To deal with these changes, one of the best things parents can do is to work at keeping their marriage strong. The stress and tension of raising a teen can intensify any marital problems. When the couple feels unhappy in their relationship, the child is usually affected as well. Parents in conflict tend to express less concern and warmth toward their teenager and utilize stricter-than-usual discipline, creating increased emotional hardship for the child. When parents enjoy each other and are happy with their relationship, they're more likely to spend pleasurable time with their teenagers and to emphasize family teamwork.

Even when there's little conflict between parents, the overwhelming demands of providing such things as transportation and money, and of monitoring a teen's activities, can cause parents to neglect the marital relationship. This is why couples are more likely than usual to divorce when they have teenage children.

It's also imperative for parents of teens to strengthen their personal relationship with God. This seems obvious, but the fact is that the same pressures that threaten the marital relationship tend to deprive parents of time with God as well. Regular time spent cultivating closeness with Him needs to be made and kept a high priority.

Your relationships with God and your spouse should form the foundation upon which you construct your parenting. In fact, we would go so far as to say that the building blocks we present in this book will not be effective if that foundation is not solid. Therefore, commit yourself to strengthening these two areas before attempting to enhance your adolescent-parenting skills.

© Copyright 2006 Smalley Relationship Center