Tag Archives: tweens and teens

15 Nov

4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Tween or Teen

1. Talk with your kids: Keep an open dialogue about the changes that are happening to them physically, emotionally and socially. Don’t accuse but rather ask open-ended questions that will illicit thoughtful discussion by both parties. Ask your child if they have any questions you can answer for them. Don’t tease, but instead, normalize the changes. If you’re not sure how to answer a question your child is asking, try looking up the answer together. Or talk to a professional together to get the answer. If your child doesn’t like to talk, ask 1 or 2 open-ended questions and build on that when you can. Normalizing changes and situations can be very soothing for children, even if they act like they don’t need it or don’t care.

Here’s one great resource: 5 Secrets for Communicating with Teenagers
By Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC from EmpoweringParents.com.

2. Schedule family time together: Even for an hour or two. Quality is the key, not quantity. Keep routines the same and make yourself available to offer help, even if it’s driving places or hiring a tutor for a subject. Teens are launching developmentally. That means they leave (in a variety of ways) and return. This process is similar to a bird learning to fly out of the nest. Most people think that’s when a parent should leave their child alone but actually the opposite is true. Be available and spend time with your child. Stay engaged and find a way to let them know you care and are there. They need to know you are present in the relationship and that home is still a safe place to return to so they can keep trying to launch. And remember, they still need your support, even when they pushing you away. Don’t take it personally.

More about this: 3 Tips to Help Nourish the Family by Karen Atkinson on EtainLifeCoaching.com.

3. Monitor social media: Check out who is talking to whom and how your child feels about this dialogue. Ask questions to get your child’s perspective. Don’t make it about not trusting them. Tell them it’s your job to make sure everything is ok socially and to monitor it to some extent. Tell them that you care and this is important to you. That’s normal for a parent to do. If there’s a problem, listen to the problem your child is identifying and help find a solution. Ask questions. All sorts of things happen with “posting” these days including comments and pictures. What does your child post? What kinds of messages and pictures do they receive back from others? Use these situations as learning opportunities for your child. And be patient. Our generations didn’t have to deal with all of these dynamics. This is new territory for everyone.

Here’s an example: Are sitcoms harmful to children? Do they teach sassy, disrespectful behavior? What are some alternatives? from CommonSenseMedia.org.

4. Moderate the amount of violence your child gets exposed to:
Between TV, phones, iPads/Tablets, gaming consoles and computers, kids are seeing images at a record level. The amount of time children spend in front of a screen has increased, as well as the exposure to violence. What they see matters to development and how the brain processes information. Moderate what you can. Pick your battles and stand by them. It’s important to teach children boundaries, and it’s ok to limit or have them choose what they can and can’t see. These exercises are modeling for them how they will some day set boundaries for themselves. These exercises also teach them how to make choices. There is a reason why games and moves are rated. And watch little brother or sister. They can be adversely influenced and exposed at a much younger age simply because they have older siblings. It’s easy to let go in this area and checkout. But don’t. It matters.

“A 2010 review by psychologist Craig A. Anderson and others concluded that “the evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.” Anderson’s earlier research showed that playing violent video games could increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in daily life. “One major conclusion from this and other research on violent entertainment media is that content matters,” says Anderson.

Here’s one reason why: Does exposure to violent movies or video games make kids more aggressive? from CommonSenseMedia.org

Resources:

5 Secrets for Communicating with Teenagers
By Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC from EmpoweringParents.com.

How Parents Can Improve Communication with Teenagers by Dr. Steven Richfield on HealthyPlace.com.

The Parents Role on TeachingSexualHealth.ca.

Teenagers and communication on BetterHealth.vic.gov.au.

16 Apps and Websites Kids Are Heading to After Facebook on CommonSenseMedia.org.

10 Most Violent Video Games of 2016 (and What to Play Instead) by Jeff Haynes on CommonSenseMedia.org.

Is it OK to let my kid play Minecraft for hours? on CommonSenseMedia.org.

Violence in the Media (Psychologists Study Potential Harmful Effects) on the APA.org.

Violence on TV and How It Can Affect Your Children on the Huffingtonpost.com.

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