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Parent Responsibilities for Teen Issues

by Martha Holden

Most parents, according to the Better Health Channel website have a problem accepting that their teens have different standpoints from theirs in terms of values, beliefs and attitudes. A parent’s responsibility in a teen’s life begins by acknowledging these differences and respecting her teen's opinions. The approach enables parents to assume their responsibilities in helping their teen girls and boys without being overwhelmed or raising conflicts in the family.

Sex Education

For most parents, talking to children about sex is one of the most difficult and scratchy topics. Sex education should continue at home because children may not get all the facts from school. Look for an appropriate moment to initiate the topic; for instance, when music or a television program raises the issue, use it as a catalyst for the discussion. Tell your children about the effects and risks of premarital sex, such as sexually transmitted diseases, emotional pain and unwanted pregnancies. Present a combination of facts, values, religious ethics and opinions.

Freedom and Rules

As a parent, you might be tempted to give all the rules without giving room for teen independence. Understand that teenagers want a sense of independence, and it is normal for you to struggle on how much independence you should allow them. Instead of frustrating yourself trying to curtail his freedom, help the teen through the process by making decisions together and coming up with outcomes that are acceptable to both of you. For instance, you can make rules for attending parties, ground rules for holding them and coming back home. It is also important to discuss time for household chores and for leisure activities so that you can strike a balance between teen responsibilities and freedoms.

Healthy Lifestyle

While teens value their physical appearance, they might not engage in activities that promote fitness. During the teenage years, your children start to make dietary choices and tend to rely on sugary and fatty diets that lead to weight gain and lack of proper development. Encouraging healthy diet and physical activity is a responsibility that many parents overlook. Encourage your children to take part in sports and games, because in addition to providing fitness opportunities, they are stress relievers and help release negative energy. Teach your children the importance of adequate sleep, while promoting a diet full of fruits and vegetables.

Problem Solving

Teens are often faced by a myriad of problems -- bullying, peer pressure, violence, homework or conflict with teachers and peers. Communication with your teen is the foundation of solving her issues. Have a dialogue where both of you suggest a solution and find time to track the progress. As a parent, identify the telltale signs of delinquency or violence. If the problems are grave, consult a professional or a counselor instead of trying to solve the problem on your own, advises HelpGuide.org. Seeking professional help also ensures that you are in a healthy mental and emotional state to deal with such problems so that your attitude or stress levels will not make it worse for the troubled or depressed teen.

About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.

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