Parenting teenagers is definitely hard work! You will survive and even may be pleasantly surprised to see the progress of both you and your teen. Here are some tips to help in that effort.

Take care of yourself: Being a parent of a teenager takes a lot of physical and emotional energy. You will not have anything to give to your teen if you don’t make sure that your needs are met, too. It is important to eat healthy food, exercise and rest — have fun too.

You are the adult: Like it or not, as the parent, you need to remember that you are the adult and that it will be helpful for you to wait before responding if you are angry or upset. This means that even if your teen has a temper tantrum or calls you names, doing the same will not help. You will help your teen by setting examples of behaviors you want them to follow. Use the STOP method — Stop, Think, look at your Options and Plan your response. Keep in mind that negative words and disrespect are not appropriate.

Timing is everything: Parents typically say their teens never talk to them. On the other hand, surveys of teenagers report that they believe adults, particularly their parents, never listen to them. What typically happens is that teens are ready to talk at the worst times for parents.

Then when the parents are ready to talk, teens are not responsive. Parents need to watch for subtle clues that their teen wants to talk.

It will likely happen when you are busiest, most tired or just starting to watch your favorite show. There is probably only a small window of opportunity, so it is important to set other things aside and listen. Refer to the point above.

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