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Parenting in the Teen Years

Although teens often want more independence and to make their own decisions, they still need your guidance and support. Building healthy relationships with a teenager may seem challenging. It is critical that you stay involved. Positive, caring relationships help them to do well at home and in school.

Keep these tips in mind, as you navigate through parenting your child in the teenage years.

Some teens are naturally outgoing, make friends easily. Others find it hard to build friendships. Help your teen to think about their own interests and qualities to look for in a friend. Let them know that it’s the quality of friendships, not the number of friends that matters.

Visit: Health Link BC – Teenage Friendship

Support your teen to recognize their personal strengths. Role model an accepting, positive attitude for people of all shapes and sizes. Teens may feel insecure about their appearance, size, physical skills and strength.

Fuel: Make it easy for your teen to fuel their bodies by making healthy foods easily available when they are hungry. Focus on whole grains, vegetables and fruits, lean meats and low-fat milk products. Limit processed foods by preparing meals and snacks at home. Eat together as a family as much as possible.

Visit: Unlock Food English / Francais

Activity: Over the day your teen should have several hours of light physical activity such as walking. They should also have a total of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Aim for vigorous physical activity and muscle and bone strengthening activities at least 3 days each week. They should have no more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time.

Visit: Caring for Kids - Physical Activity For Children and Youth English / Francais

Sleep: 13 year olds need 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.14-17 year olds need 8-10 hours of sleep per night with consistent bed and wake –up times. Turning off technology early in the evening will help ensure a good night’s sleep.

Visit: Caring for Kids – Teens and Sleep: Why Need It And How To Get Enough English / Francais

Spend quality time with your teen. Even a few minutes of your full attention really matters. Show affection, interest in their day and let them know you’re ready to listen when they need you.
Remind your teen of what they are good at already and help them to build more skills. There are certain traits, values and experiences that can help young people to succeed. The more assets your teen has, the more likely they are to thrive, make healthy choices, and avoid harmful behaviours.

High school often has new routines and expectations. Talk with your teen’s teachers as they can suggest ideas to help your teen do well in class and in school. Schools appreciate when parent and caregivers get involved, so check out the next school council meeting. Encourage your teen to join school activities too. Sports and groups as a way to meet and be connected to others, help build self-esteem and confidence.
Teens often want to have the freedom to make their own decisions. When they have a problem, try not to jump in and solve it because this is a skill they need to develop. Be available to your teen when they want to talk and ask a few questions to check in on how they are doing and understand their point of view. Come up with a plan together for unexpected situations like needing a ride home and handling peer pressure. When you are fair, approachable and predictable, teens learn to over time to be responsible, think about the needs of others and are less likely to have behavior problems. Some teens may want to talk to someone other than a parent. Help them make connections with other trusted and caring adults to build their network of support.
Watch your teen’s efforts and comment on what they are doing well, how they are improving every day. Take care of your own needs as well by doing things you enjoy and role modelling a healthy lifestyle.

Watch these videos:

Communication With Teenagers

Building Relationships With Teenagers


Caring for Kids – How to Talk to Your Teen English / Francais

Triple P Positive Parenting Program English / Francais

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