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TOPICS TO DISCUSS WITH TEENAGERS.

Teenagers need love and support from parents at a time when lots of other things in their lives are changing. You can keep your relationship with your teenage child strong through ordinary, everyday activities.

1. Relationships

Perhaps one of the most challenging topics to discuss with anyone, particularly teens, is relationships. Relationships come in several sizes — personal, friendships, professional, sexual, spiritual and emotional. How teens handle these relationships can boost or damage oneself, sometimes over time or instantaneously.2. Respect of self and othersThis is a topic that parents should begin teaching their children from a very young age.

2. Respect of self and others

This is a topic that parents should begin teaching their children from a very young age. Part of respecting oneself and others also hinges on understanding that you are the puppeteer of your own life. Letting people take advantage of you will not help you grow and progress. Part of any parental conversation has to hinge on helping teens understand who they are and why and that differences in others are mere differences. Seeing people for who they are and not being judgmental about them can enhance respect for self and for others.

3. Learning

Very few things are more important than helping your teens understand that learning, not just education, is important. As young people enter their teens, the questions emerge from all sides: What are you going to do when you grow up? Where are you going to college? What will you be studying? And a host of others. During the teen years is the time to explore options. Many junior and high schools are connecting with local community colleges and universities to develop “pathways,” a year-by-year plan to help young people become better prepared for when they enter college.

4. Financial habits

The world is in need of definite financial literacy. Parents can truly help their teens by instilling in them good financial literacy skills and habits. Talking to teens early about good financial habits will save them a ton of headaches later in their lives. In fact, it’s never too early to begin talking financial management with your children. Start with a savings account when they are young and suggest that they save at least 50 percent or more of any earnings or money gifts they receive. Part of financial literacy is teaching teens the value of money. When they hit the teen years (maybe even before) take them to the bank and have your banker talk about accounts — savings, checking, etc. Putting young people on budgets is a good thing. Many youth begin early, earning or receiving some type of money, and they need direction. By teaching teens about the challenges with credit and the value of paying for things with cash and making payment on time will only strengthen their financial management.

While the judge’s counsel is 55 years old, it is still judicious and wise counsel for parents to teach their teens. Often, it is necessary to be firm and bold but not overbearing. Both parents’ and children’s lives would be so much easier if they decide early in a child’s life the most appropriate teachings and standards for their children and then stick with them. Granted, they can seek help from family, friends, teachers, clergy, etc. But, in the end, parents have the ultimate responsibility of teaching their children.

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