Smart Teens

Parenting Smart Teens: Tips and Advice

  • At this stage, your teenage kid’s enrichment of his brain mostly lies in his hand.  You can only guide him and give him advice, but ultimately he is responsible for how he forms his character.
  • Teen years are a period of crucial brain development subject to a host of environmental and genetic factors. They are prone to risky behaviors and some of these behaviors have lifelong consequences. Adolescent drinkers, for example, develop profound changes on the genetic expression of releasing stress hormones. They are not able to get used to stressors and have exaggerated response to mild stress. .
  • The secret to effectively parenting teens is to be an available parent, someone who “listen[s] with curiosity to their children more than they talk at them, or lecture them,” has “faith in their children’s’ competence… truly want[s] to know their children” and “are never cruel, judgmental or dismissive.” Available parents will “be seen as an advisor and ally, as opposed to the adversary so many of today’s parents are considered by their teenaged children.”

  • A new study published in the Journal of Early Adolescence found that dads are in a unique position to instill persistence and hope in their children, particularly in the pre-teen and teen years. Fathers who practiced authoritative parenting, defined as providing feelings of love, granting autonomy and emphasizing accountability to a child, were more likely to have kids who developed the art of persistence, which led to better outcomes in school and lower instances of misbehavior. While that is not to say mothers do not instill these values, men and fathers may take on this role more often because of societal acceptance and expectations. Dads who ruled with an iron fist and an authoritarian style (harsher and more punishment-based parenting) had less persistent children.
  • Encourage critical thinking on your child. Encourage your teen not to blindly obey without questioning. Encourage him to question everything, and not just accept what people of authority tells him to accept without evidence or logic.
  • Do not allow your teenager to spend too much time on computers and new technology that shapes his brain to have too short attention span, not being able to concentrate in class, and not being able to sit still long enough to finish homework or plan ahead.
  • Advice your teen that to be ahead in the future, she has to work hard. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that hard work is the reason why Asian-American students get better grades and do better in school than their white peers.
  • Also, according to Dr. Arthur Poropat, from Griffith University’s School of Applied Psychology, personality might be a greater predictor of academic success than intelligence alone. “With respect to learning, personality is more useful than intelligence for guiding both students and teachers,” he said. He also found out that “In practical terms, the amount of effort students are prepared to put in, and where that effort is focused, is at least as important as whether the students are smart. And a student with the most helpful personality will score a full grade higher than an average student in this regard.”

  • Do not fret about a little fighting with your teen. Over the long term, “moderate conflict with parents [during adolescence] is associated with better adjustment than either no-conflict or frequent conflict.”, according to University of Rochester’s Dr. Judith Smetana.
  • Teach your child to control his emotions. Doing something in the heat of emotion might make him make mistake that he’ll regret for the rest of his life.
  • For teens, peer pressure may be a good thing. It may push them to do well in school, not to act childish, be hygenic, and even be athletic. Kids who feel more pressure in their early teens turn out to have much higher-quality relationships with friends, parents and romantic partners. They learn to be attuned to subtle changes in other people’s moods. This sensitivity can make them become emphatic and socially skillful when they become adults.
  • Kids, however, should learn how to be selective about the peers who influence them. Advise your child to hang out with friends who are good influences. You, as a parent, can influence your kids’ choice of friends by where you choose to live, your parenting practices and the values you instill in your kids from childhood. When your kids are very young, you are their main influence. When they become teens, they are prone to listening more and more to their peers than to you.
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