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5. Too Much, or Too Little, Discipline

Some parents, sensing a loss of control over their teens' behavior, crack down every time their child steps out of line. Others avoid all conflict for fear their teens will push them away.

You don't have to do either of those things. It's about finding a balance between obedience and freedom.

If you put too much emphasis on obedience, you may be able to make your teen or tween fall into line -- but at what price? Teens raised in rigid environments miss out on the chance to develop problem-solving or leadership skills -- because you're making the decisions for them.

Yet too little discipline doesn't help, either. Teens and tweens need clear structure and rules to live by as they start to explore the world outside.

As their parent, it's up to you to set your family's core values and communicate them through your words and actions. That's being an authoritative parent, an approach that "helps children develop the skills they need to govern themselves in appropriate ways," Lerner says.

Remember, your influence runs deeper than you may think. Most teens say they want to spend more time with their parents. Keep making time for your child throughout the tween and teen years. Even when it doesn’t show, you provide the solid ground they know they can always come home to.

Preparing for Middle School

Tips to help your tween cope with this exciting but risky time.
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