4 Common Parent-Teen Challenges and How Educators Can Help | By: Kim Gulbrandson Are you an educator or community member who works with teens? Has a parent ever asked you for resources or ideas to help navigate challenges with his or her teen? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, then ParenTeenConnect.org, a new, free online tool, is worth exploring. The site helps parents and teens tackle common challenges by providing a variety of communication and relationship-building resources on four main topics: screen time, communication, independence, and responsibility. Take some time to learn about the many resources the site offers on these four topics, and if you like what you see, tell parents about it. Screen Time Media is great, but parents and teens can sometimes have drastically different ideas about what apps and websites are appropriate and how much time is okay to spend online. Have you ever hoped you could talk with parents about their teens’ use of technology, or do you wish there was more to offer them on this topic? Do family members ever ask you questions about screen time that you’re not sure how to answer, such as good rules for screen time, or how to best limit screen time without conflict? ParenTeen Connect offers quick and easy-to-access resources for these questions and more. Be sure to also tell parents about the Learn More page, which connects users to eight additional resources on technology and screen time. Communication Does communicating with teens ever seem like an impossible task? Do parent-teen communication or relationship issues ever “spill over” and affect what happens in your classroom? When parents have the opportunity to listen and reflect on what other teens and parents think about communication, it can help them decide what to do about such challenges in their own lives. By sharing the voices of many, the ParenTeen Connect Real Voices videos provide parents and teens with other perspectives, so they know they’re not alone. Below the Real Voices videos, parents will find the Get Talking section, which provides videos and discussion prompts to help them communicate with their teens about tough topics. Independence Will teens always do whatever they want, no matter what their parents think? How can parents balance giving teens the independence they want, need, and can handle while at the same time managing their own emotions? One option is to learn more about independence and adolescence, which parents can do by taking the ParenTeen Connect independence quiz. If parents want to explore a specific question about independence further, they can click on the “Source” link for that question and the link will take them directly to the cited article for more information. ParenTeen Connect offers four quizzes, one per topic. Responsibility Do you know teens who seem to avoid responsibility, whether in school or at home? Have parents shared concerns about their teens and responsibility, and do they ask about what to do when their teens push back? Listening to and understanding a teen’s point of view is a good place to start, but there’s more to it than that. The Expert Advice videos on ParenTeenConnect.org provide additional insights and ideas from adolescent parenting expert Dr. Laura Kastner. Parents and teens can use this advice to plan ahead for conflicts about responsibility—or anything else—by consulting the Make a Plan videos and using the downloadable If–Then Plan PDF on each topic page. Parents need support when it comes to understanding and managing challenging times with their teens. As educators, we don’t always have the solutions, and parents may not have much time to search for and access the resources they need. When you notice such challenges arise, when they transfer over into classroom difficulties, or when parents come to you with questions and concerns about their teens, tell them about ParenTeenConnect.org.