When parenting your teen there are four main areas you want to consider negotiating with him/her: Their Room; Appearance; School Work; Peers.
You want each area to reflect as much of your teens efforts and personality as possible. Some safety issues may arise and this would obviously not be negotiable. Body piercings, dangerous peers and truancy are all examples of behaviors that are non-negotiable. Drugs, alcohol and self injurious behavior are not negotiable because danger is imminent. And, in these circumstances professional help should be sought. A boy who only spends time with female peers is an area that is negotiable and this behavior shouldn't be stopped by the parent. In terms of school work, it is important to realize that a teen owns their grades. Encouragement to do well and providing structure so productive study habits are formed is a good idea. When poor grades appear a parent should voice their disappointment but not punish a teen for a D or F. The poor grades themselves should serve as enough of a consequence to motivate the teen for the next semester. If your teen shows a pattern of indifference over several months then professional help should be sought. A teens room should be a private place where he/she can exercise their independence. Locked doors to a teens room should be prohibited. And, if your teen is dating the boundaries about having a girl friend or boy friend in their room should be stated by you in advanced and voiced in very clear and concrete terms. A teens appearance is a very tricky area. Tight jeans or baggy, wearing a hoody on cold days and wanting certain brands of tennis shoes are all normal behavior. Negotiate with your teen about what they wear but do not dictate what the wear because this could have negative consequences in respect to the relationship. Try to encourage appearance that is neat and indicates a sense of self respect. In the end, pick your battles wisely in this area. If your child wears make-up and it seems too heavy to you, you can suggest the teen see a make-up specialist at Macy's or an adult who is experienced in applying it. In my opinion, a teen may not be willing to change this area immediately and drawing too much attention to it might pave the way for a power struggle. Some things are worth riding out and ignoring or tolerating. The hope here it that the behavior is a phase they are going through and will take its course, eventually stopping. When parenting your teen about his/her friends try not to pick who they spend time with. This area can be very trying for a parent. If a teen has friends with serious depression, drug problems or aggressive behavior you may have to intervene and steer them away from this type of teen behavior until the friend gets stable. In instances where a friend gets bad grades, lives with an uncle because of family problems or is of a different ethnic or racial group than your teen, it's important for you to allow your teen to have as much control as possible. Remember, if your teen has different values than you, learn from them but do not try to shape them as a mere image of who you are.
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