Teens and Parental Monitoring

Parent-Hover2“Do you know where your teen is? Do you know who they are with?”  The teen years are a time of experimentation, risk taking and boundary pushing – and even the best kids may be tempted to do things that can get them into trouble.  While parents can’t ever hope to watch their teens every second, parental monitoring is a strategy that’s proven to pay huge dividends. Click on the title to read the March Parents Make A Difference: Teens and Parental Monitoring newsletter and find out more about successful parental monitoring strategies.

Teens and School Violence

The unthinkable violence in Connecticut has brought the issue of school violence to the front page. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the vast majority of students will never experience violence at school. At the same time, when disturbing events happen in America’s schools it can cause parents, students and teachers to worry about safety in their school. It can also cause us to seek ways of understanding violence among children. Read the full newsletter to explore how parents can respond to concerns about school violence. Parents Make a Difference Newsletter: Teens and School Violence.  



Parenting Teens Who Want to Fit In

Constantly changing clothing styles, musical preferences and career goals seem to be par for the course when raising teenagers.  One of the most noticeable developmental needs of teens is the sense of belonging or fitting in.  As teenagers get older, the influence of parents becomes less pronounced as the influence of peers increases.  The physical, social, cognitive and emotional changes that are a part of adolescence help form a teen’s identity.  It is during adolescences when teens determine who they are and with whom they want to be affiliated and they know  who they feel comfortable with, who they are accepted by, and who they choose not to associate with.  Parents may wonder how they can support these changes to fit in while still maintaining the role of a parent. Read more about Parenting a Teen Who Wants to Fit In in the December Parents Make A Difference Newsletter.

Teens with Technology

It is common for parents to focus on the potential problems of digital media use, like cyber-bullying or online predators, and how they can protect their children from such dangers.  However, there are many positive aspects of digital media, including the ways that it can contribute to your children’s development, enhance the parent-teen relations and provide new tools to strengthen and extend your parenting skills. According to the 2009 Southwest Wisconsin Youth Survey (SWYS) of 5,747 students in 7th through 12th grades, the majority of teens are avid users of technology.  When this survey was conducted three years ago:

  • 71% of teens were on the internet for more than an hour each week for surfing, instant messaging, chat rooms or e-mail.  Time spent on homework using the internet was not included in this question.
  • 75% of teens were playing video/computer games or watching TV more than one hour each week.
  • 81% of teens had on online profile like Facebook.

To find out more click here to see the Parents Make a Difference November Newsletter.

Teens and Positive Youth Development Indicators


Positive youth development indicators are factors that help protect a teen from engaging in risky behavior and promote positive development. Based on responses from the 2009 Southwest Wisconsin Youth Survey (SWYS) of 5,747 7th-12th graders, a majority of southwest Wisconsin teens report high levels of each of the 31positive youth development indicators that were part of the survey. To read more about how positive youth development indicators strengthen youth click here for the complete newsletter.

Teens and Conflict

Conflict can be both positive, leading to new ways of thinking about things and interesting debates, or negative, leading to anger and even violence. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of females report they would respond to being pushed or hit by another student non-violently. Sixty-four percent (64%) of males would respond to being pushed or hit by another student with violence by:

  • pushing or hitting the student right back or
  • hitting or pushing the student right back harder so they wouldn’t do it again. 

Find out more about conflict resolution strategies and practices by reading newest Parents Make a Difference Newsletter. (Just click on the title to read more.)

Parents Make A Difference Newsletter: Active Teen

Everyone needs to keep moving to keep looking and feeling good.  Children and adolescents should be encouraged to get at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. However, youth today are busy!! According to SWYS results, 28% of 10th-12th graders spend 10 or more hours per week in a job. To learn more about this click here to view the newsletter.

Teens and Sexual Abuse

Would you know a sexual abuser if you saw one?  Based on national statistics the answer would be “no”.  Those who abuse look and act just like everyone else, and are often people the victim knows.  In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy.  SWYS had similar findings as can be seen by examining teen perpetrators of teen sexual abuse in southwest Wisconsin. Click here to read more about this and find some tips to help talk with teens to help keep them safe in our February Newsletter.

January Parents Make a Difference Newsletter

Stress is often a part of our daily lives, but it is important to stop and think about how stress impacts teens’ lives.  As teens progress through school the amount of stress they report increases as shown in Figure 1.  Overall, only 10% of teens report no stress in their lives.  Helping teens to manage stress positively is a critical life skill in which parents play an important role.  Parents can help teens identify stress and model positive stress management skills. To find out more click here to see the January Parents Make a Difference Newsletter.

Teens and Family Support

Feeling loved and supported is crucial as teens grow to adulthood.  During adolescence young people are beginning to discover who they are as individuals separate from their parents.  Teens who strongly agree with the statement, “My family loves me and gives me support when I need it,” are much less likely to have tried alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, much less likely to have had sexual intercourse, and are much less likely to feel depressed. Click here to find out more by reading the December Parents Make a Difference Newsletter Teens and Family Support.

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