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teenagers
healthy relationships
financial future
goal setting
family values
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Strengthening Communication With Your Teenagers This Summer
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Summer is an excellent time for parents to strengthen communication with their teenagers.

Having a break from school for a few months gives you a great opportunity to have fun and help your teenagers to prepare for the challenges of an upcoming school year. Talking about...money, preparing for the future, healthy relationships and decisions about sex are a few topics that will help your teenagers prepare for the next school year.

Talking to teenagers about your family values on money, spending, saving and donating money and time to charitable and community events, are essential to their financial future. It can be the difference between raising a financially independent adult and raising an adult who is financially depended on others. Start by giving them a budget of time and money to balance their recreational activities and continue their academic studies. Give incentives for how many books are read or hours of community service donated.

Having a conversation on preparing for the future is a great way to introduce how important dreams and goal setting are. An activity the whole family can participate in is creating a vision board. By using newspaper and magazine clippings, glue and poster board, images are chosen to represent dreams and goals for school/education, careers and family. After the vision board is complete each family member discusses why the images or words were included in this collage of goals. The posters can be displayed in a prominent area of the home as a reminder of your teenager's goals in order to keep them on track. As a parent, you can guide your child by helping them make decisions that are necessary to achieve their goals.

Discussing the importance of healthy relationships is crucial to your teenager's well being. Maintaining high self-esteem, respect and caring for others are keys to making healthy decisions and creating healthy relationships. Giving them examples of healthy relationships will help them chose friends and other associates to socialize with. Another activity for the entire family is making index cards with words like violence, drugs, sex, honesty, caring, love, respect. Make as many cards of words you can think of. Shuffle the stack of cards and take turns picking a card. As a family, discuss whether or not the word on the index card contributes to a healthy relationship. Explain that a healthy relationship is one that helps them grow and is not one that destroys them. Use newspaper articles, magazines movies or even tv shows to continue discussing examples of healthy relationships. Share your own real life experiences to give authentic examples to your teenagers.

Although you do not have to be an expert on the topic, talking to your teenagers early and often about sex and your expectations are crucial. Whether your child chooses to wait until a certain time in their life or your teenager is already sexually active, it is important to educate them on the benefits and consequences of their decisions. It is also important for your teenager to know that you love, respect and support them even if they make an unhealthy choice.


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