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Trick and Treat: 5 Ways to Reduce Teen Mischief this Halloween

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 4:04pm

Its a fact: teens trick their parents from time to time. Experts say its normal for teens to stretch rules, take risks and try out some trickery (just think back to when you were a teen.) But there are some key things parents can do to keep their teens safe and healthy. With Halloween this weekend, why not roll up your sleeves and do some productive tricking and treating of your own?

Here are 5 ways parents can reduce teen mischief and encourage a healthy relationship with their teen on Halloween and beyond.

  1. Trick Them Into Talking

* Listen First: Let teens vent, talk and not feel judged and be sure to keep the focus on them when they are talking to you.

* Ask The Right Questions: Instead of giving advice, ask questions. Ask them more about how they feel, what they think they should do, what others have done. Not only will you learn more about how your teen thinks, you will also help them explore their own situation.

* Let them, or show them, how to come to their own answers: When you ask them questions, try to guide them to come up with the answer on their own, instead of you telling them what to do. That way, they will feel more empowered.

2. Treat Your Family to a Screen-Free Evening

Turn off all smartphones, gaming devices, iPads, TVs, etc. and give one another your undivided attention. Make eye-contact, ask questions and share stories. As hard as it might be — don’t jump to respond to every ping or text on your phone. Show your teen that you’re curious about her world and that what she has to say is more important than any screen. (And make sure she does the same.)

3. Trick Your Teens Into Staying Out of Trouble

Encourage your teen to do something out of her wheelhouse. Perhaps he joins a new club at school, tries a new sport or does some community service. This will give her something structured to do after school, and she can include her wider circle of friends in the activities — and, it’s always worthwhile to try new things, even if he’s not good at it. Ask other parents in your community or at your place of worship for how your teen can get actively involved in community volunteering.

4. Trick Them Into Feeling Good About Themselves

Give your teen lots of praise and positive feedback. Teens need to hear the “good stuff” just like the rest of us. They need to know you can still see beyond the things they do wrong from time to time. Catch them being good and always reward positive, responsible, mature behavior to help build their own self-esteem so they make more positive choices.

5. Treat Them with Love and Support

It’s important that teens feel supported by their parents, so be sure to let your child know that he or she can always count on you and come to you for guidance when she’s stressed or dealing with a personal issue. Remind your teen that the reason you’re always talking with her and asking questions is because you love her, care about her and want her to be healthy and successful.

Have a safe, happy and healthy Halloween!

The post Trick and Treat: 5 Ways to Reduce Teen Mischief this Halloween appeared first on Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

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