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Give your teens advice you would give to your teenage self

One of the biggest challenges of being a parent is parenting teens. The years from 13 to 20 can be challenging for teens and their parents.

Keeping communication open and spending time together are keys to parenting teens
Sandy Wallace

Teens are growing, changing and discovering who they will become. Parents often struggle to find a balance between parenting and mentoring in the evolving relationship with their teens.

Parenting experts offer much advice for parents of teens. The Mayo Clinic offers these tips for parenting teens: show your love, minimize pressure, encourage cybersafety, set limits, prioritize rules, enforce consequences and set a positive example.

Parents often remember mistakes they made during their own teen years and try to keep their teens from repeating the same mistakes.

Teens aren't always open to unsolicited advice from parents. Your teen may hear the advice you would give your teenage self better if you share funny stories about your teen years instead of a lecture.

Your teen may be more open to your advice if you ask his advice. Talk with your teen about choices and decisions you need to make and listen to your teen's advice.

Although parents mean well when they try to protect their teens from making bad decisions, parents often come across as preachy or self-righteous, causing teens to tune out.

Choose your words and actions carefully to avoid the appearance of talking down to your teen or giving advice that you don't follow.

When a parent with a cigarette in his mouth tells a teen not to smoke, the verbal message is lost to the visual message.

A teen may tune out a parent's message about drinking and driving when seeing the parent climb behind the wheel of the family car after enjoying an alcoholic drink at dinner.

Keep the lines of communication open with your teens by parenting with love. Your teen will be more open to hearing your advice when it's given with love than when it's given with anger or annoyance.

Teens quickly tune out authoritarian parents. Actively listen to your teen and try to offer suggestions to your teen instead of commands.

It's often easier for parents and teens to talk when participating in an activity together. Spending one-on-one time presents opportunities for talking and really listening to each other.

Support your teen and show your love through your actions. Show respect for your teen and it will be returned to you. Listen when your teen talks and offer the advice you would give to your teenage self.

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