If you are parenting a teenager, it can get easy to get lost in the drama. For teenagers the world is a new, exciting, scary, wild, pleasurable and disturbing place...often all at the same time.

This fact can make parenting a teenager a wild ride, at best. Especially if you are parenting your first teenager.

Let's face it. As a parent, you are experiencing many of the same feelings as your teen. Uncertainty and confusion mingled with periods of intense joy can leave you dazed, breathless and wondering if you are actually parenting at all. Maybe you've even wondered if all the effort you are exerting is worth it.

Mom or Dad, let me offer you some encouragement today when it comes to parenting your teenager. I am currently parenting my third teen and have learned that while every teen and every family is different, there are a handful of concepts a parent can focus on which will have the biggest impact in their teen's young life.

But if you can only master one new idea right now, then here's the one to start with. This one action can literally change you and your teen's world.

Drum roll, please.

The vital parenting action is...listening.

That's right. Simple, cost-free listening.

Before you click away, allow me to make my case, Mom or Dad.

I've been parenting for over two decades. I've seen a lot of hype and fads come and go. I'm sure you would agree that what stands the test of time deserves our attention. Building relationships is what remains constant. And the number one thing you can focus on to improve any relationship is listening.

I can guarantee you, your teenager is craving for you to listen...really listen to her.

She probably won't admit it, of course. But take a look at the clues. Your teenager is drawn, like a magnet, to those people who are hearing her. Paying attention to the questions going through her head. Listening to the angst in her heart. Accepting her for who she is. (If you would like more parenting teenager strategies, please see the resource box following this article.)

Whether you have a son or a daughter, as their mom or dad, you can be the one who gets the rewards for all that listening.

What are the rewards? This is where it gets good.

Regularly and intensely listening to your teen means you are building a rock-solid relationship with them. If they feel genuinely accepted and cared for by you, they will grow to respect and trust you. Guess what? Your teen LISTENS to who he respects and trusts.

Wouldn't you like that to be you?

You can solve a lot of parenting challenges using patient, consistent listening over time. Don't just tell your teenager you care...prove it to him by dropping what you're doing, looking him in the eye, and hearing every word he tells you next time he flies by...even if his conversation is about the latest happening on MySpace.

After you listen, you can ask questions about issues that concern you. Find out what your teen really thinks. What values he's considering adopting. You don't need to interrogate him. Just listen. Ask. Then gently guide. As you win a place in his heart, you will also win the top spot of influence in his young life.

So remember...if you're wondering what the hottest strategies for parenting your teenager are...the real secret to parenting a teenager is to simply listen.

Author's Bio: 

Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 25 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at www.paintedgold.com. Visit her website and grab more parenting teenager strategies today.