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Living With Teenagers

Parenting teenagers can be a bit of an adventure. Teenagers are like toddlers just learning to walk. There are many obstacles and dangers on the road to a new kind of independence, and it is up to parents to keep a close eye on these adults-in-the-making to make sure that in their explorations of the adult world, they don't travel too far down the wrong roads.  Our job is to give them enough independance so  that they have the opportunity to make choices, but to support them and guide them if those choices are not in their best interest.

Thankfully, there is a  lot of information and support for this worthy goal.  As a parent of teenagers myself, I remember reading dozens of library books on pregnancy, and on parenting newborns, toddlers  and preschoolers.  During the elementary school years, parenting seemed much easier and my reading extended into other areas.  A few years ago, however, I needed to seek out guidance once more to help me through some potentially difficult times as my children reached their teens and sure enough, I was again able to find a wealth of good information at the Library.

Almost everything I read reminded me how important it was to maintain a  close and loving relationship with my teens.  Author G. Scott Wooding stresses the value of this in one of the most helpful books that I read:   Rage, Rebellion and Rudeness: Parenting Teenagers in the New Millennium.  The title is a bit misleading because in fact readers are reminded to focus on their children's wonderful qualities and the wisdom in separating the behaviour from the child.  He gives great  advice about setting limits, an essential task that can be either a very confusing source of friction or a very supportive means of safety and guidance.  Other books that offer support and guidance in raising teens that you can find at your library include:  Yes, Your Teen is Crazy:  Loving your Kid Without Losing your MInd; Raising Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers and Unhappy Teenagers: a New Way for Parents and Teachers to Reach Them.

Teenagers live in a world that works a bit differently than the world their parents grew up in, especially in their use of technology as means of communication.  This is a good thing, in the sense that it keeps the telelphone free for their old-fashioned parents to use, but it also makes us wonder:  just what is it that they are DOING on those computers???  Here is a great book to read to learn more about this:  What in the World are Your Kids Doing On Line?

  It might happen that your teen has already embarked down a dangerous path of drug use, or gambling, or acting out in other ways harmful to himself or his family and community.  If this is the case, there are many great books, websites and community supports worth checking out.  The staff at Thames Valley Addictions Services are very kind and helpful and willing to work with teens.  Health Canada is a good source of general information on all health related topics.   The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the London branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association are good places to go for guidance if you have a concern that requires professional help. Staff at these organizations are very knowledgeable, kind and understanding.  A Library book you might want to try:  What's a Parent to Do?  Straight Talk on Drugs and Alcohol or this e-book you can access from home:  Helping Your Chemically Dependant Teenager Recover might provide guidance.

I think of parenting my teenagers as a wonderful adventure - sometimes you need a guide when the terrain gets rocky and you are in unfamiliar territory. Sometimes the going is relatively smooth.  As a long-time library user, I have always been thankful to have easy access to books and resources and referrals to help me on this journey and hope that if the going gets difficult for you and your teen, that you will reach out to take advantage of all of the help that is available.