As our teens begin to assert their independence, it is important for us to continue to walk with them.
Get to know and even make friends with your teen's friends, opening up your home for them to gather if possible. This is a great way to stay connected to your teen's world. If you observe questionable peer influence, calmly and sensitively share your concerns with your teen before bringing them up in front of their friends.
Even your most docile child may now challenge your authority, giving rise to parent-child conflicts. No matter how hard it is, keep making the effort to communicate with your teen, even when they don't want to talk. Drop them a note or message to let them know you are available for them and genuinely interested in their lives. Give them your full attention when they talk and hold back comments and criticism until you sense the door of their heart opened to you.
Our teens need to know the qualities that ultimately matter in a relationship - shared values, common goals and good communication are far more important than looks, money and romantic attraction. Start by sharing with your teen about how you met your spouse.
Parenting is beginning to evolve from just telling our child what to do and how to do it, to coaching and guiding them. The strong foundation that you've laid in their lives through training them in the early years will protect them from harm and help them make good decisions. But even if you missed those years, it's never too late. Start now by getting to know your teenager.