In celebration of National Runaway Safety Prevention Month (NRPM), National Runaway Safeline (NRS) is rolling out new tips for parents throughout November, with a unique twist. NRS turned to parents to get these helpful tips on confronting the challenges of being a parent. Each tip was approved by an expert panel that includes me alongside Cyndi Lauper, Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist, civil rights activist, and co-founder for True Colors Fund; Charlotte Latvala, columnist and magazine contributor on parenting; Christina Tynan-Wood, blogger for Momster on the Family Circle website; Congressman Dave Reichert, Representative from the Eighth Congressional District of Washington; James Garbarino, author and professor at Loyola University Chicago; and Darla Bardine, policy director for the National Network for Youth. This is just a snippet of the great advice parents passed on. I encourage you to visit here for more tips, on a variety of topics, that we add each Sunday during NRPM:
- A relationship is always more important than an issue.
- Communication is key. Parents need to keep in mind that listening is a skill so it is important to hear your children out before rendering judgment or an opinion.
- Pick your battles. Not everything matters. Let them have freedom with some things (like dying hair - it can be changed!), but not with the important stuff - dating, internet use, drugs, alcohol, drinking and driving.
- When it's time to talk with teens about a tough or sensitive topic, it is important to share some of your personal experiences, but not to over-share.
- Validate your teen’s point of view. Sometimes kids just want to know that you hear what they say, even if you don’t agree.
- Collaborate on rules. Your teens are more likely to comply with rules they helped set up.
- Teens are going to make mistakes. It’s a part of the process of growing up. Let them know you will still be there when they stumble and fall.