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Behavior Contracts
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Talk To Your Teen



One of the hardest parts of life is growing up. Teenagers are faced with decision-making, responsibility, and choices, everything adults have to face on a daily basis. Life gets overwhelming at times and we all need someone to depend on. Who better to depend on for support, then a parent?

I can remember when I was a teenager. I played sports, had a lot of friends, but I also felt depressed at times, experimented with alcohol, and struggled to keep my grades up. I had a hard time trusting people; I thought no one understood me. I often wonder how different my teen years would have been like if I was reached out to more. What if I was talked to and not at?

Communication is key in any relationship. Talk to your teen about their day; ask them if they are having any frustrations with school or their friends. Talk to them about drugs, alcohol and sex, because those are issues they are faced with all the time. Sharing your experiences as a teen with your child opens up a whole new world to them. They now see you as someone who had to face the same things as they do. It might make them think you DO understand. Let them ask questions about how you dealt with certain situations as a teenager. Nothing should be a forbidden topic.

Being a parent means guiding our children through life the best way we can. The best way to do that is to communicate with them. Talk TO your teen today!

BE AN INVOLVED PARENT
  • Show interest in your teenager's activities and friends.
  • Talk openly, honestly, and respectfully with your teenager.
  • Set clear limits and expectations.
  • Know what's going on at school and after school.
  • Teach your teenager how to safely avoid violence.


  • Teenagers are no longer children, but they are not yet adults. While teenagers are developing more independent thoughts, feelings, and values, it is only natural for them to question their parents' rules, beliefs, and expectations. During this time of change, parents often worry about their teenager's safety.

    Encourage independence while teaching safety. As teenagers are testing their new independent roles, it's not an easy time for parents. But if teens don't get love, security, and a feeling of safety from their family, they might look elsewhere, even toward friends who are a bad influence, such as gang members. One of the best ways parents can help their teenagers stay safe is to teach them how to avoid violence.

    KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON
    It's important to understand some of the typical behaviors and feelings of teenagers, even if your teenager thinks you don't!

    Teens are very interested in:
  • New ways of doing things.
  • The present, with little interest in the future.
  • With maturity, the future becomes more important. Teens often:
  • Feel awkward and believe they don't fit in.
  • Behave childishly when stressed.


  • Teens want:
  • Role models for themselves.
  • To be capable and needed.

    SET CLEAR LIMITS AND EXPECTATIONS
    Talk about limits to which you can both agree:
  • Homework completion and school progress
  • How many nights out each week, and how late
  • After-school activities or jobs
  • Allowance or money
  • Safety in and around motor vehicles


  • Clearly communicate any change in the original limits. You have specific reasons for deciding to change what was agreed to. You aren't simply giving up because your teen didn't follow the rules.

    POSITIVE COMMUNICATION
    Good communication-talking and listening-with your teenager may be the most important part of your relationship. Since teens are forming their own identity and testing limits, some conversations may lead to
     

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