You wish there was some comprehensive guide with teen advice to find all the answers you need easily and at your fingertips.
Unfortunately, raising teenagers is not as simple as we would like it to be, especially in our modern fast-paced, digital world.
Here are some common teen issues today:
- Sex & sexuality, including teen pregnancy
- Drug use & smoking
- Inappropriate Social Media & Internet Use
- Body image and other issues involving weight, such as eating disorders and distorted body image
- Distractibility: too much social media, video games, or smart phone use
Your teen may be dealing with these common teen issues or other various problems, but no matter what the matter is at hand, talking with your teen the smart way about tough topics is key.
We may not have a comprehensive guide, but we have some solid teen advice to make the difficult times a little smoother. We hope these are helpful tips that will make talking with your teen on tough topics a bit easier.
Who to Turn to For Teen Advice
First things first!
When your teen is struggling, who do parents turn to when they have difficulty raising teenagers? It’s crucial to have a good support network at hand as parents when tough times arise.
Speak to a trusted:
- A teacher that knows your child may be able to give you a window into his or her life during the school day
- Pediatrician or Family Doctor: Your teen’s doctor may know how to handle or who to send you to when consulting on tough teen issues
- Guidance Counselor or Trusted Family Spiritual Advisor: Both parties can give guidance and tips on how to approach your teen when your back is against the wall and may also know of programs or opportunities for your teen to help boost your teen’s self-esteem AND keep your teen out of trouble!
- Favorite Family Member: Does your teen have a favorite family member like an Uncle or Grandparent that he or she may confide in or simply enjoy spending time with? Seek their help to coax out the troubles in your teen’s heart and head.
Strategy: Talking With Your Teen on Tough Topics
Here are some tips to get through talking to your teen on awkward and difficult topics. Are you ready?
- Sex Education: Don’t expect the school to cover all bases. Use these tips to broach topics such as abstinence, safe sex, STI, pregnancy and more:
- Admit you’re feeling awkward about the talk. A little honesty can go a long way
- Watching a video or show together and sex comes up in the story line? Use it as a spring board to talk about sex
- Consider your teen’s perspective: Lecturing can shut your teen off. Consider and point out the various challenges and issues your teen will face through peer pressure. You may or may not want to share an experience you had and how you handled peer pressure when you were your teen’s age
- They say they’re ready: Your teen may think he or she is ready for sex and will share this. You can offer that while physically he or she may be ready, is he or she ready for the potential consequences, and we’re not just talking pregnancy or STI’s but also, emotionally.
- Identity: If your teen identifies secretly as an LGBT individual, now is the time to hear your teen out about his or her issues coming out even if it is not something you are comfortable with. If you shut down your teen now, you may lose him or her forever.
- Drugs & Alcohol: Asking your teen to be honest about any potential drug or alcohol use is a smart idea. Don’t get angry when your teen shares the truth or he or she may never speak again. Here are some more tips:
- Offer resources on the internet for your child to learn more about the effects of drug and alcohol use
- Offer your teen a ride from anywhere at any time—even late in the night—if someone he or she is with is under the influence or if your teen makes a mistake, for you to come get him or her
- Stay cool: remember, you were once a curious teen yourself
- Feelings: Ask your teen how he or she feels about drug or alcohol in general
No matter what the topic, stay cool and provide resources for your teen. If your teen refuses to talk, reach out to some of the people listed in the “who to turn to for teen advice” section. Most of all, try to remember your teen’s perspective and unique challenges.