Teens: Guidelines For a Healthy Relationship

Adults have a hard enough time keeping their relationships healthy. For teenagers, who do not have the skills, insights and experience, it is so much more difficult.

Talk to your teens using the following criteria, as they are guidelines for a healthy relationship. Let them know that these are essential to keep any relationship happy and healthy.

  1. You should feel safe and comfortable expressing your feelings and needs, without fear of being reprimanded or belittled.
  2. You should support each other’s goals, encouraging in a non-competitive, accepting way.
  3. Decisions are made together, with respect given to each other’s opinions. No one person is superior to the other and there is a balance between giving and receiving.
  4. Conflicts are mutually resolved. There is a willingness to compromise so that no one person is left feeling wrong or devalued.
  5. You share common interests and ideals, but are able to pursue outside interests, including friends, hobbies, schooling, etc. There is a balance of closeness and separateness, yet when you are together, you are able to play and have fun.
  6. You maintain your autonomy, so that if you are left alone, you are able to function, taking care of all your responsibilities and commitments easily.

These may seem impossible to fulfill, but they really aren’t that difficult. After all, they are the inalienable rights we all deserve. Everyone needs to feel respected and valued for who they are, without compromise. Just remember that these guidelines are basic and if your teens feel they need to walk on egg shells or are intimidated if they speak their mind, they need to get out of the relationship – NOW!

Written by: Amy Sherman, Author/Dating & Relationship Coach/Therapist

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About the Author

Amy Sherman is a Dating & Relationship Coach and the founder of the Baby Boomers’ Network, a website geared to helping boomers transition through the challenges of midlife. She is the author of “99 Things Women Wished They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!” Go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com for more information.

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Five Secrets To Parenting Your Teens

Family enjoying meal at homeThe most common concerns parents have with their teens is how to communicate without dealing with power struggles and conflict. There are some positive approaches you can use which will get you the positive results you desire.

The first thing to do is understand the many challenges teens face at this age. There’s peer pressure, fitting in, appearance and popularity, not to mention doing well in school, extra-curricular activities and pleasing mom and dad. There’s a lot expected of teens and unless they have the most appropriate coping skills to handle things, they will fall victim to the pressure and you will suffer their wrath.

The following are 5 effective techniques you can use to keep things positive:

1. Develop a rapport

To develop a rapport with your teen, find something you can appreciate about them, like a talent you admire, a physical trait (beautiful blue eyes) or a unique quality they possess (sensitivity to others) and focus on it. Start your conversation by acknowledging their qualities and how fortunate they are to possess them. It will get the teens in a receptive mood and get you aligned on their side.

2. Listen with empathy

Many arguments can be avoided if you put yourself in their shoes for the moment and perceive the problems through their eyes. Be sincere by letting your teens know that you can appreciate how they feel and can actually feel their pain. If your children know they can trust you with their feelings, they’ll be more inclined to open up.

3. Always be the parent

Teens need guidance and support, but they don’t want to be controlled. Making demands on them only causes them to shut down. It is better to offer suggestions with a good reason behind the suggestion. In that way you will keep the dialogue going and keep their resistance down. Also, speak to your teen in a fair but firm tone, while redefining the expectations and consequences if rules are breached. This will offer consistency and structure and help them be accountable for their actions, attitudes and emotions.

4. Involve your teens

Involve your teens in the solution by encouraging original ideas. Get them thinking and solving problems themselves. This will boost their self-esteem, increase their self-worth, and give them pride in their decision-making abilities.

5. Take a genuine interest in their activities

Know who their friends are, and also what interests them outside of school. You want to show that you truly care about their lives, but that you are not overly intrusive.

Always watch for more serious warning signs that your teen may need more help than you can handle. Watch for changes in behavior (isolation, secrecy, changes in school grades, excessive sadness or depression, anger or violence) and seek immediate help with a mental health professional if needed.

Parents who give their teens the time to grow independently, yet offer encouragement and guidance, will find that their relationship will flourish through these exhaustive and challenging teen years and manifest itself into healthy, happy bonding.

Written by: Amy Sherman, Founder/Author/Relationship & Dating Coach

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About the Author

Amy Sherman is a therapist, relationship & dating coach and author. She wrote the ebook, “Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life” and “If Your Teen is Acting Out” Parenting Program. Go to http://www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com for more information.

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Surviving Teenhood

Beautiful  thoughtful young woman, questionsThe primary goal of the teen years is to achieve independence. Other goals include: finding a way to fit in; thinking about a career choice; and for many just making it through high school. For the process of the primary goal to occur, teens will start pulling away from their parents. They will pull away from the parent they are closest to first. Although capable of making decisions, a number of teens are not ready for the adjustment. Maturity levels vary amongst teens.

