Originally posted on List Garage.
According to USA Today, 1 in 3 kids will be arrested before they turn 23. If you are a parent that is a frightening statistic. While you can't make your child's choices for them you can do a lot to steer them in the right direction.
One of the best thing you can do for your child is talk with them. Find out what their concerns and struggles are. Get to know them. the better you know them the easier it will be for you to tell when something is wrong. Also the better they know you the more likely it is that they will trust you when something has happened in their life.
It can be hard to find time to talk and things to talk about. If you need help there are plenty of resources to help you. Your teen might not give you a lot of answers. But they will know when they need you, you will be there.
Even though they might like to think otherwise, teens are still pretty inexperienced at life. Part of the reason that adolescent years are so hard is because they are trying to figure out who they are as a person and how they fit into the world around them.
This is a crucial time. You will probably have to talk about sex, drugs, and many other uncomfortable things. If you want your kids to learn the right information make sure that you are taking control of their education. Let them know that if they have any questions they can talk to you and it won't be awkward.
You want to be their source of information not someone else. Wrong information can lead to a lot of grief like arrests, program for troubled youth, or prison time.
The most important thing you can do for your teenager is to show them that you love them. Sometimes this means making hard decisions. Like limiting the amount of time they spend with friends who might be a bad influence orsending your child to a bootcamp.
If they know that you love them they might be mad at you for a while but they will understand what you are trying to do.
Bonus Tip: Space
One of my favorite quotes comes from Jonas Salk:
Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them.
Make sure that you are doing all these things to build the roots. But give your kids space so that they can learn to fly on their own.
Image Credit: Flickr