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Raising Teens for Dummies

Please answer the following questions: Is your cell phone bill out of this world?
Are boxes of cereal gone within a matter of hours at your house?
Does a member of your family have a flair for theatrics (i.e. incredibly dramatic and/or moody)? Are you awake till the wee morning hours, restlessly listening for the front door to open?

If you could answer affirmatively to all these questions, it's likely you have what is called, "I'm raising a teenager and I'm going mad" syndrome. Never heard of this diagnosis? If you've got kids, just wait - it'll soon sound familiar.

Before you go check yourself into the local psych ward, here are a few  tips to help you regain some sanity.


(1) Praise is powerful: Have you ever been nagged or told what you're doing wrong constantly? It's not fun nor is it generally very effective in changing behavior. It just causes resentment. So, if the nagging isn't working (and I guarantee it rarely will) try something different like PRAISE. You may be saying, "But my kid is Satan incarnate. He doesn't ever do anything worth praising!" You're wrong. We see what we choose to see. View him through your "praise lens" and you'll be astonished at what you've been missing. If you really want to see positive change, try 4 positives to 1 negative statement. This takes a watchful eye and often some creativity, but I promise you will see a vast improvement in your teen's attitude and behavior if you will do this. 

(2) For Pete's sake, JUST LISTEN: So often we're so busy, in a hurry to solve problems, or so bent on communicating our own agenda that we rarely listen. If your teenager knows you'll just dismiss her concern, criticize her, or suggest a quick fix, she'll eventually shut down all communication lines. Even if you disagree with what she's saying, try listening without interruption. Chances are even if you have a bad track record, your teen will begin to open up to you. Then, and only then, will they want to hear what you have to say.

(3)Set boundaries and extend consequences when needed: Believe it or not, teens want rules. They want boundaries (of course, they would never tell you that).  Clear and communicated boundaries will help your teen feel loved and secure. Your teen needs a curfew. He needs responsibilities around the house. He need someone to tell him about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and pornography. When she crosses the line, there has to be a consequence. Conversely, if she does something right, there needs to be a positive consequence. That's how we each learn, after all. Just a note: If you say you'll do something, you MUST do it. Otherwise, you've just burned an important bridge of trust that is hard to repair.

Give these a shot. Even the smallest effort will bring great dividends. I promise.

P.S. These tips may also apply to partners, co-workers, in-laws, and young children. You can even try them out on an unruly pet. However, no pet testing has been done.

Article Source:

About the Author:

Tara has been in the business of teaching, training, and coaching for over 5 years and is a Mission Ignition Certified Coach. She recently started her own Success Coaching business called Joy Quest Coaching.

She has an extensive background in leadership and instructing children, teenagers, and adults in a variety of subjects and settings. Before graduating from Utah State University with a Bachelors degree in Family, Consumer, Human Development - Tara spent time abroad teaching English in Xi’an, China and in England as a religious volunteer. Post graduation, she was employed with the Utah Youth Village where she taught at-risk families life skills as a Families First Specialist.

Besides her keen interest in helping people, Tara enjoys traveling, singing, public speaking, reading, and most recently writing. She hopes to publish a work of fiction in the coming year.

Tara has been married to her best friend, Luke, for almost 4 years and together they have an adorable baby boy.

Webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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