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Less Stress, More Joy: Effective Parenting Tips for Teens
Mental Health

Less Stress, More Joy: Effective Parenting Tips for Teens

By Elizabeth Drain, LPC-MHSP, NCC, CEAP
Posted: July 1, 2024

Parenting teenagers can be a challenging and overwhelming experience, but with the right approach, it can also be incredibly rewarding. As your child navigates the ups and downs of adolescence, they need guidance, support, and encouragement to develop into confident, capable, and compassionate individuals. By fostering open communication, preventing high-risk behavior, building strong self-esteem, and seeking professional support when needed, you can help your teen thrive during this critical phase of life. Below, we'll explore practical parenting tips and strategies to help you raise a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted teenager.

Fostering Open Communication

Adolescence is a time of independence, but teens also need the reassurance of a supportive home and family. Without open communication, teens may struggle emotionally and need ongoing support and guidance. Using these strategies, parents can encourage open and healthy communication with their teens, creating a foundation of trust and support:

1. Be Mindful of Your Reactions:  When your teen shares something, avoid responses that might make them hesitant to be open and honest in the future.

2. Be Available and Present: Make time for regular one-on-one interactions to show you are available and interested in their lives.

3. Create a Safe Space: Ensure your teen feels safe to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or punishment.

4. Be Patient and Respectful: Respect their opinions and give them space to express themselves, even if you disagree.

5. Encourage Family Activities: Engage in activities that your teen enjoys, creating opportunities for natural and relaxed conversations.

6. Avoid Being Overly Critical: Offer constructive feedback instead of criticism, focusing on solutions rather than problems.

7. Be Consistent: Regularly check in with your teen, showing consistent interest and concern for their well-being.

Preventing High-Risk Behavior

It's normal for parents to worry about their teen engaging in high-risk behaviors like drinking, smoking, and sexual activity. Here are some specific tips to help minimize these risks:

1. Maintain Open Communication: Encourage your teen to talk openly with you by being a good listener and avoiding judgmental reactions.

2. Set Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate your expectations regarding behavior, academics, and responsibilities.

3. Stay Involved: Be actively involved in your teen's life, including their school, friends, and activities.

4. Provide Support: Offer emotional support and guidance, showing understanding and empathy towards their challenges.

5. Encourage Positive Choices: Reinforce positive behaviors and decisions, praising their efforts and achievements.

6. Provide Risk Education: Discuss the risks and consequences of high-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse and unsafe sexual practices.

7. Monitor and Supervise: Monitor your teen's activities and whereabouts while respecting their need for independence and privacy.


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Building Strong Self-esteem

Having strong self-esteem is vital, particularly during the teenage years. Parents can support their teens in developing and sustaining self-esteem through the following methods:

1. Encouragement and Praise: Offer genuine praise and encouragement for their efforts and achievements, no matter how small.

2. Focus on Strengths: Help them identify their strengths and encourage them to pursue activities that build on these strengths.

3. Encourage Independence: Allow them to make decisions and solve problems on their own, fostering a sense of independence and competence.

4. Listen and Validate: Listen actively to their thoughts and feelings and validate their experiences without judgment.

5. Avoid Comparisons: Avoid comparing them to others; instead, focus on their individual strengths and qualities.

6. Teach Coping Skills: Help them develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and setbacks.

Source: Cohen, Mark (2002). Parenting Your Teen with Less Stress. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Seeking Professional Support

If you notice concerning behavior or if your teen is struggling, seek support from a mental health professional or counselor.

Seeking the help of a mental health professional or professional can be beneficial. Methodist Healthcare EAP offers free and confidential counseling to help navigate life's challenges. Please call us today at (901) 683-5658 to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified counselors.  

Elizabeth Drain, LPC-MHSP, NCC, CEAP

Elizabeth Drain, LPC-MHSP, NCC, CEAP


Elizabeth Drain is a licensed professional counselor and a mental health services provider licensed in both Tennessee and Kentucky. She is certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors and is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional.  Elizabeth is a native Memphian and earned her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Freed-Hardeman University. She has had the pleasure of helping clients navigate challenges with depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss, work/life balance, and family/ marital/relationship problems. As a counselor, her priority is to create a therapeutic atmosphere that promotes growth and positive change. Elizabeth's goal is to help clients become the healthiest version of themselves and live the life they desire. In her spare time, she enjoys learning, shopping, and spending time with family and friends.

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