You asked

How do I encourage good behaviour in tweens and teens?

One of the most important roles that parents take on is to ensure that their children grow up to be respectful, responsible adults. Follow our guidelines to ecourage your tween or teen to embrace good behaviour:
  • Make the time to actively listen to your child. This will show your child that you are concerned, interested and involved in his life.
  • Set rules. Sit the whole family down and discuss what behaviour is and isn't acceptable. Try to focus on the positive so instead of saying 'Being disrespectful to adults is not allowerd' say; "Always speak to each other with respect."
  • When rules are broken, speak to your child calmly. Explain what the consequeces are and say how you expect him to behave in the future.
  • Encourage your child to reflect about their actions. If a punishment is required, explain why and encourage your child to think about what they can do to prevent the problem coming up again.
  • Try to be a positive role model for your child. Remember your child does as you do. Set a list of family rules and when your child sees you following these rules, this will be a powerful example.
  • Choose your battles. Before you get into a serious argument with your child, ask yourself, “Is this really important? Is this really worth fighting about?”
  • Let go of the strings sometimes. Now that your child is older, she needs to learn how to handle responsibility. Give her opportunites to take responsibility, even if it's just following a grocery list or looking after younger siblings for an hour or two.
  • Praise and encouragement are powerful tools. Tweens and teens may seem self-sufficient but your child will still want and need your approval and encouragement. By noticing and commenting on your child’s positive choices and achievements, you can encourage her to keep behaving in this way.
  • Respect your child’s need for privacy. Knock before entering his room and don't go through his personal belongings.
  • Keep promises.  Your child will respect and trust you when you follow through on promises, both good and bad.
Finally, look at the funny side of things. Laughing or making a joke can help diffuse tension and conflict and help you and your child to not take things too personally. 

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