We’ve put together a list of small but important steps you can take to help “turn things around” with your teen.

Listen

When your teen is talking about something, remind yourself you aren’t going to interrupt, criticize or give advice.

Get involved

Find out one thing today you don’t know about your teen’s life. This might include who your teen’s friends are, who their parents are, and what places they’re going. Or find out what Internet sites your teen visits, and what information he or she has posted.

Tell them what you care about

Let them know, briefly, that you want them not to smoke, drink, have sex, or whatever it is you care about. No lecture needed.

Change one habit during an argument

Do you shout? Talk softly. Do you tend to argue in the kitchen? Stop the argument and move to another room, or plan a conversation for the car. Say yes to something you might usually say no to.

Try peacemaking

Are you “always right”? Apologize or take responsibility for something, even something small, in a conflict with your teen. Tell your teen about something you messed up when you were a teenager.

Manage your own stress

Do one extra or new thing just for yourself. This might mean calling a friend, taking a nap, going for a walk, lighting an aromatherapy candle, or whatever you do to relax and feel cared for.

One extra step

Find a way to add one extra positive moment each day. This could be an extra hug, an “I love you” on the way out the door, or an encouraging note on the kitchen table.

Remember, it’s often the small things that can make an impossible situation suddenly seem workable, or a tense conversation feel more relaxed.

You can turn it around!

“From Our House To Yours” is written by Lara Palay, LISW and Team Leader of the Huckleberry House Family Support Program.