10 Tips for a Better Parent-Teen Relationship

As teens grow, parents and teens typically struggle for control. In order for your teen to become a productive young adult, you must allow them to have some independence. The tips below will help you balance your role as a parent, as you help shape your teen into the productive citizen her or she will become.

Talk with your teen, not at him. Make every effort to avoid arguing with your teenager, because it will only lead to more conflict and possibly saying things you don’t really mean. When you are upset, I recommend you take a break and try to address the issue again later under calmer circumstances.


Teens are always watching. You expect your teens to be trustworthy, caring and responsible citizens. Keep in mind teens are watching your actions to see if you have those same qualities. Be a good role model. You must lead by example in this case.


Be clear about your expectations. It is easier to hold your teen accountable for rules established well in advance. Be clear about the consequences if rules are broken. Create an accountability contract with your teen and have him or her sign it. Follow through on what you say will be the punishment. If negative actions result in loss of privileges for a week, many teens will be motivated to make wiser choices.


Keep your conversations confidential. Offer your teen the opportunity to have confidential discussions with you. Avoid sharing with everyone in your family what the two of you discussed. Your teen needs to feel safe when he or she communicates with you openly. Whatever you do, don’t bring the private discussion up during an argument or when you are angry.


Keep an open door policy. Let your child know that he can come to you at any time to talk about anything. This is important for developing and maintaining a good parent-teen relationship. When he comes to you with something, stop and take the time to listen, talk and connect with him. If you want any relationship to work, it requires time, energy and effort.


Be real. Being a father or mother doesn’t mean you are perfect. It is appropriate to admit your own mistakes to your teen. This will not only help her understand you are human too, but she may learn from your mistakes. Be quick to apologize when you know you handled a situation wrong.


Know your teen’s interests. Get to know the music and movies that teens are interested in so you can determine the appropriateness of the content. You will not be able to control everything your teen sees and hears. However, you can talk to your teen about listening to things that match the values you are helping them establish.


Talk about sex. You should have candid discussions with your teens about sex and the risks associated with having sex, the lasting effects of being a young parent, the importance of abstinence.


“Catch them doing something right!” Identify moments that your teen is doing exactly what you requested and thank him for doing the right thing. It is always good to openly share you proud you are of your teen. This helps him have a clear understanding about how you feel about positive actions. Proudly mention your teen’s accomplishments in front of other family and friends, within earshot. This will help your teen see the high regard you have for him.


Pick your battles wisely. Every battle is not worth fighting. Decide which issues you will let go and which ones you will address with your teen.


Watch Daily Balance with Kim Jacobs, www.dailybalancewithkim.tv on PBS – WTVI Saturdays at 10 a.m. Tune in Wednesdays for Kim’s Daily Balance segment on Charlotte Today at 11 a.m., on WCNC – News Channel 36. Need some balance? Email Kim Jacobs at kim@dailybalancewithkim.tv and ask her your questions about family balance.