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The Importance of Guidance for Teens

by Barbie Carpenter

Your teenager craves independence. She wants to seek out activities that interest her, establish relationships with peers who she connects with and choose a personal style that represents her. While you should your teen to enjoy some independence as she matures, she also needs parental guidance. Guidance is particularly important now, as your teen faces serious choices that can impact her health, well-being and future. Understand the advantages of parental guidance for teens, and continue to be a supportive parent for your maturing child.

Answering Questions

As your teen achieves more independence, he faces a world filled with challenges, issues and situations that might confuse him. Parents of teens can serve as knowledgeable sources of information, helping to answer questions that teens have about life, school or relationships. Thus, parental guidance creates a less intimidating, less confusing world for your teen, as you are able to answer his questions.

Making Smart Choices

Parents can also help guide their teen to make smart choices. More than ever, your teen will face many important decisions. Peer pressure might tempt your teen to try alcohol, sneak out of the house or engage in risky sexual behavior. As teens progress to their senior year of high school, they have to make decisions about their future, whether they are going to college, traveling or starting full-time work. Even more, teens face evolving relationships as they mature, including romantic relationships, which present new challenges. Your teen can make smart choices about his health, education and relationships with your help.

Feeling Supported

Your guidance helps your teen feel supported and secure in himself and his home environment. Make this support clear by showing interest in your teen's life. Listen to what your teen says, and ask questions. Check in daily about your teen's feelings, concerns, schoolwork and friendships. By establishing open lines of communication, your teen will feel supported and, as a result, be more likely to approach you with questions or for advice.

Respecting Boundaries

Throughout your teen's childhood, she has had to follow rules that you have established. During the teen years, you have to strike the right balance between giving your teen some independence and continuing to establish boundaries that keep your teen safe. Thus, parental guidance at this age continues to teach your teen the importance of respecting boundaries. Talk to your teen about house rules -- curfews and chores, for example -- and ask for her input. By working with her to establish fair and clearly understood rules, you guide your teen while respecting her growing independence.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

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