Cheat Sheet for Parenting a Teen

• Adolescence is a stage
• It has developmental and psychological tasks
 Prefrontal cortex development- problem solving, impulse control, decision making
 Group of friends is primary importance, formation of own identity, separating from
• Recognize and support development of new skills- don’t take it personally
• Support development of resiliency- natural consequences and failing are good things- don’t deprive them of these
• Congratulations! You’re not cool, don’t try to be
• Set boundaries- teens job to test, your job to keep and adjust with new growth and development
• Be intentional about being present
• Recognize you have different items of importance (clean room) than your teen (connecting with friends)-respect
these differences of priorities
• Ask questions
• Focus on a “third object”- not you or your teen, but something else, like a sport or a friend
• Say no
• Model respect
• Be present at events
• Don’t attempt to live out what you weren’t or were via your teen
• Be present when friends or dates are over
• Pull romantic interests in, don’t reject
• Ask about your teens perceptions
• Listen with respect
• Don’t minimize feelings
• Give emotional crisis 24 hours before reacting (unless someone is in danger of harm)
• Keep High expectations and provide high respect and support


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