Do you love your kids, but hate how frustrated and helpless you sometimes feel living with teens? The simple steps below will take the struggle out of parenting and can help inspire teens to reach for their highest potential!

1. Make a Heart Connection.
Think positive thoughts about your teen to get in a natural state of rapport. You know when you have it because you feel peaceful and conversations are a breeze. Without rapport, the relationship suffers. Find something you both enjoy talking about or doing together. Keep the connection alive.

2. Be Willing to Dance.
As a child strives for self-identity, there will naturally exist a push and pull between parent and teen; adjust your style accordingly. Be flexible. Sometimes your teen will act like she’s 30 years old and at other times it feels like she’s only three. Your teen often feels just as bewildered as you.

3. Cultivate Curiosity.
Listen to what your teen wants to talk about. Let it be about him, not you. Have him tell you “his story” without interrupting. Pretend you are listening to the smartest person you know and you don’t want to miss a word!

4. Communicate Respectfully.
Demonstrate empathy and refrain from freely dispensing advice. When your communication becomes a one-sided lecture, it usually gets tuned out. Get more information before you say anything. Manage you feelings. Take deep breaths if you have to.

5. Show your Appreciation.
Every child was born with special attributes. Know what they are for your teen and comment on these daily. Go beyond her performance. Say, “I really appreciate _______ about you.” Make it specific and personal. Be real. Teens know when you’re not authentic.

6. Spend Quality and Quantity Time.
Schedule a weekly date with your teen. Often parents believe that teens need less from them than young children. Not true. Teens need for parents to stay connected with them so that they can feel their parents’ love.

7. Help Teens Solve Their Problems.
Let them talk through their concerns and options. Let go of the “fix it” mentality. It’s been said that if you carry a person long enough, eventually his legs will stop working. Empower teens to find their own way with you as their gentle guide.

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© 2005 Barbara McRae, author of “Coach Your Teen to Success—7 Simple Steps to Transform Relationships & Enrich Lives.” Go to: