Being a teen is doubly difficult. And scary.
The following quiz is designed to walk you through some positive and effective ways of dealing with your teen. Answer all of the questions for a quick evaluation of your parenting style. (It might be easier to print out this quiz.)
For each question, score yourself on a scale from 5 (best) to 0 (worst). Once you have a total, check your performance on the Parents and Teens Quiz Evaluation below.
Dr. Katrina Wood’s test for parents of teens
Parenting first: Your teenager needs a wise parent, not another friend. Establish boundaries, structure and consequences.
______ How successful are you at being a parent rather than a pal?
Open communication: Begin every conversation with a positive affirmation. Validate what your teen is trying to say. If you don’t understand, help them be clear via comments such as, “I am not sure if I understand — do you mean (such and such)?”
______ How good at you at helping the teenager communicate with you?
Hearing their side: Don’t criticize your teenager. Invite him into a conversation by beginning a sentence with, “I was wondering … ” Don’t assume you know everything about him. You don’t.
______ Do you consistently invite your teen into conversations?
Sharing time: Show interest in your teen’s life. Know what kind of music she listens to; learn about her favorite television shows. Listen to her music and watch these shows together every once in a while.
______ How often do you share in your child’s favorite entertainments?
No payoffs: Don’t “buy” or bribe your teen. For example, don’t give him money for completing his school project. In doing this, you devalue his intelligence and self-worth. This behavior gives your teen a model for exploiting you.
______ Do you resist the temptation to bribe your teen?
Walk the walk: If you are going to “talk the talk” then you must also do your best to “walk the walk.” Teenagers are the first to figure out when something or someone is not authentic.
______ How good are you at practicing what you preach?
Love is the word: Be human, loving and gentle. Anything less than nurturing constitutes abuse.
______ Does your love for your teen show?
Take teens seriously: Be careful not to disregard what your teen is communicating to you. Teenagers are highly sensitive to any form of shaming at this time. They have a deep need to be valued and taken seriously, even if they do not show it.
______ Do you avoid shaming your teen?
Fighting drugs: If you suspect your teen is using drugs, act on your intuition. Get help for your child early on. He is in pain; don’t ignore him.
______ Would you take immediate action if drug use is in the picture?
Keeping your cool: Stay even-tempered with your teen. Avoid a judgmental tone. If you feel rage coming on, take a time out. Your teenager needs you to be in control.
______ Do you strive to be even-tempered with your teen?
Being there: No matter how frustrated you may feel, don’t threaten your child with abandonment. Ever. You brought this precious child into the world. It is your responsibility to take care of her without abuse or threats.
______ Does your teenager know you’ll always be there?
Support system: If you feel overwhelmed, seek help. The community is there to be of service to you. Use it. Seeking out help is your right and responsibility.
______ If you need support and guidance with parenting, will you seek it out?
50-65: Outstanding. Your instincts and techniques are spot on.
40-50: A solid showing, average to above average.
25-40: OK, but parenting skills could be better.
12-25: Parental counseling recommended.
* Remember: score each item from 5 (best) to 0 (worst).