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Presentation on theme: "THRIVING WITH YOUR TEEN"— Presentation transcript:

The study of adolescence is a relatively new area of human development research. Research, beginning in the 70’s, was often done with families and teens who were struggling with problem behavior. As a result of focusing on teens with problems, we got the message that the teen years were tough times for parents! In the 80’s and 90’s, studies were done with a broader population who weren’t necessarily having problems and we’ve discovered some important things we want to share with parents. Recommendations made from the latest research on how parents and youth can thrive throughout the teen years. Mike Coyne – Minnesota Institute of Public Health

2 Teens will live up to our expectations Positive or Negative...
WHAT WE USED TO BELIEVE ABOUT ADOLESCENCE The teen years are full of conflict and rebellious behavior Peers are more influential than parents Parents need to crack down or give up in order to survive WHAT WE KNOW NOW Problem behavior, family conflict, and psychological problems are no more common in adolescence than in any other time Parents who have strong connections with their teens really do have influence on their teens, peer pressure is overrated Parenting style matters – Positive Parenting works best

3 POSITIVE PARENTING Let’s talk about “Positive Parenting”, or also known as “Authoritative Parenting”.

4 You Make the Difference!
RESEARCH SAYS Teens do best when they have a solid relationship with their parents. The Journal of the American Medical Association states: “…parent connectedness is the single healthiest force in the lives of U.S. teenagers.” HUMAN CONNECTION is critical for kids!

5 Positive Parents... NURTURE by being supportive, warm and encouraging
DISCIPLINE by teaching how to behave, set and enforce limits, and monitor behavior RESPECT by encouraging teens to develop their own opinions and beliefs, model civility and allow privacy Nurture Discipline What does positive parenting look like? Respect

6 Positive Parenting is Ideal
POSITIVE PARENTING is warm, supportive and encouraging while being firm, consistent and clear with limits and boundaries. HIGH Nurturance HIGH Expectations HIGH Respect DOMINATING PARENTING is harsh, punitive and rigid. LOW Nurturance HIGH Expectations LOW Respect “I’m important in my teen’s life. We have some good times and some bad times, but I’m there for the long run.” “I need to really clamp down now that he’s a teen.. If you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” PERMISSIVE PARENTING is inconsistent enforcement of rules, or no rules at all and a need to be a pal, more than a parent. HIGH Nurturance LOW Expectations MODERATE Respect We need to look at parenting, from the perspective different of parenting styles. Research done by Dr. Lawrence Steinberg at Temple University about parenting styles finds: 20 to 25% of parents use a Positive approach to parenting 20% or parents are Dominating 20% are Permissive and 40% are Unengaged This is a major concern. Unengaged parents provide the least protection physically and emotionally for their teens, and this is the most commonly practiced parenting style. UNENGAGED PARENTING is inconsistent presence in a child’s life - teens raise themselves. LOW Nurturance LOW Expectations LOW Respect “I really want to enjoy parenting my teen. It’s important for them to fit in and have what they want, and not have too many rules. We get along better that way.” “It’s time to let go now that my child’s grown up. It’s time to get my needs met. He can take care of himself.”

7 Positive Parents Provide LIMITS, Give clear RULES & BOUNDARIES while
Positive Parents Provide LIMITS, Give clear RULES & BOUNDARIES while ENCOURAGING INDEPENDENCE... RESEARCH SAYS: Teens raised by POSITIVE parents: Do better in school Have lower rates of depression and stress Are less likely to engage in risky behavior Have better social skills Are more respectful Deal better with conflict Teens raised by positive parents have better outcomes Positive parenting has been shown to be the most effective parenting style. This is true across different cultural, racial and economic groups.


