Fair   55.0F  |  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

Popsicle Stick Spider Web Craft with Pompom Spider

Popsicle Stick Spider Web Craft with Pompom Spider

Classic DIY materials are a cinch to transform into a darling Halloween decoration! Have kids get involved with this simple project for October.

'Breaking Bad' Action Figures Pulled from Toys R Us Shelves

'Breaking Bad' Action Figures Pulled from Toys R Us Shelves

After a Florida mom petitioned on Change.org for the toy store chain to stop selling the dolls from the AMC TV show, the toy store has agreed.

Starry Nights and Snowman Fun: Winter Crafts with Olaf, More

Starry Nights and Snowman Fun: Winter Crafts with Olaf, More

Turn a white sock or marshmallows into everyone's favorite goofball from Frozen or gear up for snowy evenings with a constellation lightbox and table runner.

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Keep your kids off the couch this winter and get them active and healthy with these family-friendly fitness tips from the community program director at the Macomb Family YMCA.

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Modern flapper era mamas had plenty of progressive advice. But when it came to baby name tips, it was a mixed bag. (And especially tough for poor Lenora!)

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Slice into sweetness with these kid-friendly ideas – thanks to Betty Crocker, Taste of Home and more – that transform pizza into something oh-so-sweet!

Rustic Pumpkin Lunch Bag Halloween Craft for Kids

Rustic Pumpkin Lunch Bag Halloween Craft for Kids

Lunch surprises can brighten kids' day at school. As October rolls along, try something fun and new with this sweet, not-scary jack-o'-lantern sack.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement