Parenting In Focus: Needing parents

  • Wednesday, January 13, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

It is totally clear to new parents that they are needed by their new child. Cries for help are immediately answered and the child feels the love of his parents.

Even as a child grows and starts school, parents recognize that they are really important to help their child succeed. Parents usually keep current on what their child is doing in school and with friends. They ask about the things their child is doing and remain very involved. When things go wrong, most elementary school-aged children turn to their parents for help.

As the child grows older and grows into the teen years, things begin to change. Being the parent of a teen it is difficult to figure out what you should expect of your child. He still needs lots of love and attention from you, but he is also looking for independence and to prove to you that he is growing up.

You are sure to hear him regularly talking about being older and more grown up and he really is. Is he ready at 11 or 12 to be left to make his own decision about important things? Probably not.

For you, it is a time to be close by but not overbearing. Be prepared to give both love and independence.


It isn’t unusual for teens to become “little know-it-alls” but it’s not acceptable for your child to treat you as if you know nothing! Show him how you can still be respectful of him even when he says what you know isn’t true.

You should expect that he can give his ideas without putting your ideas down. This teaches him how to disagree with others in a respectful and thoughtful way. This is just one more lesson in life he learns at home.

Be aware of ways to keep communication open with your teen. You need to be a good listener. If you do not listen, you will find the communication slowly fading away. Try to listen without judging him. If you don’t do this, your teen will stop talking to you about things he feels you might negatively judge him.

He also needs you to acknowledge what he is saying so that he knows you are with him. These simple rules of communication mean that you do not interrupt when he is talking, you give him your undivided attention and you reserve judgment until he is finished or asks for a response.

Most importantly, before you respond, make sure you understand exactly what he is telling you.

Do not forget about laughing together. It makes your home life better and it prepares your child for the future. Most executives rank a sense of humor as one of the most important qualities they look for in employees. Let a few jokes keep things light.

Remember the importance of praising your child for his accomplishments. By recognizing and drawing attention to his value, you help him build a storehouse of confidence that he can draw from when you are not around or when times get tough.

When you praise him, you also model how to notice and express appreciation for others. It will help your child create healthy relationships and be the kind of person to bring a positive attitude to the people he is around. One more of life’s lessons learned from involved parents. As a parent of a teen, you can see that you are still needed.

Research has actually found that remarkable thing can happen if parents and caregivers spent at least 15 minutes of undivided time a day listening and talking with their children.

Research also tells us that children really do look to their parents and caregivers for advice and help about difficult choices and decisions. You are still very important.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. For more information, email to or call 360-681-2250.

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