9 Teens Need Rules FIRM RULES Some rules are firm and not to be changed whether your teen agrees with them or not. These rules are understood by both parents and teens. Use firm rules when: Physical or Emotional Health and Safety is at stake The Family’s Values are at stake FLEXIBLE RULES Some rules are open for discussion and can be negotiated, waived or changed, if there is a good reason. Use flexible rules when: It’s not a health and safety issue The issue does not affect or compromise family’s values Examples of FIRM RULES: No drinking alcohol Always wear a seat belt Go to school Examples of FLEXIBLE RULES: Issues of style: such as clothing, hairstyle, etc… Choice of activities – within limits

10 “Because I say so!” …What’s wrong with saying that?
EXPLAIN WHY When parents arbitrarily lay down the law - without explaining why or listening to their teen’s point of view, they will get nagging and whining or worse, lying and doing things behind your back. THE KEY Keep your rules & expectations clear Involving your teen in the process of setting rules is a great way to help her learn acceptable behavior and make decisions when you’re not there.

11 “Will rules make my teen rebel?”
HAVING RULES Most teens appreciate having rules even when they protest your rules and authority THE KEY Have rules that make sense Rules are one way to let your teen know you care. Many teens admit that when their parents are ‘strict’, it’s “for their own good.”

12 MONITOR & REDUCE RISKS One of the really key components of positive parenting is MONITORING

13 Think Lifelong Health The teen years are some of the healthiest years of human life. THE CHALLENGES COME FROM RISKY BEHAVIORS SUCH AS: Tobacco Use Drinking Alcohol Drug Abuse Sexual Activity Poor Nutrition Violence (physical fighting, use of weapons or dating violence) Unintentional accidents (car or motorcycle crashes, sports injuries, or bicycle accidents) When parents and other adults help teens avoid these risks, they are setting the stage for lifelong health.

14 Monitor and Stay Involved Know WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN
RESEARCH SAYS: Teens feel more secure and are involved in less risky behaviors when one or both of their parents are present in the home at least one of these times. When your teen... gets up in the morning comes home from school evening meal time (with TV off!) when she/he goes to bed TIPS: Be involved with your teen: Know WHO they hang out with Know WHAT they’re doing Know WHERE they are Know WHEN they’ll be home Know HOW they’re doing - Use your time together to LISTEN and Share the Learnings of the Day.

15 Reduce the Risk of Substance Abuse, Violence & Sexual Activity
TIPS: Deliver clear “No Use” messages about drugs, alcohol, tobacco and engaging in violent or sexual activity Speak with your teens EARLY and OFTEN about the consequences of risky behaviors Put cable locks on your firearms and remove access to drugs, alcohol and tobacco If your teen dates – encourage GROUP dating We know from research that the best predictor of alcohol and drug use is the extent to which teens believe their parents tolerate these activities. Your disapproval of use stated clearly and firmly makes a difference.

16 Blue Fish!!! PLAN AHEAD Give your teens permission to use you as an excuse when they’re in over their head Have a plan for how teens can bail out of unsafe situations- Talk with and act out scenarios with your teen IN ADVANCE One way you can help protect your teen is to help prepare them for difficult situations. Have a Family Code Word, like “Blue Fish” – it means – “Get me out of this situation NOW!” No questions asked!

17 Do peers have more influence than I do with my teen?
No, YOU are the major influence in your teen’s beliefs and behaviors throughout the teen years & young adulthood, provided you have a strong connection with your teen. Your teen will not choose a peer group randomly and not all peer groups are bad Your teen will tend to choose friends who have values similar to their family There tends to be some experi- mentation with peer group choice, this is a normal process of ‘trying on’ different identities Peers are a big influence on clothing, activities, & style – the focus is on “fitting in” Parents are a major influence on the values and life decisions teens make THE KEY Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents Friends are very important to teens. Parents need to balance family time and their teen’s time with friends.

