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Having a teenager in the house can be both fun and unpredictable. Parents have the great opportunity to help their child prepare for adulthood and see them start succeeding in their independence. However, when teenagers are struggling it can be frustrating for both the child and the parent. Every teenager is different and learning how to communicate and connect with your teen is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Kids In The House experts have the answers to help build a strong relationship between you and your teen.

Communicating with your teen can be especially difficult if you feel like they won’t open up to you. Dr. Jerry Weichman is a clinical psychologist who works with teenagers on a daily basis and he says, “What parents can do, is they need to talk less, and listen more.” He encourages parents to sit back and listen to their teen without giving feedback or constructive criticism. As you validate their feelings, they will start to trust you more. This will help them build trust with you and begin to open up about the struggles they are facing.

Another common problem parents face with teenagers is a lack of respect. “Respect turns out to be the greatest tool in your shed to help your kid get through the difficult years,” explains psychologist Michael Bradley. So how do we encourage our kids to respect us more? Dr. Bradley explains that teens respect “parents who walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” Your children are more likely to respect you if you act the way you are expecting them to act. By doing this, not only will your teenager respect you more but they will admire and look up to you as well.

It is also important to teach your teenager to respect themselves during this time in their life as well. Girls especially face pressure about how they should look and act. Author Rosalind Wiseman encourages parents to help prepare their daughter for when they start to enter “Girl World.” The best way to do this is to teach your daughter that it doesn’t matter what is in the magazines and to be a role model for her of what you want her to value.

Inevitably, your teenager will become an adult and it is also your responsibility as a parent to prepare them for that as well. Author Harry Harrison Jr. urges parents to practice “fearless parenting” with their teens. “As a fearless parent, you are always imparting your morals and values to your child and you are teaching them all the time about how to cope in the adult world,” explains Harrison. This means having them set up appointments, teaching them to use public transportation, and showing them how to cook meals. Teaching them these simple tasks will ensure that they are more fully prepared for adulthood.

Do you have questions you want to ask our experts about your teen? Join us on tomorrow at 12pm PST for “TEEN TALK: Expert Advice on Raising Teens.” We will be joined by Rosalind Wiseman, Michael Bradley, and Harry Harrison Jr. who will be answering your questions live! Click here to RSVP and submit your questions.

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