By Dr. Jan Hittelman
As children move into adolescence, many of our tried-and-true parenting techniques may begin to lose their effectiveness. Because of the developmental changes, adolescence is a parenting game-changer. One of the primary developmental tasks of adolescence is to individuate or move from being a dependent child to an independent adult. As parents our strategies need to shift as well. Specifically, parents need to move from control to advice. Remember that learning requires trial and error. Our children need to learn from their mistakes and as parents we need to let adolescents make mistakes and learn from them. This is the only way that children can develop effective problem solving and coping skills that will serve them throughout their adult life. A good place for parents to start is changing the way they communicate with their adolescent. Conversations now need to be mutually respectful, and children need to take a more active role. A good rule of thumb that is often impossible to achieve but important to strive for is learning to be a good listener and having your adolescent do most of the talking. The feedback and advice can always come later.