Here is a checklist of actions and activities that can help you stay on top of parenting a teen:
______ Talk to your teen’s teacher or counselor at least once every semester.
If you can’t connect in person, you can always set up a phone conference call or email the teacher.
______ If your teen is involved in activities like band, choir or sports, make sure you attend at least one event.
If at all possible, attend all major functions, like concerts, opening night or a play-off game. And if you can’t attend, let your teen know you wish you could be there. After the event, call or text to ask how it went.
______ Make sure your teen invites friends over to your home.
That way, you can get to know who they are spending time with.
______ If your teen is going over to a friend’s house, especially for a party, make sure you call and talk to the parents.
If it’s a party, make sure there will be a chaperone, or offer to come over to chaperone yourself.
______ Eat dinner as a family as often as possible.
This can be at home, or at a restaurant. Statistics show that the simple act of eating together as family helps teens stay out of trouble.
______ Try to have a conversation with your teen about important subjects like alcohol and drug use, sex and bullying once or twice a year.
You can always use a current news story to ease in to the conversation. Start by asking your teen what they think about the story or situation—ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.
______ Do a daily check in at the end of every day.
Ask your teen what the best part of their day was, and the worst. Be willing to share the same information with them.
______ Find a new opportunity that lets you connect with your teen every month or two.
It can be going for a walk after dinner, watching one of their TV shows, playing a game with them or taking a class together. Find out what they love to do and try to do that thing with them. The important thing is to follow their rules. If they run at a slower pace, run at a slower pace—and don’t try to coach them. Try to step in their shoes and see life from their perspective.
______ Talk about the good times you’ve had together.
Shared memories make for great conversations—and good feeling overall! Ask each family member what their favorite holiday memory is. Or what they enjoyed most last week? Then maybe make plans for a new activity to help build new memories!