At this stage in life, teens are responsible for their choices, and although a parent is in part to blame when a teen makes a mistake, the bottom line is you are still responsible. People will make quick assessments of you when you make mistakes. People will also make a quick assessment of you by your appearance. Appearance can serve as a clue to your character and upbringing. It can be confusing when the most colorful dressers come from good families. Appearance may also signal whether you are a troublemaker, what type of work ethic you have, if there is parental involvement, and whether you have solid morals or values. Today there is a general, but limited, acceptance of a teen’s unique appearance, offering an opportunity to redefine a youth’s unusual style as individual, positive exploration and a harmless search for identity.

More and more young adults strive to be successful, some by trying to be a better athlete; a better student; and yes, even a millionaire. Many of them started at a young age with little or no instructions, just a dream. They start with a desire to do or become something and they act upon it. The definition of success lies within the individual. Parental guidance is key.

With the proper strategies in place, your teen can do or become anything he wants. Are you ready to help your teen do what it takes to become successful? Are they prepared to overcome the roadblocks to achieve success?

The first step towards success is to have absolute belief and faith in your teen’s abilities. Rome was not built in one day, and their future will not be formed in one day. Taking each day one step at a time and formulating the right plan of action will help you in creating the life that you both desire. Everything around you begins as a thought. It’s time to put those thoughts into reality.

Think of what you deeply desire in your life or where you want to be a year from now. How about 10 or 20 years from now? What changes have to take place? What do you need to know or learn? What spiritual, emotional, personal, financial, social or physical properties need to be addressed? The clearer you are with each of these dimensions, the sharper your vision. The clearer you are, the easier it will be to focus on making it happen.

Teach your teen that knowing why you want to achieve your goals is powerful. Identify the purpose of your goal to help you instantly recognize why you want that particular goal and whether it’s worth working toward. Knowing why you want something furnishes powerful motivation to see it through to the finish.

Written by: Michele Sfakianos, Registered Nurse & Award-Winning Author

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About the Author

Michele is a registered nurse, award-winning author, leading authority on parenting, speaker and professional copywriter.

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Talk To Your Teen!

Waiting roomAs a parent, those nights leading up to her turning thirteen and becoming a teenager can be exhausting. For years, he was a kid, your child. Your new teen now wants to know if he is supposed to automatically look or feel different, and your teen will wonder if he will enter the cool set of teens in the neighborhood—the teenhood. He or she will realize every piece of clothing is critical and will wonder what everyone else thinks about him or her. Believe it or not, your teen may wonder if you will still love, approve of, and accept him or her.

Teens will want to explore dangerous things, painful things, silly things, and illegal things. By having an open line of communication, you can help your teen to understand the consequences of exploring. Do you remember when you tried something new? Was the danger in that exciting? If it was for you, it will be for your teen as well.

Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with your teenager:

Communicate

Build the lines of communication. Always communicate in a positive manner. Never give them an “I told you so” response. Let them know they can talk to you about anything.

Be Respectful

Respect his or her opinion and take into account his or her thoughts and feelings. It’s important your teen knows you are listening.

Be An Active Listener

Engage in active listening. Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what is heard. Once you hear your teen’s concerns, you will be able to feel what he or she feels. Active listening gives the teen the opportunity to correct you. In other words: they talk, you listen, and you paraphrase what they said to you, and the teen tells you if you are correct. Doing so helps to fix any misunderstandings.

Be Honest

Be honest and direct when talking about sensitive subjects such as sex, drugs, drinking, and smoking.

Admit You Don’t Know It All

Be willing to admit you don’t know everything and that you’re not always right.

Do you know if your teen or pre-teen has explored with any substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or drugs? Would you know if your teen was in an abusive relationship, stealing, bullying, or contemplating suicide? Do you know the signs that a teenager exhibits when they need help? Signs such as stress, anxiety, lack of concentration, poor food and drink intake, personal hygiene changes, sleep disturbances, and lack of interest in social activities. Without communication, your teen may be suffering in silence.

We all know teens will still experiment despite our actions to prevent it, but at least we can be comfortable knowing we informed them of the dangers, and we can hope the knowledge of those dangers outweigh their curiosity. Be there for your teen and open the line of communication today. Let them know they can tell you anything – and without consequence.

Written by: Michele Sfakianos, Registered Nurse & Award-winning Author

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About the Author

Michele Sfakianos is a registered nurse, leading authority on parenting, speaker, copywriter and award-winning author.

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