10 dos for parents of teens

How many frustrated parents are left seething after yet another row which ends with their teenager slamming out of the room?

Here Jay McGraw, 20, son of TV’s Dr Phil, lists 10 ways to help you understand and deal with your teen.

1. Have a clear boundary between your parent role and your friend role
You can be a friend to your child but sooner or later your parent role will clash. A teen should be able to tell a friend anything without being judged and parents just can’t do that because they care too much. Be a good friend, but remember, kids can find friends anywhere. Good parents are extremely rare.

2. Be involved
This means being there even when it isn’t easy or convenient and when they aren’t interested in having you around. It’s about knowing what’s going on in your teen’s life, heart and mind, and being there so they’ll come to you if they’re in trouble.

3. Make your teen accountable
It’s your responsibility to prepare your teens for life. Teach them that if they want a certain lifestyle they have to put some effort in to achieve it. It’s not about money, it’s about responsibility, independence and being able to stand on their own two feet. Give them an allowance for jobs, but don’t pay them if they don’t do what they’re supposed to. That’s teaching them how the world works.

4. Listen to them
This means listening and understanding, not hearing and judging. Even if they’re argumentative or disrespectful, don’t interrupt. Try to get the message that’s underneath. Often it’s a cry for help. Remember, you’re the grown up.

– Next: talk to your teens, even if they won’t listen

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