Parenting Tips for the New Year

Actually, I wrote these tips about twenty years ago but they were recently reprinted in HomeWord’s January 2013 Parent Newsletter. Here they are for a whole new generation of parents:

Parenting adolescents can be a scary prospect, as kids get older and begin to create some distance between them and us. Still, it doesn’t have to be as scary as it may seem. There are some simple, yet powerful steps we can take in order to ensure our influence level remains high. Here are twelve tips you can use right away that will make your responsibilities as a parent a bit easier to manage.

  1. When your teenager comes home from school today, smile when he or she walks through the door. Do that several days in a row and your kid will actually look forward to coming home!
  2. Next time your teenager tries to be funny … laugh.
  3. Make a list of all the things your teenager does that makes you mad. Now, go through the list and cross off all the stuff that doesn’t really matter. Save your anger only for those things which have lasting moral consequences.
  4. Take your teenager out for breakfast or lunch once a week. Promise yourself that you won’t use that time to lecture or nag. Just listen and talk about good stuff.
  5. Invite your teenager’s friends to your house for pizza, soft drinks and a movie rental. Extra points if you can secure a big-screen TV or video projector.
  6. Ask your teenager to play his/her favorite music on your stereo. Listen and discuss the music with him or her. Find out why he/she likes it so much. Try to avoid criticism.
  7. Think of something positive you can say to your teenager today … and say it.
  8. Put a love note (from you) in your teenager’s backpack or lunch sack.
  9. Before you criticize your teenager’s behavior, try remembering your own teenage years. Chances are it will help you communicate better.
  10. Love your spouse. A strong family provides security for teenagers.
  11. Respect your teenager’s privacy. Snooping without a legitimate reason is a no-no.
  12. Communicate your plans to your teenager frequently. Let him/her know where you are, when you’ll be home, what you’re doing. This sets a good example that will encourage them to do the same thing for you.
Bonus tips:
  1. Be patient with your kids. Growing up takes time … but they will grow up.
  2. Learn to trust your kids more. The more trust you give them, the more opportunities they will have to prove themselves trustworthy.
  3. Keep your sense of humor. Healthy families are laughing families!
  4. Pray daily for your kids. Remember, God loves them even more than you do!

Do you think they still hold up after all these years? Any other tips that need to be added to this list?

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