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Balancing Act

Balancing Act Archives
August, 2006: Family Snack Smarts
July, 2006: Cooperative Co-parenting
June, 2006: Street Proofing Teens 101
May, 2006: Harmony is in season: Harmony is in season: Warm Weather Activities To Bring The Family Together
April, 2006: Caregiving: Sensible Steps To Success
March, 2006: Healthy Eating In A Fast Food World
February, 2006: Stress Busters to Stay Lighthearted
January, 2006: Brain Gain in Life's Later Years
December, 2005: Holiday Budget Planning
November, 2005: Combating Childhood Obesity
October, 2005: Eating Away at Colds and Flu
September, 2005: Avoiding the Aches of Osteoarthritis
August, 2005: Growing Older, Eating Wiser
July, 2005: Nutrition Tips for the Healthiest Summer Ever
June, 2005: Long-Term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes - How Do I Choose the Right One?
May, 2005: Nutrition and Your Baby: Introducing solid food to the menu
April, 2005: When Baby Comes Home For The First Time
March, 2005: Stepping into the Role of Stepparent
February, 2005: Pumping Fitness into Your Day
* January, 2005: Remedies for Financial Holiday Hangovers
* December, 2004: Time Out: Making the most of the holidays
* November, 2004: An Ounce of Prevention: Type 2 Diabetes
* October, 2004: Dealing with Peer Pressure
* September, 2004: Long Distance Caregiving
* August, 2004: The ‘Be-tween’ Transition, 2004
* July, 2004: Easing into summer vacation
* June, 2004: A family-friendly balance for working fathers
* May, 2004: Communication Tips to Help Young Minds Grow
* April, 2004: Tips for Making the Tax Season Less Taxing
* March, 2004: The Dieting Merry-Go-Round
* February, 2004: Keeping Your Financial Future in Check
* January, 2004: Here Comes the Flu
* December, 2003: Communicating with your Teen
* November, 2003: Eating for Energy
* October, 2003: Work-life Balance: Making it Work for You
* September, 2003: The Homework Zone
* August, 2003: Health Hints to Ease Your Family in to the Fall Season
* July, 2003: Stay Alert and Stay Safe - Streetproofing your kids
* June, 2003: Summer Activities for Stay-at-Home Kids
* May, 2003: Helping Older Relatives Stay Active
* April, 2003: Spring-cleaning: For the home, the family, and you
* March, 2003: Choosing a Summer Camp
* February, 2003: Baby couch potatoes: Tearing your kids away from the TV
* January, 2003: Resolution Solutions
* December, 2002: Holiday Stress Blasters
* November, 2002: Beating the Winter Blues
* October, 2002: Making the most of family mealtimes
* September, 2002: Generation Relations
* August 2002: Vacation Relaxation
* July 2002: Swimming Safety
* May 2002: Stuck in the Middle. The Sandwich Generation
* April, 2002: Supporting Your Child's Social Success
* March, 2002: After the Spring Break ... Take a Break For Yourself
* February, 2002: Keep those loving connections alive
* January, 2002: Ringing in a Balanced New Year
* December, 2001: Holiday Safety Tips
* November, 2001: It's Flu Season
* October, 2001: Halloween Safety Tips
* September, 2001: Back to school

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Communicating with your Teen

For many parents, the teenage years are a time when the open, loving chats they used to share with their children are replaced with secrecy, eye-rolling and dramatic, “you’ll never understand me” sighs. Communication lines get crossed or even break, leaving parents and teens alike muttering “you never listen to me.” But with a few simple strategies and a little effort on your part, you can help prevent a communication breakdown with your teen or mend an existing one.

Set ground rules. Although they’ll never admit to it, children—teens included—crave rules from their parents. Reasonable boundaries—curfew, household duties, dating, etc— show kids you have expectations of them and you’re concerned about their well-being. Of course, most teens try to test the limits of these boundaries. When they do, it’s vital that the rewards and consequences of following or breaking the rules are clearly defined, fair and predictable.

Listen, really listen. Become an active listener and offer your complete attention for matters big and small. Resist the urge to ‘lecture’ or belittle seemingly ‘silly’ problems and try to keep an open mind. The fact that your teen is opening the door of communication is a critical first step. Don’t slam it shut with an insensitive or judgmental comment. Instead, stay calm and focus in on what he’s really telling you—he’s feeling insecure, stressed, excited, etc.—and respond with empathy and understanding.

Pick your battles. Ask yourself if your child’s nose ring or messy room is really as big an issue as drugs, alcohol or sex. If you overreact to smaller issues, your teen is much less likely to come to you when he confronts a real dilemma or problem. Hold firm on truly important standards (e.g., breaking curfew, drug use etc.) but be a bit more flexible with matters that, in the big scheme of things, aren’t life-ALTering.

Take time to praise. It’s easy to get so caught up in what your teen’s not doing right, that you forget to mention the good things. Tell her when you’re proud of her and remind your teen often that you love her (though she may squirm to hear it).

Host weekly family meetings. Take time out to regularly connect as a family. Family meetings are a great chance to set guidelines, discuss what’s working and what’s not and re-evaluate priorities. Family meetings must be democratic: make sure everyone gets equal speaking time and has a say in decisions.

Put yourself in their shoes. Times change, but many of the basic issues teens face today are not all that different from what you went through. Think back to defining moments in your teenage years—your first breakup, the pressure to fit in, dealing with ‘unfair’ teachers, etc.—and remind yourself how important those issues were at the time. Share these moments with your teen. Though she may not entirely believe it, relating stories from your own adolescence will help your teenager realize you understand what she’s going through because you were a teen once too.

Need more information on parenting? Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help with a child to elder care resource and referral service that is geared toward enhancing the quality of family life. Call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to see if you are eligible for the child to elder care resource and referral service at 1 866.468.9461 or 1.800.387.4765.

This newsletter is meant for informational purposes only and may not necessarily represent the views of individual organizations.

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© 2005 WarrenShepell