Parental Guidance

As the parent or guardian of a teenager, one of the most challenging aspects is learning how to adequately cope with your teen’s changing behaviours, stressors and moods to ensure you both keep your cool and continue to tackle obstacles and setbacks as a team.

This month, we’re offering some insight into how to keep not only your teen – but you, as a parent – healthy, happy and functioning, an equally important factor that often gets overlooked as your concern undoubtedly shifts to your teen.

Top Tips for Parental Guidance

#1 Be Informed

While you should always take any parenting advice with a grain of salt in regard to your own unique situation, parents who take due diligence to stay informed and positive by reading and talking with other parents, even in the face of repeated opposition, tend to be better suited to cope in healthy, productive ways.

#2 Know the Warning Signs

As a parent, you know your teen better than almost anyone else, and any sudden, drastic and damaging shifts in behaviour should never be ignored. Common warning signs to be aware of often include:

  • Gaining and losing weight rapidly
  • Experiencing extreme changes in personality
  • Losing touch with previous friends
  • Joking about or frequently discussing suicide or suicidal behaviours
  • Being unable to sleep through the night
  • Frequently being absent from school
  • Forming an unwillingness to keep acceptable grades
  • Breaking the law, or hanging out with others who break the law

#3 Be Consistent

Whether you’re tackling parenthood alone, with a partner or with a team of family and friends, it’s important to be on the same page as parental figures in your teen’s life. Take time to discuss the topics you may not naturally agree on in private and come to a compromise or agreement about what your teen can come to expect of you concerning basic rules and expectations. In a time of such drastic change, like your teenage years, consistency is key.

#4 Practice Self Care

Though it’s all too easy to let the teen in your life become the centre of your attention, focus, effort, stress and time, it is never beneficial to ignore taking care of yourself. After all, you are much less likely to care for others if you aren’t adequately caring for yourself. Practice the basic steps of self-care  (exercising, getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, setting aside time for relaxation, practicing a hobby, etc.) to ensure you stay mentally, emotionally and physically able to continue helping your teen, as well as leading by example.

#5 Outline Behavioural Expectations

Depending on the personal challenges of your teen, it’s important to set standards for what you expect as a parent. By making appropriate rules regarding things like screen time, socialising, drug use, grades and other common teen issues, your teen can learn accountability through action and reaction.

By picking your battles when it comes to small choices that fuel their desire for self-expression (hair colour, clothing, musical preferences, etc.) and focusing primarily on behavioural issues which have clear negative repercussions, you can clarify your priorities and set them up for success.

#6 Seek Professional Help 

Rather than seeking help from a professional as a last resort, parents can often save themselves lots of time, stress and sanity by enlisting the help of an experienced professional earlier in the process. Our 1 day Parental Guidance Workshops are designed to enable parents to explore their own strengths and constraints and identify ways to capitalise on them during the process of parenthood.

There is no shame in asking for help, especially when it comes to the health and happiness of your family, and we’re here to help. For more information or to learn more about the Veteran Mentors Programs, give us a call on +61 418-869-061 or email us at

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