18 Give your teen hope for the future
RESEARCH SAYS: School connectedness is associated with better emotional health, higher academic aspirations and performance, as well as less risk taking behaviors. TIPS: Be clear early on that attending school is important - this is a firm non-negotiable rule. It is more important than employment, sports or other extra curricular activities. Keep in touch with school – attend parent-teacher conferences, know your teen’s class schedules, pay attention to their grades. Make homework part of the family routine. Create time, space, and the expectation that homework is completed. If you have concerns, contact your teen’s teachers and school counselor.

19 Discussion: What are some ways to monitor teens and respect their need to practice independence?

20 PARENT WITH RESPECT The foundation of positive parenting, is a respectful relationship between parents and teens.

21 Teach Respect by Being Respectful… Allow teens freedom of thought and expression
RESEARCH SAYS Teens do better when parents are clear about rules and monitor behavior. BUT... Teens are negatively affected when parents try to control their beliefs or don’t allow them to express their feelings Teens need to question and debate rules. This is how they discover who they are and what they believe. It’s a necessary process of growing up and helps them become independent thinkers.

22 RESPECT is a Balancing Act between… Maintaining High Expectations for your Teen’s Behavior & Honoring their Need to Express their Own Thoughts and Feelings RESEARCH SAYS: Teens have higher self esteem and confidence when: They are allowed to discover who they are and form their unique identity They are able to understand and express their emotions appropriately “It’s not my place to control how you think or feel, but I am responsible for keeping you safe and expecting you to behave appropriately.”

23 “Why Does She Always Question My Authority?”
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY It is common for teens to question rules and values. One lesson they learn by questioning you is to stand up for themselves in a safe place - at home. This teaches them the skills to stand up for themselves outside the home and to say no to things they don’t like. THE KEY Take care of yourself – physically and mentally – and seek support when needed. % of teens generally enjoy a healthy parent-teen relationship. Teen years are hardest on the parents

24 Crossing Paths... NORMAL TEEN DEVELOPMENT TAKES IT’S TOLL ON PARENTS AS THEY ADJUST TO: Physical and Sexuality Maturity, A growing circle of peers or romantic relationships, Distancing themselves emotionally, De-idolizing parents and seeing them as having faults, Questioning parents values, Wanting more of the family resources, and Establishing their own identity and life goals. Human development research finds that adolescence is often a time of transition, not only for the teen, but for parents as well. Many parents are facing life changes, at the same time their kids are going through the teen years. In the book Crossing Paths, Dr. Laurence Steinberg describes the challenges parents face: POTENTIAL EFFECTS FOR PARENTS: Marital conflict and dissatisfaction Lower self esteem Depression and anxiety Less satisfaction with work, family and life then when their children were younger

25 Parents, Stay the Course….
RESEARCH SAYS: The teen years are a time when BOTH parents and teens are renegotiating their relationship and creating a new future together. It’s a journey toward: The teen’s independence & freedom from parental control An ongoing connection between parent and teen TIPS FOR PARENTS AND TEENS: Your Teen’s task is to become their own person WHILE maintaining and redefining connections with you and others, in order to move toward adulthood. Teen’s report that they don’t want to become DISTANT from their parents, but for their relationship to become DIFFERENT, honoring and accommodating their new capabilities and responsibilities.

26 Discussion: What are some ways your relationship with your teen/child has changed as they’ve grown?

27 When in Conflict Remember….
Don’t engage in “power struggles” that are about how to think, and who is right. Focus on the important issues of health and safety. Model the language and tone of voice you expect from your teen. Stay calm and remember you are in charge - You are the adult Avoid conflicts when you are pressed for time - often issues can be dealt with later and this gives you time to be creative in finding a win-win approach. Be realistic about how your teen acts - they simply don’t have the skills and experience you have in dealing with disagreements. Find ways to say “YES” as well as “no”. Look for common ground where you and your teen agree, Don’t forget your sense of humor - it’s your best tool for putting issues in perspective. Conflict is part of any relationship. Here are some strategies for dealing with your teen when you don’t agree.

