Parenting Tips for Teens

Read below for Five Steps in Active Communication.

Basic Discipline Communication Tips

Start with Polite Requests:

  • Not every problem or conflict requires firm discipline or a lot of discussion. Asking your teen politely for what you want is often enough to influence them to change their behavior.

  • Example: "Honey, from now on will you do a favor and bring your dirty dishes to the sink when you're done?" or "Honey, I noticed you forgot to put your dishes in the sink. Please come and get them."


Move to "I" Messages: 

  • If the problem behavior continues, use an "I" message which are firm, friendly, and surprisingly effective.

  • First, name the behavior or situation you want changed. Example: "I have a problem with your leaving dirty dished in the living room."

  • Say how you feel about the situation. Example: "I feel taken advantage of..."

  • State your reason. Example: "because I have to spend time and energy cleaning up after you."

  • Say what you want done. Example: "When you leave the den, I want you to bring your dirty dishes to the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher."


Firm Reminders:

  • Changing habits is not easy. Whether your teen simply forgets or they are testing if you are really committed to the change, you will have to be firm at times.

  • The key is to keep Firm Reminders short, simple, direct, and strong. Example: "Dishes, Sink, Now." 

  • If you meet resistance or apathy, stay calm and focused.


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The above tips are sourced from our classroom textbooks Teens in Action: A Teen's Guide for Surviving and Thriving in the 21st Century by Michael H. Popkin and Peggy Hendrickson.