still independent, manner.

This is arguably the most difficult part of parenting because it involves the art of letting go. Libby Whitely, a parenting blogger at Draftbeyond and Lastminutewriting, commented,

“This part of parenting goes against the natural basic instinct of protecting our children from harm that runs through all species on earth.”

We are going to run through a few different helpful tips and tricks which will allow you to take a step back from certain difficult situations and breathe. As parents, we can use all the help we can get, can’t we?

  1. Stick with Stories, Not Instruction

Help Your Teens PexelTalkingtoTeen-300x201 How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice Something that I found worked well for me in raising my three little rascals was using personal stories and relatable tales instead of just telling them point blank ‘do this, do that’. I have found that they are a lot more likely to head in the direction of my advice if I employ this tactic rather than just laying out the law and expecting it to be followed to a T.

Casual conversing feels more like a level playing field for your growing munchkins, and less like they are being ‘told what to do’. What greater use of your stories from childhood than to use them to help your own kids. 

  1. Try Answering a Question with a Question Back

The one thing that many parents do not consider, or underestimate is that kids will already know what they are planning to do before they ask for advice. Though this is not true for everyone, a vast majority of children who ask their parents for advice already have a vague idea of what they want to do. It is important to give advice, but stay on the side-lines by answering back with a question to help guide their own decision making.

  1. Be Patient, Wait for Them

Often times it can be easy to rush your kids straight to a solution when you think you have all the answers. This process is super unhelpful for them and will not be beneficial for their decision-making skills in the long run. Yasmin Farley, a psychology writer at Writinity and Researchpapersuk, noted that,

“The best thing to do is to lead them slowly and guide them gently, but ensure they get to the end point on their own. Independent decision making is crucial for growing teens.”

  1. Try to Steer Away From “I told you so”

As a parent it is so difficult to hold your tongue when something that you warned your child about turns out exactly the way you said it would; trust me, I know. The best bet in these situations is to keep your mouth closed, because “I told you so’s” can be hurtful and damaging for a child’s self esteem and growing mind and body. 

No parent is perfect, no matter how hard we try. However, using some simple tips and tricks like these ones along the way can definitely help you out and assist you in building your teen up to be a great adult.

Contributor: Ashley Halsey is an online blogger and content writer at Dissertation writing services UK and GumEssays who has been involved in many projects throughout the country. She has three rambunctious teenagers who keep her life interesting as she travels around the country attending psychology and parenting courses. 

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Tips For Starting A Conversation With Your Teenager

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 21, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

10 Ways to Start A Conversation With Your Teen

Help Your Teens DadSonChat-300x200 Tips For Starting A Conversation With Your Teenager Let’s face it, we all know that raising teens today is not easy and experts all agree, communication is key to having a good relationship.

However sometimes simply talking to a teenager is not so easy.  They can be very challenging when they turn us off.

Here are some ideas for ways to get teens talking:

  1. Create a topic jar. A topic jar is a jar that you fill with different pieces of paper containing conversation topics. Each night at dinner a different person gets to choose a slip of paper from the jar and read it aloud. The reader gets to start the conversation. For example, the slip of paper could say, “Tell about something that surprised you today”.  Don’t forget to add in topics about digital lives.  “Any new apps, websites, videos, virtual friends….”  Be as interested in their online lives as you are in their offline ones.  Remember, statistics show that kids today spend at least 8 hours a day digitally connected.  This includes cell phones and computers.
  2. Ask open-ended questions. By asking questions that cannot be answered with only a yes or no, you are opening the door for your teenager to say more than a couple of words in reply to you. Try to avoid grilling her and stay away from asking questions like, “How was your day?” Her answer will most likely be a one word answer to these type of questions. Instead, say something like, “Tell me about your day.”
  3. Help Your Teens MomDaughterChatting-300x200 Tips For Starting A Conversation With Your Teenager Talk about topics she likes. Often teens feel like they are misunderstood by their parents. Instead of trying to get her involved in whatever you want to talk about, try talking about something that you know she likes. If she is an avid tennis player, discussing the French Open is a great way to start a conversation.
  4. Schedule some one on one time with her. Take her out to her favorite restaurant with just the two of you. If that is too expensive, just go for dessert and linger over coffee. Do something that she enjoys, like going to a shopping (even if it is window shopping) or a tennis match. Sharing these moments with her will give her the opportunity to talk to you while you are both relaxed and alone.
  5. Listen more than you speak. Every minute of your time together with her doesn’t have to be filled with idle chit chat. If you are trying to get someone to talk, leaving some silence will give them the opportunity to fill that silence with conversation.
  6. Be patient with your teen. If she is going through a rough time with her boyfriend or her other friends at school it may be difficult for her to talk about. Give her opportunities to broach the subject with you, but don’t try to force her to talk to you. That will only result in her becoming more stubborn and closed off.
  7. Put yourself in her shoes. Teenagers think that their parents and caregivers don’t understand them. Try to resist saying things like, “I understand what you are going through because I was a teenager once too you know”. Every generation has their own obstacles to overcome, and you can’t know what she is going through until she tells you. Really try to imagine how you would feel if you were in her shoes going through what she is going through.  Keep in mind, we didn’t have technology or social media to deal with. It is their world today.
  8. Don’t try to fix her. Parents and caregivers often try to fix a situation before they even understand it. Everyone is busy, but make time to hear her out. Don’t jump in and offer advice until it’s asked for. The only thing you should be doing while she is talking is nodding and saying the occasional, “hmm” or “I see” to indicate you are actively listening. This part is very difficult, but she needs to feel heard. Imagine how it would feel if you were sharing one of your problems and the person kept interrupting you to offer advice. Would you enjoy that?
  9. Try to be her soft place to fall, not a road block. Teenagers are faced with a lot of peer pressure. Amazingly enough, teens will come to the right decision most of the time if given the chance. Comfort her if she’s had a fight with a friend or if she breaks up with her boyfriend, but don’t condemn the boyfriend or friend. Anything negative that you say now will come back to haunt you when she gets back together with her boyfriend or the next time that her friend comes over to spend the night.
  10. Only offer your opinion when she asks for it. If you are lucky enough to get your teen talking, don’t interrupt with your opinions. Telling her what you would do isn’t going to help because she will remind you that you and she are nothing alike. Teens are trying to break away and prove their individuality. If she asks for your advice, start by asking her what she has considered so far. This will give you an idea of where her head is and you can act accordingly. Avoid lectures at all costs.

Keep in mind, having conversations before you reach a point of confrontation makes for a happier household.  Studies have proven that families that have frequent meals together can reduce risky behavior in teens, it doesn’t have to be every day, but try to have them as often as possible.

Bonus tip: Order Fourteen Talks By Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have With Your Kids Before High School.

If you feel your teen is shutting you out completely and you have exhausted all your resources, seek help from outside sources such as possible a friend or family member they respect.  You may have to then reach out to an adolescent therapist.

If you are still struggling, please contact us for information on residential therapy.  Sometimes removing them from their environment can help them reflect on what they are having difficulties with.

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