Parenting Post – Linda Marten MSW

Teenager got you stressed? Are you feeling frustrated, rejected, and disrespected by your teenage child? You’re not alone. The teen years can be one of the most challenging times of life for parents and teens. As teens assert their independence and begin to separate from their parents, communication often breaks down and tempers flare.
Here are some key points for parents to ponder:

1. Talk less, listen more.
2. Don’t lower yourself to their tactics. Teens need you to be the adult.
3. If you become just as emotional and blaming as the teen, it will only get worse.
4. Think before you react.
5. Focus on your own self respect and boundaries.
6. Where do you stand? What are your limits and expectations?
7. Ask yourself: “How important is it?” Choose your battles wisely.
8. Be calm and firm. If you can’t be calm, be strong enough to walk away.
9. You can empathize without giving in, (e.g. “bummer”, “sounds frustrating”)
10. State your expectations in one sentence and leave the room.
11. Stop talking! Keep it short and sweet.
12. Don’t make threats you don’t intend to follow through on.
13. Your own self respect will increase if you do the above, AND your teen will also respect you more.
14. Call another parent of a teen. We need a lot of support to walk through the teen years and we can do it better together than alone.
15. “It takes a village to raise a child” also applies to raising a teenager.
16. A teenager needs at least 5 caring adults in their life, (like relatives, teachers, coaches, counselors, neighbors). And parents need at least one caring friend to call.
17. It’s OK to ask for professional help. You don’t have to have all the answers.
18. Remember: You are their guide, consultant, coach. Contrary to how they act, teens really need their parents and want their guidance.
19. Teens need their parents to be both firm and flexible as they try their wings of independence more and more.
20. Let them learn from their mistakes.
21. Drop blame and criticism. Judgmental comments can destroy any relationship.
22. Keep the lines of communication open and be ready to listen to your teen when they want to talk to you.
23. Don’t pamper them and don’t overly control them. Seek balance.
24. Face your fears and move beyond them.
25. Encourage them. Believe in them. Be there for them.
26. Be kind to yourself. Learn from your mistakes and do the best you can.
27. Keep family traditions, birthdays, holidays, family dinners. These times help teens feel more secure during this tumultuous time of rapid changes in their life.
28. Make time for fun for yourself and your spouse or best friend.
29. Take a break for you. Sit down, breathe, relax each day.
30. Develop a kind sense of humor. Teens enjoy it and It will save your sanity.
31. Exercise is the #1 stress reliever. Go for a walk and come back refreshed.
32. Remember: H.A.L.T. = When you feel Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired it’s time to halt or stop and take care of yourself.
33. YOUR EXAMPLE is still a powerful influence in your teenager’s development.
34. The journey of parenting is the journey of self discovery.
35. Enjoy the ride. Before you know it, your kids will be grown and the teen years will be a memory.
36. Treasure the present moment.

Linda Marten offers workshops and private sessions for parents and youth.
Contact her at: [email protected]
Her Website/Blog is:

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