Bradley Hospital helps you deal with difficult parenting issues in these comprehensive reference sections:
Effective DisciplineCurrent attitudes, ideas and help for parents of toddlers, teens and kids in between.En español
Alcohol & Drug AbuseUnderstanding potential problems, signs of abuse, and tips for prevention and intervention.En español
Depression & SuicideRecognize the signs of depression, why kids fall victim and what you can do to help.En español
Teenage PartiesWhat you don't know can hurt you. Tips for parents of hosts and guests. Plus, ideas for a successful bash.En español
Life's Difficult ChangesSymptoms of transitional difficulty in parents and kids and advice for dealing with change.En español
Parent/Child CommunicationFeel like you're from different planets? Here's how to find middle ground.En español
Childhood ChoresWhy household chores are important for kids and teens.En español
Healthful LeisureA little leisure might be just what your family needs. Why leisure time is important and how to add more to your life.En español
Rhode Island Parents' Guide to Children's Mental Health (PDF 5.07mb)Have questions about common children's mental health problems? Download this one-stop resource for those answers plus information about advocacy organizations and support groups.
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Teenagers are going to find something to do to separate from you and the family. This is their job developmentally. Your task is to ensure that what they choose to do to assert their individuality is positive. This is where the importance of structure comes in.
Good or bad, your teenager will need to involve themselves in activities outside of the family realm. If they have free time, they are going to find a way to fill it. This is why summer vacation is a prime time for teenagers to get into trouble.
As parents, you want to make sure your teenagers don't fill their free time with unhealthy outlets like alcohol, drugs, sex and other risk behaviors. Kim Waggoner, LICSW, says that the best way to do this is to keep their lives structured with things like academics, sports, after-school activities, summer jobs and camps. Through these activities, your teenager will be able to assert their independence, but do so in a healthy way.
Of course, your teenager is going to have free time, which is okay. However, parental vigilance is essential. If the family is not paying attention, teenagers are likely to push the limits. Therefore, let them know that you are aware of their comings and goings, and though they may be out in the world without you, there is still structure and rules in their lives.
Every teenager is going to make mistakes. That's normal. However, when mistakes turn into frequent, dramatic, high-risk behaviors and complete disregard for rules, you may need to seek counsel.
Bradley Hospital can help. Call us anytime: 401-434-3400, ext. 364. Bradley experts can do a confidential and thorough evaluation to help you get advice and answers to your questions. We are dedicated to healing the hearts and minds of children and their families.