Services & Programs
Upcoming Events
Our Staff
Advisory Council
Contact Us

Emmitsburg Community Center
300-A South Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727


Are you worried about your teenager?

Eve Taglang

Are you worried about your teenager? Do you feel as though you have lost him? Does she seem lazy, rude, or careless? Is he always in some kind of trouble or does he come in late without calling? Would you like that kid back that used to live there? It might be time to take a look at what your teen has in her life that makes her feel good about herself and what you, as a parent, are doing to help those feelings grow. Those good things are called developmental assets, things that are in place to help her succeed. The experts have come up with a list of 40 developmental assets. Number one is family support. As a matter of fact, family support is necessary for the next 39 assets as well.

Parents have a tough job. You need to make sure that all is well at home, at school, in the neighborhood, in religious and social activities and even inside the teen's mind. How does my teen feel about himself? How does she treat others? What is important to him? What does she expect out of life? No wonder you're exhausted. Here are some things you can do fairly quickly that will ensure family support, which will then help more of the developmental assets fall into place.

Make a list of the values that are most important to you. Hint: If you don't know them, your teen doesn't either. Share your list with your teen and let her know that from now on, any behavior that does not go along with those values will be punished. The punishment will be something that fixes the broken value and it should be something that she has to do. For instance, if something gets broken, it needs to be replaced, if he hurts someone he needs to apologize and do something nice.

This will give him a clear picture of what is expected and what to expect. As with adults, if we know the rules we feel more able to do things right. If we feel able to do things right, we are more confident. Confident people expect to succeed and are willing to help and care for others along the way. People on this path attract others like themselves and together make an honest effort toward improving the world around them.

Model your values for your teen. If you want him to get involved, you get involved. If you want her to be kind, show her kindness. Put the list of family values on the refrigerator. Tell your teenager about a time when you had to make a tough choice involving one of your family values. This lets him know that it is not always easy to do the right thing but that you still feel good about your choice to this day. It also helps you show him you care without nagging, shaming or blaming.

Think of a need in your community and volunteer to help provide a solution. If you love to paint, sing, garden, dance, act, do these things and model doing creative things that make you happy even if they are far from perfect. The joy you show in doing what you love will be a picture worth a thousand words. Share your family history with your teen and embrace your family traditions. At this unpredictable time in her life, traditions provide some stability.

Let her catch you doing something silly and whenever you can and most important of all, catch your teen doing something well and tell him about it!

Return to Article Index