28 A Model for Solving Problems Together
When preparing to discuss an issue with your teen, think of the words I CARE, I SEE, I FEEL, LISTEN, I WANT and I WILL… it will help you organize your thoughts and get to some healthy resolution. I CARE — express warmth and love I SEE — state the facts I FEEL — share your feelings LISTEN — what are your thoughts? I WANT — state a plan of action I WILL — say what you’ll do to help out Sometimes we need to address tough issues with our teens. Here is a model that can help begin these conversations and keep the dialogue going. I CARE —“I love you and I’m concerned.” I SEE —“Last night you came home for dinner an hour late” I FEEL —“I was worried and angry that you didn’t check in with me” LISTEN — (You could say nothing… let them explain…) I WANT —“Next time, I want you to call me ahead of time if you’re going to be late” I WILL —“I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m going to be late too” (monitoring is being modeled)

29 “What if my teen won’t talk to me?”
Becoming more private and keeping thoughts and feelings to themselves is common in adolescence, especially for boys. Find regular times to be together - just you and your teen Don’t interrupt - Listen. Be available by stating, “You can always talk to me when you’re ready.” OPEN THE CONVERSATION BY ASKING: Tell me about… What do you think… How would you do that… Feel like talking…? THE KEY Be available when they want to talk - and learn to listen Teens really want to be heard, but parental opinions and advice can get in the way.

30 Never Give UP! They need you now, more than ever
Take inventory of your own attitude - Ask yourself: “What can I do differently to support my teen?” Sometimes teens just need a little tenderness... Sometimes you can’t be the answer - Find a healthy adult friend who can help be the liaison between you and your teen No matter how hard it is - focus on what’s working and as much as possible - see the strengths Seek out helpful and proven community resources It’s OK to ask for help…the earlier, the better…. Nobody can do this on their own…..The best way to help your teen is to help yourself!

31 FOR MORE INFORMATION… Visit our web site:
Contact information: Mike Coyne:

32 Resources L. Steinberg and A. Levine. “You and Your Adolescent”. New York: Harper Perennial The Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota, Mpls, MN. Growing Absolutely Fantastic Youth, A Guide to Best Practices in Healthy Youth Development, Spring, 2000. Resnick, M.D., Bearman, P.S., Bauman, K.E., Harris, K.M., Jones, J., Tabor, J., Beuhring, T., Sieving, R.E., Shew, M., Ireland, M., Bearinger, L.H., & Udry, J.R. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. JAMA, 278 (10), Simpson, A. Rae (2001). “Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action”. Boston: Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public Health. Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative, Roseville, MN. Investing In Youth: Research Based Recommendations for Parents, Schools and Communities in Suburban Ramsey County, 2000 University of Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota, “The Growing Season: A Parent’s Guide to Positive Parenting of Teens” (Video and Parent Handbook), 2000.

33 Recommended Books to Read
You and Your Adolescent: A Parent’s Guide for Ages 10 to 20, Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. and Ann Levine, HarperPerennial, New York, 1997. The Growing Season: A Parent's Guide to Positive Parenting of Teens (video and Parent handbook), University of Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota, To order call (800)  Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen, David Walsh, Ph. D., Free Press, New York, 2004 No, Why Kids of All Ages Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It, David Walsh, Ph. D., Free Press, New York, 2007 Crossing Paths: How Your Child’s Adolescence Triggers Your Own Crisis, Laurence Steinberg and Wendy Steinberg, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1994. It's Perfectly Normal - A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, Robie H. Harris, Cambridge, MA, Candlewick Press,   The Roller Coaster Years: Raising Your Child Through the Maddening, Yet Magical Middle School Years, Charlene C. Giannetti and Margaret Sagarese New York, Broadway Books, 1997. Parenting 911: How to Safeguard and Rescue Your 10 to 15 Year Old, Charlene C. Giannetti and Margaret Sagarese, New York, Broadway books, 1999. Thriving With Your Teen, Initiative for Violence Free Families and Communities in Ramsey County, To order call (800)


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