The teen years can be a difficult time for both your teen and you. But you can also experience times of pride, laughter, and closeness. The world changes so quickly that you may not recognize the problems your teen may face. Some issues teens face may be choices that involve alcohol and drugs, high-risk sexual behavior, or violence. Some teens may also be dealing with stress or depression.
You can help your teen make good choices by understanding teen issues. Ask your teen to tell you about anything that bothers him or her, such as bullying or a concern about a friend's actions. And have ongoing talks about your teen's everyday activities.
- Talk to your teen.
Set clear boundaries about what is acceptable.
- Remember to listen.
The best way to find out the issues your teen faces is to keep discussion open and listen to what he or she talks about.
- Stay involved.
Know who your teen's friends and their parents are. And know where your teen is and what your teen does in his or her spare time. Show interest and demonstrate that you care.
- Support his or her interests.
Ask questions about which subjects and activities excite him or her, and try to expand on them. Work with your teen to find new interests.
- Don't panic.
Just because your teen expresses a desire for something you disagree with, don't jump to conclusions. Be willing to say: "The problem is ours. We are worried because of ... "
- Set clear limits about media use.
Social networking sites and texts can be used to bully or sexually harass teens. Internet access without parental control can give your teen access to pornography, violence, hate sites, and intense advertising. Here are some online safety tips:
- Talk to your teen about the potential dangers of the internet and how to treat others with respect when online.
- Remind your teen that things posted on social media can still be found, even if deleted later.
- Tell your teen not to give out personal or banking information.
- Tell your teen not to meet with an online contact. Your teen may not realize he or she may be communicating with a sex offender.
- Use filters or other parental control features and block certain websites.
- Check the Web browser history and discuss any concerns with your teen.
Current as of: August 3, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics