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Helping Your Child Build Inner Strength - How Can You Help Teens Build Inner Strength?

It often seems like teenagers never listen, but they do. That's why it's so important to remember that you are still the primary role model, even as your child grows older.

The single most important thing you can do to help your teen is to show that you love him or her no matter what.

Teenagers may be growing up, but they still need to:

  • Feel safe and loved.
  • Learn social skills.
  • Learn to handle stress.
  • Discover and develop their special talents.

Help your teen learn about important issues and be prepared for increasing responsibilities. Give teens freedom to figure things out in their own way within the boundaries you have set. Parents walk a fine line between respecting a teen's need for independence and privacy and making sure that he or she does not make serious mistakes.

  • Help your child learn more mature ways of thinkingHelp your child learn more mature ways of thinking. Let your teen make as many of his or her own decisions as possible. This includes involving your teen in setting household rules and schedules. Consider giving an allowance to help teach your child about financial responsibility.
  • Help your child learn how to bounce back after setbacks. After acknowledging the hurt or disappointment your teen may feel, encourage him or her to view setbacks as opportunities for growth, learning, and perseverance. Ask your teen what, if anything, he or she could have done differently and how, in a similar situation in the future, things could be handled better.
  • Spend time with your teen. Make time in your schedule for you and your teen to do something together or just talk.
  • Address problems and concernsAddress problems and concerns. Build trust gradually so your teen will feel safe talking with you about sensitive subjects. Knowing when and how to interfere in a teen's life is a major ongoing challenge of parenthood.
  • Encourage community service. Both your teen and community members are helped when your teen volunteers. Your teen gets the chance to explore how he or she connects with others. While helping peers, adults, and other people, your teen can gain new skills and new ways of looking at things.
  • Offer strategies to avoid tobacco, drugs, and alcoholOffer strategies to avoid tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. Set firm, fair, and consistent limits for your teen. Help him or her understand the immediate and long-lasting results of substance use, such as falling grades and poor health during adulthood. Practice how to respond when a harmful substance is offered.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 18, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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