Top 10 Tips for Parenting Teens


Develop Mutual Trust

If your teenager suddenly becomes forgetful when asked details about friends or school, don't fret. Despite the mumbled, monosyllabic answers, your teen wants -- and needs -- to connect with you.

Sometimes your teen needs you to temporarily step away from your management role and begin to act more as a consultant. Embracing your new position will pave the way for mutual trust. Sure, you'll still set limits for your teen, but you'll also do a lot of listening [source: Wolf]. Even if the truth is not easy to hear, your job is to stay calm. Why? If you freak out, your teen will clam up and you won't gain valuable information for future decisions. For example, if three months earlier your teen admitted her friend missed curfew by four hours, you'll know that you should monitor any sleepovers at this friend's house.

The subtleties behind your parenting strategy should be paired with clearly communicated ground rules. Clear boundaries build trust and make transitions easier -- whether it's from middle to high school or from high school to college. When a teenager is the product of a consistent, calm and disciplined environment, it breeds security, self-esteem and good decision-making. The byproduct of these qualities is trust.

Rest assured, your teen will probably violate your trust at some point. But keep it in perspective. A lie or two doesn't necessarily indicate a crisis and shouldn't be extrapolated into a pattern for adulthood. Teens live (and make their mistakes) in the moment [source: Riera].