With the whirlwind of distractions pulling your teen in different directions, it’s more crucial than ever to establish a nurturing and supportive atmosphere at home. As trends in technology, social norms, and parenting styles evolve, it’s up to you to define your parenting approach with kindness and adaptability. In general, parenting styles can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Reactive Parenting: Your teen will naturally test the boundaries you set—it’s all part of growing up! But reacting with understanding rather than heightened emotions is key. By staying calm and empathetic, you’re helping your teen navigate conflicts in a healthy way, both at home and beyond.
  2. Wavering Parenting: If you find it tough to consistently enforce rules, you might be wavering as a parent. Setting clear guidelines and sticking to them can strengthen your bond with your teen and reinforce the importance of accountability.
  3. Proactive Parenting: When you establish clear boundaries and consistent consequences, you’re practicing proactive parenting. This means disciplining with empathy and understanding, even if it means summoning up some confidence now and then. Proactive parents know that these boundaries are crucial for their teen’s growth into responsible adults.

As you can see, proactive parenting tends to yield the best results in the long run. But if you find yourself leaning towards reactive or wavering parenting and want to make a change, there are steps you can take to adjust your approach!


How do I become a proactive parent?

The best way to become a proactive parent (or enhance your proactive parenting approach) is by using the Guidelines, Monitoring, and Consequences (GMC) model:

  • Guidelines: Set clear rules with your teen.
  • Monitoring: Check in with them regularly to ensure they’re following these rules.
  • Consequences: Apply consistent consequences if rules are broken.

For instance, let’s apply this model to a rule about social media use:

  • Guidelines: Your teen is not allowed to use social media during their evening homework time during the school year.
  • Monitoring: Check in periodically to ensure they’re following this rule.
  • Consequences: If they break this rule, they lose phone privileges during dinner time.

By setting clear boundaries, monitoring adherence, and applying fair consequences, you empower your teen to understand expectations and take responsibility for their actions.


Now, let’s talk about preparing for a safe and enjoyable prom and graduation:

For parents of seniors, prom and graduation are exciting milestones that require careful planning and open communication. Here are three important steps you can take to ensure a memorable experience for your teen:

  1. Set Clear Curfews: While you may extend their curfew slightly for these special occasions, it’s essential to maintain reasonable boundaries. If your teen plans to spend time outside the house after prom or graduation, ensure you’re aware of their plans and who is supervising.
  2. Be Present When They Return: Stay awake until your teen returns home after their outings. Knowing you’re waiting for them reinforces the importance of curfew and accountability.
  3. Communicate Openly: Have an honest conversation with your teen before their prom or grad night. Ask about their feelings, discuss plans, and get to know their friends and their parents. Building trust and understanding fosters responsible decision-making and ensures a safer experience for everyone involved.


Alcohol awareness throughout the year:

While prom and grad night are occasions where teens may encounter alcohol, it’s crucial to address alcohol awareness year-round. Here are three strategies to empower your teen to make responsible choices:

  1. Encourage Assertiveness: Teach your teen to confidently assert their values and boundaries. Remind them that it’s okay to say “no” to activities that go against their principles or the rules you’ve set. True friends will respect their decisions.
  2. Foster Supportive Relationships: Encourage your teen to surround themselves with friends who share their values and support their choices. Having a supportive network reduces the likelihood of succumbing to peer pressure.
  3. Explore Alternative Activities: Help your teen discover fun and engaging activities that don’t involve alcohol. By offering alternatives, you provide them with opportunities for enjoyment without the risks associated with drinking.

By approaching parenting with warmth, understanding, and clear boundaries, you can guide your teen through these significant milestones while nurturing their growth and independence in a supportive environment.