There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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No, I am not going to tell you how to translate the latest teen expressions into plain English. I am hopelessly out of date.

Instead I will offer you some tips about what to do when that previously talkative kid of yours now clams up and speaks to you only in monosyllables.

• Remember the old slogan, “Stop! Look! and Listen!” When it comes to talking with (notice I did not say “talking to”) a teenager before you start, stop long enough to find the right time and place. Look at your teen: where is he or she at? What does body language tell you? And listen, really listen, to what your teen is saying.

• Use “I” messages, say what YOU feel not what the teen is “always” or “never” doing that bugs you.

• Lose all those bad parenting habits like nagging, yelling, criticizing, sarcasm, put downs, and idle threats. They don’t work and will only lead your teen to clam up even more.

• Ask your teen to chair a weekly family meeting to discuss chores, rules, or whatever is bothering somebody. He or she is responsible for setting the agenda and making sure everybody shows up.

• Set up a weekly breakfast at a restaurant just for you and your teen to share what’s on your minds.

• Try a daily “One-minute Sharing.” Find a time when each of you share just ONE THING that happened during your day. (Yes it takes about five minutes to talk about what was shared but both teens and busy parents like the one-minute idea.)

• Have a monthly “date” with your teen, a one-on-one event rather than a family outing. Go to a movie, out for a meal or a hike. I did this with each of my children. It was sometimes easier to figure out what to do with my daughter but my son liked movies so that helped. Ask the teen plan the date.

• Share yourself and your feelings. Talk about your teen years even some of the embarrassing moments.