Family time and other tips for weathering the teens

Watch Cara Natterson, MD's video on Family time and other tips for weathering the teens...
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Family time and other tips for weathering the teens

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As kids enter the teenage years, they really don’t want to be around their parents quite as much as they used to. Their peer group is much more important to them than it was before, which means that the parent group is secondary. And that’s an issue for kids, because the parents want to be around, they want to be observing what’s going on, they want to be a part of their kid’s life. And the kids are often torn. You have to find your balance in your family. You have to honor their desire for independence, but you have to continue parenting. So what I always tell parents is, “One mandatory family night per weekend. Absolutely mandatory.” The reason why is if you have two weekend nights and you have now occupied one of them with family time, you are keeping your eye on your kid 50% of the weekend. And that’s really important. They can invite anyone over if they want, but it’s under your roof, on your terms. And what ends up happening is as your child gets older and older, number one, they feel safer and number two, they just expect to be at home at least 50% of their time, which then leaves room for a little less rebellion or experimentation. So I’m a big fan of a mandatory family night one weekend night every single weekend. It doesn’t really matter to me if your child doesn’t want it. This is where you’re the parent and they’re the child. And it should be a rule and firm and in place. And if your social life is so important to you that you can’t commit to that, then you can’t get upset with your child for not wanting to be around you.

Watch Cara Natterson, MD's video on Family time and other tips for weathering the teens...

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Expert Bio

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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