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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 6, No. 1 - January/February 2014

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Parenting Strategies - Golden Oldies That Work

By Michelle Mitchell

As a new year begins I encourage parents of teenagers to put their energy into what works.

It is too easy to get lost in a whirlwind of teenage emotion and lose your focus as a parent.

A lack of confidence and clarity will undermine the effectiveness of anyone's efforts.

These six "go-to" strategies are my favourite (most recited) tips for parents. They aren't new strategies.

They are the golden oldies that work! I learnt many of them from experienced parents and grandparents and I hope they help you this year.

  • Keep Them Busy

    The teenage years could possibly be the most vital time to keep kids moving. Keeping teenagers busy minimises the time they have to get into trouble and hard work won't kill them. Don't accept, "I couldn't be bothered". Teenagers easily get stuck in a rut and accept second best for their lives. They won't find their life purpose while they are sitting on the couch watching television and eating chips.

  • Search for Mentors

    Teenagers need positive role models to look up to. These role models will pull out purpose in our teenagers. They will teach them things about life that you and I don't have a hope in teaching them! I search high and low for the right mentors for my children because they will become who they look up to.

  • Remember Routine

    Routine may seem trivial. I mean why fight about what time a teenager goes to bed or what time they wake up? Let me explain it like this. Routine protects your teenager's life purpose. It can even protect your teenager against a life of drugs, crime and promiscuity.
    Regular sleep patterns, going to school or work are often what stand between purposeful or unproductive living.

    At the first sign of your teenager wanting to discard routine realise that it is routine that will keep them engaged in mainstream society.

  • Don't Rescue Them

    The sooner teenager's feel the consequences of neglected responsibilities the better. Don't do their homework, don't do their washing, don't pay their bills or bail them out of jail.

    You can help them by allowing them to feel the full weight of their actions as early as possible.

  • Win the Little Battles

    If you say "no" to the little things and you lose those battles, what will happen when you say "no" to bigger things? What will happen when you say "no" to skipping school or "no" to going to a party where you know there will be drugs? Little battles are critical battles. They aren't a waste of time. They give you the authority and confidence when you face the battles that really matter.

    You are the final authority in your home so you need to have the final say, for your teenagers' sake.

  • It's All About Purpose

    Teenagers need to find a reason to say no to drugs, alcohol and sex for themselves. If they don't find their own purpose, no amount of rules will end up keeping them on the straight and narrow. We need to do is help them find purpose, purpose that becomes more consuming than a desire to party.

About Michelle Mitchell

Michelle Mitchell is the Founder of Youth Excel and Author of "What Teenage Girls Don't Tell their Parents"

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