Real Talk     Home and Family     K-12     Health Guide    

Top tips for parenting teens



Parenting expert offers her best advice on surviving life with teenagers

Top tips for parenting teens

Parenting a teenager can be an uphill battle. In addition to the problems you may have faced in your youth, a new host of issues are presented by texting, sexting, social media and cyberbullying, point out experts.

“Say the right thing and you’ll open up lines of communication. Say the wrong thing and it could lead to a fight or silent treatment,” says Joani Geltman, child development and parenting expert and author of “A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out.”


Geltman offers her “Top Ten Parenting Tips.”

• Encourage teens to think independently. Restrain yourself from being chief problem solver, so they can make good choices even when you’re not around.

• Try not to ask a zillion questions. You won't get the answers you want anyway. Engage them in a conversation on a neutral topic before you start the interrogation.

• Refrain from going on the "lecture circuit." Model what it means to be a good person so you don't need to tell them. They will "get it."


• As uncomfortable as it may be, you have to talk about sex. Do it with honesty, and understanding, not judgment. Talk about your own experiences when you were a teen, especially those moments of which you are the least proud so that they will feel freer to share their questions and worries.

• When it comes to alcohol and drugs, make your house safe. Again, have honest discussions, sans judgment. Help them to anticipate new situations and problem solve about ways to stay safe.

• Don’t rule with an iron fist. This may have worked when the kids were younger, but teens need to be part of the rule making. Most kids are actually pretty reasonable when given the opportunity to have some control.


• With their input, set limits with phones, computers and video games. Just like you let them eat only a few pieces of Halloween candy a night when they were younger, you need to see these devices in the same way.

• Express your appreciation and pride in your teens. Not for the good test scores or grades necessarily, but for moments of kindness and hard work. There’s nothing more important than an out of the blue "you're a good kid, and maybe I don't tell you that enough."

• Find some fun with your teen. Hang out, watch TV, order pizza, go to the driving range, play a video game, listen to music, go get manis and pedis, bake a cake, take the dog for a walk, go shopping -- anything that may give you a moment, maybe just a moment, of sweetness with your kid.

When it comes to teenagers, the stakes can be high, with scary, emotional and even legal consequences. By being open and receptive, you can help navigate these treacherous waters.

Article courtesy of State Point



More Real Talk


  • How to prevent cyberbullying with technology

    Who is at risk and what you can do

    Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent among children and teens, as young people now spend more time on phones, computers and digital devices. About 6 in 10 teens have been bullied or harassed online, according to Pew Research Center. read more »
  • Teenage Period Cramps

    How much pain alerts to medical conditions?

    More often than not prevailing period stigma holds adolescents back from expressing concerns about severe menstrual pains. Experts say that debilitating cramps are not normal and might be caused by underlying medical problems like endometriosis. read more »
  • Mother Shares Her Journey with Heroin-Addicted Daughter

    Read the gripping new book about this family

    September is National Recovery Month and one mom has shared her journey with her daughter struggling with addiction. read more »
  • Learn How to Help Your Struggling Adolescents Navigate Change and Overcome Anxiety

    Parenting expert Erica Komisar has a new book that can assist you

    Adolescence is a notoriously complicated time for kids as well as their parents. Plus, the epidemic of mental health disorders in young people has made parenting today even more challenging. But it’s not too late. Parents of adolescents can still have a profound impact on the health and well-being of their children. read more »
  • How to help high-achieving students manage stress

    Tips and insight for parents

    School administrators at Howard County Public Schools (HCPS) in Maryland were surprised to learn that high-achieving students wanted to get rid of class rank—a measure of student success that weighs higher-level classes differently when calculating grade point average. The class ranking system created an unnecessary burden, students said, and discouraged them from taking the classes they really wanted. read more »
  • Tips to keep your teen active in lockdown

    Physical activity is more crucial than ever

    Wintertime isolation during Covid makes physical activity even more of a challenge, but it’s important for everyone, especially teens, to get the blood flowing, here are some helpful tips. read more »
  • Best uses of downtime for teens

    Does your teen feel better after downtime or worse?

    All downtime is not created equal. Some is more restorative, some not so much. Learn how you can help your teen rest well. read more »
  • Teen attitude blues

    Why is my teen depressed and what can I do about it?

    The teen years can be distinctly difficult for a variety of reasons, particularly if your teen has a bad attitude. Here are some ways you can better understand and help your teen. read more »
  • How mindfulness can help your stressed teen

    Everyone take a deep breath. You all will feel better

    Teens report more stress than adults, a fact that will surprise no one. This article includes some helpful ways to cope. read more »
  • How do I know what boundaries to set for my teen

    Definitely not easy to pick your battles

    Teens are hardwired to test limits. This article includes some helpful tips on how best to meet the challenges or to let things go. read more »