Support Teens Need (part 1)

This series shares 40 concepts from The Search Institute about the development of youth ages 12 to 18. When these concepts are available to teens, The Search Institute explains, kids are helped to grow up healthy, caring and responsible. The posts in this series recommend how to apply these ideas.

1) Family: where family life provides high levels of love and support.
Start family traditions and rituals such as family service, game nights, seasonal outings or family meetings.

Give kids space and respect their privacy when they need it.

Give each of your kids a hug today, even if they’re really big kids. Spend time every week with each of your teenagers individually.

Create a small memory book, memory box, photo album, or private website for each of your children. If you don’t live in the same city as your child, create a care package that includes a pack of cards; a book of crossword puzzles, word jumbles, or drawing activities; and some colorful pens, pencils, or markers. 

2) Communication: where teens and parent(s) communicate positively, and youth are willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.
Use mealtimes to learn about one another’s musical tastes. Choose one night each week as music night and rotate who gets to choose.

Be willing to talk during times that are comfortable for your children, such as while riding or driving, or on a walk. Sometimes not having to make constant direct eye contact can make the conversation flow better.

Sending e-mail, telephone calls, handwritten cards, photos, children’s art, and personal letters are all wonderful ways to stay connected with your children’s long-distance relatives.

Hang a whiteboard on your refrigerator or in a common area such as an entryway. Use it to write loving messages to one another or to let everyone know where you are, how you can be reached, and when you will be home.

Regardless of your teens’ interests and current involvement, regularly sit down with them and talk through their commitments to school, friends, jobs, and so on.

Make sure they are making intentional decisions about what they do with their time, and make sure that their choices are respectful of your family’s schedule.