How to Connect With Your Kids

Learn how to have better conversations with your teen, be a better listener, and build a stronger bond. Encourage healthy risks – and find out how much you really know about his friends.

Articles and Guides

  • Why It’s Important to Talk with Your Teens

    As your teen begins to gain self-confidence and follow his or her own agenda, your job as a parent gets more challenging. Teens can be prone to unpredictable and sometimes risky behavior – including experimentation with drugs – during these critical years. But you're still the biggest influence in your teen's life.

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  • How to Talk with Your Teenager

    Teens say that parents are the most important influence when it comes to drugs and alcohol. That’s why it’s important to talk — and listen — to your teen. A lot. Take a walk or go for a drive with him. When there’s not much eye contact, he won’t feel like he’s under a microscope.  Here’s a look at how brain development can affect teen communication, plus advice on how to talk with your teenager.

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  • Talking and Active Listening With Your Teen

    Check out active listening and “I” statements in action. Get some practice here first, then try it with your teen.

     

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  • 8 Ways to Talk With Your Teen about Drugs and Alcohol

    Talking to your teen about substance abuse doesn't have to be difficult. References to drugs and alcohol appear in headlines, sitcoms, movies and advertisements. Take advantage of these opportunities to start a conversation with your child.

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  • 7 Ways to Connect with Your Teen Using Technology

    With 87 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 using the Internet -- half of them daily -- and 19 million teens running their social lives via text messages, according to Teens and Technology, a 2005 study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, it's more important than ever that parents become technology savvy. By staying on top of the latest technology trends and monitoring the way your teens use technology, you can help guide them away from risky online behavior and develop a stronger parent-teen relationship.

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  • How to Build a Strong Bond with Your Teen

    It's important to have a strong bond with your child, especially during adolescence, because it helps reduce his or her chance of engaging in risky behavior. Even though your child might be pulling away, itching for more independence, deep down he wants to be involved in the family and know that you still love and care for him. Here are ways to build and maintain a strong bond with your teen.

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  • Staying Involved With Your Teen

    Remember when your parents drilled you with questions about your plans? As annoying as it is to teens, keeping tabs is one of the most important things we can do as parents. If fact, kids who don't have an adult checking in are four times more likely to use drugs than those who do.

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  • Encourage Risk Taking and Giving Back

    Teen brains and bodies are bursting with energy and idealism — even if it doesn’t always show. Don’t fight it; guide it! Urge your teen to take healthy risks. He may develop a stronger brain and some valuable life skills in the process.
    Taking healthy risks

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  • Help Your Teen Focus on Healthy Risks

    There may be lots of healthy (and cheap!) opportunities right in your community – trying out for a sports team or auditioning for a play, for example. Try getting ideas at the library, his school, or your place of worship. Or from sites like these:

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  • Pick Your Battles

    When you learn to recognize typical teen behavior, you can control your automatic reactions to it and communicate clearly in times of conflict. (It also helps to realize that unhealthy friendships and sleep deprivation can alter a teen’s mood, judgment and behavior in big ways, too.)

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