There never seems to be an end to the trouble teens can get themselves into through risky behavior. This is a time of life when your teenage son or daughter may think they are invincible. They may think their actions have little to no consequences and likewise will keep taking chances. The teen brain is still in the development process and the risk and reward centers aren’t quite finished, thus leaving an empty space where a warning sign should be flashing.
If you have found yourself struggling to help your son or daughter see the danger of their actions, the following tips are for you:
- Work on your communication. It’s common for teens to start tuning out their parents and for parents to get “loud” to get their teens to listen. If you find yourself yelling or becoming frustrated with your teen it’s time to take a step back and reassess your reactions. Changing how you respond to your teen can keep communication open. Expressing sincere worry or concern over frustrated yelling will do more to grab your teen’s attention than an angry tirade.
- Be the parent. Yes, your teen is trying to discover who they are, and they will need room and a little freedom to do this. This doesn’t mean you take a backseat and watch from the sidelines. You are the parent and you are the authority. While becoming a dictator isn’t the way, setting firm guidelines with consequences and following through on them is an effective way to establish boundaries for your son or daughter.
- Be aware and ready to act. Giving a little freedom to your teen is good, but you will also need to keep tabs on where they are and what they are doing. This might see this as intrusive, however, as the parent, you have a right to know.
- Speak up. Before your teen starts to act out, talk with them about the dangers they may be facing. Subjects like sex, drinking, drug use, smoking and physically risky behavior should be open for discussion with you setting clear expectations for your teen. Be open and ready for discussion on any subject and re-visit subjects multiple times to ensure they understand.
In the end, your teen is going to determine how they will act. You as the parent need to be there to guide and correct when they start to steer off course.