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The teenage years are a time of confusion for many parents and youths. Teen years are a time of growth: physically, mentally and emotionally.

  • Teenagers are "pre-adults" and they really need their own space. Balance the amount of their freedom and to know when to step in with good judgement.
  • Clothes, trends, and trying to "fit in" are crucial parts of a teen's self-steem. Try to give teens acertain amount of freedom in this area
  • Talk daily with your teen. Send them funny e-mails for find other ways to communicate so when you have one-on-one it's not so weird. If there is more than one sibling, make special "talk time" for each child.
  • When your teen is rebelling and you find yourself "butting heads" think, "Am I listening?" or "Do I accept or allow my child to differ with my opinion?" Make sure your rules are realistic and appropriate.
  • Choose your fights carefully and don't sweat the small stuff. Sometimes a teen enjoys shocking their parent (for example with a new hair color).
  • Become familiar with the music they like, and things they read and watch on TV. This will not only give you things to talk about, but an opportunity to screen what they watch and listen to.
  • Get to know their friends and their friends' parents. See if there's an opportunity to develop a support system.
  • Accept that eventually you are going to end up talking to your teen about sex and the changes they may be noticing in their bodies. Be aware of changes in their body, mood, conversation, interests, etc.
  • Empathize with your teen by acknowledging how difficult these years are for them.
  • Communicate that you have expectations. Grades, behavior, and rules are just some of the expectations for which there is very little compromise.
  • Internet access should only be available on a family computer that is in public view, not in your child's room.
  • When will this end? Your child will grow and mature with your help and before you know it, he will be a responsible adult.

Reference: Kids Health for Parents (http://kidshealth.org/parent/growing/adolescence.html).

I found Fathers For Equal Rights through my church. Fathers For Equal Rights empowered me to do the right thing for my son through critical knowledge, and strategic access to affordable legal assistance.
  -- David A. - Dallas, TX

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