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Tips for parents

August 14, 1997

Tips for parents

What to do when your kids shock you

Experts say parents should:

* Get emotional distance from teenagers by talking over bad behavior with a spouse, other parents or a counselor.

* Be respectful toward teenagers and let them know their bizarre behavior is their own responsibility.

* Assert parental authority by outlining what is acceptable in the home.

* Present their own views on how things should be, but not insist that kids be the same way.

* Stress that what goes on outside the home is the teenager's responsibility.

* Negotiate the types of clothes to be bought for school and play. For example, agree on the baggy pants in exchange for a promise that they be worn above the buttocks.

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* Encourage openness by demonstrating an ability to compromise.

* Build structure and discipline into newly forming relationships with teenagers. Don't just give in to them;

* Adjust to shocking behavior by discussing it, but not necessarily accepting it.

* Make time for relationships with other adults to avoid getting too wrapped up with the rapidly changing moods of adolescence.

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