Partly Cloudy   74.0F  |  Forecast »

Transition to Teens

Want to get a head start on parenting your older child? Here are 10 tips to help kids gradually make the switch into adulthood.

Helping your teen transition into adulthood requires communication, encouragement and guidance, according to Lynne Huff, author of Thank You For All You've Done For Me. As a former youth minister and mother of two, Huff of Ortonville, in southeast Michigan, says she wrote the book to help moms and dads learn how to parent their teens.

It's best, she says, if parents start early, by slowly making changes in the way they raise their children. Inching up their curfew or bedtime over a few years, for instance, will make the transition easier for your family.

To give parents a jumpstart on having a good relationship with their teens, Huff offers these 10 tips:

1. Family rituals

Maybe it's a day at the park or a movie night at home. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you designate a day or time to spend together. In the long run, this ritual breaks down the wall between parents and children – and opens up discussion when needed. "Family time should be fun and enriching, not just times to discuss and iron-out problems," Huff says.

2. Words of wisdom

Having worked as a youth minister for more than 15 years, religion is important to Huff – and in her book, she advises families to create a family prayer to recite before dinner or bed. If that's not a factor for your family, Huff says you can read an inspirational poem or quote that resonates with your family as an alternative to a prayer.

3. Rites of passage

As your teens transition, it's important to give them the opportunity to make decisions for themselves. However, as Huff points out, this isn't something you can do overnight. Slowly, give your children the chance to make their own decisions, but help guide them. Remember: Part of growing up is making bad choices and learning from them. In fact, that's part of life for young and old.

4. Be a role model

Demonstrate positive ways to learn, resolve conflict and make decisions. Your children will notice your example.

5. Show appreciation and affection

No matter what age your children are, they will always crave affection from mom and dad – even if they don't admit it.

6. Make time

Between work, maintaining a home and raising a family, life can get hectic, but stop and spend some time with your child. It's those moments when you're simply engaging your child, without distraction, that matter the most to them. And it's amazing how much you can learn about them when you're not grilling them but simply hanging out and enjoying each other's company.

7. Show them the way

Help guide your children. Teach them how to do practical things like cooking dinner or balancing a monthly budget. This is the time when they are learning practical skills that will serve them into adulthood.

8. Set clear rules and boundaries, and stick to them

Kids – no matter their age – need some boundaries. It helps them set limits, feel a sense of security that someone cares, and sometimes can help ensure their safety. Be sure that you have clear rules for your family. And enforce them. If you let kids slide, you may as well not have the rules, since your kids won't take them seriously.

9. Express enthusiasm

When your children do well, let them know. Praise them and encourage them to keep making good decisions. Positive reinforcement really does work well in shaping behavior.

10. Have fun and laugh a lot

Life can't be serious all the time. Enjoy it, and enjoy the time you spend with your family.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Easy Lunch Wraps for School Lunches

Easy Lunch Wraps for School Lunches

Skip the bread and use tortillas to make one of these recipes for your kid's lunchbox.

Egg-Freezing Parties for Career Women Not Ready to be Moms

Egg-Freezing Parties for Career Women Not Ready to be Moms

Company EggBanxx just took fertility awareness to a new level, complete with cocktails and swank. Will the trend help? Will it stick? Or is this all a bit much?

AHA Arts Clear-Cling Stamps Are Fun for Paper Crafts

AHA Arts Clear-Cling Stamps Are Fun for Paper Crafts

For a creative, offbeat alternative to woodblock stamping, try these cool tools that add a great look to your DIY projects. Buy them here in southeast Michigan.

Craft Roundup: Small Projects to Make with Washi Tape, Confetti, More

Craft Roundup: Small Projects to Make with Washi Tape, Confetti, More

Tiny stuff is terrific! This roundup of DIY fun from various blogs shows you how to make matchbook notebooks, gift bags, stickers and bitty butterflies.

Frustrated Mom Creates App to Stop Teens from Ignoring Calls

Frustrated Mom Creates App to Stop Teens from Ignoring Calls

One mother got sick of her kids blowing off her phone calls, so she created an app to make it impossible. Stroke of genius – or an overstep of parental bounds?

Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes

Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes

Combine ice cream with cookies and you've got the perfect dessert combination. Whip up one of these cool treats with the kids!

Vintage Summer Pins Made from Old Belt Buckles

Vintage Summer Pins Made from Old Belt Buckles

A perfect summer craft, this DIY project is centered around used plastic accessories, which are cheap finds at garage sales and thrift stores.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement