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Be An Expert On Your Teenager!

Aug 17, 2007
Raising children isn't easy. If anyone told you it was, they were lying. That said, the process doesn't have to be impossible - even with adolescents. Children are fantastic gifts that make each day a wonderful surprise, but just like every other person on the planet, children have their good days and their bad ones, too.

When it comes to adolescents, the rules of the road seem to be in a constant state of flux. What was acceptable to them yesterday isn't today. Their moods swing more erratically than a pendulum on a roller coaster ride. So, what's a parent of an adolescent to do?

Think back to the tumultuous toddler days, that's what! Just like a toddler who was constantly testing boundaries and striving for freedom while still too scared to break away, your adolescent, too, is facing the same challenges. The only difference is that this time your child has a strong vocabulary, one that can bite at times.

Just as it is with raising toddlers, the rules of the road for adolescents are very much the same. Some of the most effective parenting of adolescents involves a similar approach. This means giving them enough space to explore, without letting them touch the hot stove. Let your adolescent children have enough room to figure out who they are without your letting go entirely.

Of course, that sounds a whole lot easier than it is. Raising adolescents is a one-day-a-time job. Keys to raising adolescents (and toddlers) include:

* Laying out strong ground rules. Make certain your adolescents know what is acceptable and what is not. Make sure your rules are enforced fairly, and consistently. Just like toddlers, adolescents will look for ways around the rules and test your willingness to enforce them. State up front what will happen if they are late, for example, and make that punishment stick. Be fair, however. The punishment should fit the crime.

* Allow them to explore. Just as you allowed your toddler to take a few steps away from you without panic, you need to do the same with your adolescent. Children in the adolescent years are in an awkward stages, they're not children any longer, nor are they adults. They need to find their own path, and hopefully a good one. If you don't allow them to explore with interests, hobbies and even friends, they won't find their way.

* Be involved. Adolescents like to act like they don't need their parents any longer, but this is a ruse. Don't believe it. Get involved. Know what they're doing, who they're doing it with and where. Find out what they're interested in, pay attention to their school work, get involved in their schooling. The more involved you are, the better. But remember, it's important to strike a bit of a balance. Trust them to make choices, too.

* Be consistent. Carry through on your promises and lead by example. The more active you are in their lives and the more you stick with your word, the better.

Adolescents don't come with a set of instructions and while they're bigger, they are still children. This means they need you, even if they say they don't. Be involved. Be loving. And, what ever you do, don't let them think for a second that you're not watching.
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More information on children and teens
adolescents

http://www.kidschildren.com
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