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Boundaries and Expectations Teens Need (part 1)

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More on youth development and the 40 Developmental Assets needed by 12 to 18 year olds, as described by the Search Institute

1) Family Boundaries: where family has clear rules and consequences, and parents monitor teens’ whereabouts.
Always ask where your kids are going, with whom, and when they’ll be home.

The next time your child lashes out at you, try responding with love rather than anger, such as, “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way right now. I love you, but it’s not okay to act this way.”

Learn to be flexible when setting boundaries and to take the long view. Trends come and go and always will.

Invest in high-quality Internet software that can track all activity, including chats, email, and Web access. Let your teens know you will regularly check on what they are doing online (and then be sure to actually do it).

If possible, keep computers in the common areas of your home, not in bedrooms, offices, or other rooms where kids can spend long periods of time unsupervised.

2) School Boundaries: where school provides clear rules and consequences.
Be sure you and your children know the school rules about dress and appearance, and know the consequences for violating them.

School should feel safe to children. If your child is being teased or bullied—in the classroom, on the playground, or to and from school—be sure to talk to your child’s teacher. Great resources are available for teachers and parents to work through bullying issues, so speak up as soon as you believe this is an issue.

Know the dress code of your kids’ schools, and make sure your kids follow them, even if they tell you “no one else does.”

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.