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Parents: You Do Matter To Your Teens

Posted Feb 05 2013 7:00am

teens talking

Many parents erroneously believe that their teens either hate them, think they’re stupid, or simply do not care one bit about what they say. However, there have been numerous studies and surveys that show that parents unequivocally matter to teens. From premarital sex to driving habits, teens do care about what their parents say, but most importantly what their parents do. So, parent, you’re on notice: You do matter to your teenager.

Sexual Activity — A 2007 study conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned pregnancy conducted a poll of 12 to 19 year olds to find out how parents influenced their teens regarding sex. Nearly half of the teens reported that out of everyone else their parents had the most influence on their decisions about sex. However, parents surveyed believed that the teenager’s friend had the most influence.

So, now that you know that your words and actions matter more to your teenagers, what are you going to do about it? Remember, studies also show that having open and honest discussions about sexual matters with your teenager including the good, bad and ugly about sex in an open and understanding nonjudgmental manner also has shown to delay not encourage sexual activity.

Drinking & Driving — Studies have shown that parents who talk to their kids often about the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as under aged drinking does have an effect on a teenagers choice. But, the most important thing a parent can do about these issues aside from talking about it often, is to stay involved with your children’s lives.

Don’t butt out and don’t let your teenagers close down on you and not speak to you. By relating real life examples, watching movies together, and doing activities together while also talking to your teenager about these issues you’ll have an enormous effect on your teenager’s choices in life. Another important aspect is demonstrating to your children of all ages responsible choices of your own while owning up to mistakes that you have made.

Academic Achievement — Numerous studies have shown that parental involvement in their teen’s  education matters more than what school the teenager attends. Not every parent can afford to live in a fabulous school district or to attend a private school. What’s more, most parents cannot even choose homeschooling due to work obligations. So, what is the real differential that spells great results for any given child academically? Baring any learning disabilities or issues normal children can excel academically if they have parents who show that they care and are involved in the child’s education according to a study conducted by North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California.

From attending your teenager’s events, getting to know their friends, and friends’ parents to asking a teenager about reports and having them practice speeches and presentations to ensuring that teenagers have the right tools to achieve excellence, are all very important to the teen’s success. Whether that is finding extra tutoring by bartering a hot meal with a college student, or sitting down with them yourself, showing that you care about their struggles and efforts is an important component in children who tend to do well in school compared to those who do not.

It’s very clear that parents matter to teenagers. Now that you know that, let me know what you plan to do this next week to show your teenager that they matter. Because, this is what it actually boils down to: Parents showing teens that they matter.

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