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Survey Reveals Importance Of Setting Limits Among Current Parents Of Teens

Armen Hareyan's picture

Whatever limits parents set, teenagers are certain to push against them and in many cases to transgress them. Yet a recently completed survey titled "Parenting Teenagers: The Agony and the Ecstasy" reveals that current parents of teenagers, parents who recently had teenagers and 20-somethings looking back on their teen years all agree that teenagers need boundaries and accountability in orderto feel safe and to develop into mature, responsible adults.

"Particularly striking to us was the way current parents of teens expressed their concerns in life and death terms. They fear their teen won't make it out of their teen years alive," says Sue Blaney, president of Changeworks Publishing, which sponsored the qualitative survey of 559 parents of teens, "veteran" parents and young adults. "But as hard as it is to parent a teenager in today's world, parents who do their best to strike a balance between giving their teen freedom and setting limits are doing the right thing."

Other noteworthy findings in the study:

-- Both teens and other parents are critical of parents who take the easy way out -- giving in, giving too much, believing lies.

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-- Trust is the basis of a good parent-teen relationship. Teens demand trust, yet also recognize they may abuse it. Parents who don't trust deserving teens can seriously damage their relationship.

-- Parents need to meet the challenge of communicating with teens who don't want to communicate with parents. It's the parents' role to respond in a calm, adult fashion when teens are upset.

-- Parents of teenagers need a strategy to counteract today's cultural messages about drinking, casual sex, driving fast and alcohol/drug use.

"More than a few of the young adults in the survey expressed appreciation for their parents, for keeping them healthy and safe as a teenager," notes Blaney. "Parents, take heart -- teens act angry with you now but thank you later."

Founded by Sue Blaney, ChangeWorks Publishing delivers programs and products that educate, empower and connect parents of teenagers and those who work with them. Sue Blaney is the author of the nationally acclaimed book, "Please Stop the Rollercoaster! How Parents of Teenagers Can Smooth Out the Ride."