Having trouble with your teenager? Dr. Charles Foster and teacher/author Michelle Trujillo offer these tips to start taking control.
  • Form a United Front. If you are raising your teens with a partner, both of you must have the same priorities and rules for raising your kids. If you don't, they will get mixed messages or try to "divide and conquer" the both of you.
  • The Magic Question. "What do you need to give me what I need?" In other words, if you want your teen to follow a rule you have set in your household, first ask your teen what he or she needs to follow that particular rule. Remember, teens are fighting to develop a sense of self. Get to know who they are, what they need and what they like.
  • Learn to Listen. No matter how old you are, people just want to be heard. To communicate effectively with them, they need to know that their opinions matter to you. If your discussions turn into screaming matches, take a moment and say to your child, "This is what I'm hearing you say..." You are there to guide your children in making the right choices and help them become mature adults.
  • Negotiate a Contract. Set reasonable rules that can be followed and enforced—and believe that your teen wants to keep the agreement and earn your trust. Fewer, smarter rules on both sides beginning with the health and safety of the teen will lead to greater success.
  • Set Consequences. If your teenager breaks some rules, you must follow through with consequences. Not all rules deserve the same severity. For instance, if you ground your teen for having a messy room, the grounding loses its impact.


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