Top 10 Tips for Parenting Teens


Say 'No' to the Fashion Police

It's a fine line: You don't want to control your teen's every fashion move, but then again, sometimes you do.

Teens are especially willing to explore changes to their clothing or appearance, often in response to -- or against -- peer pressure [source: Alexander]. Your role is to guide your teen's choices, without becoming the fashion police.

Begin by doing a little soul-searching. If you don't want your teenager to wear clothing you consider "odd," then figure out why you feel this way. If your teen is selecting her clothing for its "barely there" fabrics, then it's time to institute a family dress code. On the other hand, some experts recommend that if you don't like your teen's fashion sense simply because you think it reflects poorly on you or your family as a whole, you should consider making a few compromises.

Why should you consider this more hands-off approach? The clothing choices made by teenagers are closely bound to their self-concepts, so they use fashion as a means of self-expression. If you've ever noticed your teenager wearing certain styles to fit a theme (like donning a sweatshirt and distressed blue jeans to watch a basketball game), it's their way of feeling more confident and capable in varied situations [source: Piacentini]. Clothing is an essential social tool for teenagers. Wearing varied styles helps a teen "try on" different aspects of her personality. It's not much different from dating, as we explain on the next page.