Lots of parents see the new year as a time they can help make a shift in their family, and they’re right! The new year is the perfect chance to take a look at your parenting and see if there are changes you might like to make.
Browse By Topic
You are not alone. Raising young people takes a group effort and everyone—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, clergy, coaches—play an important role. There are people, places, and resources everyone can turn to when help is needed to support young people.
Research shows that young people who are optimistic about the future have better relationships with their parents, increased self-esteem, and decreased emotional or behavioral problems, such as depression, early sexual activity, and violence.
When young people think today about what they want to accomplish in their lives, it shapes their sense of purpose. Each and every young person has something unique to offer the world.
Teach young people the values and actions that will build genuine self-esteem, including caring, giving, treating others with kindness and tolerance, and always doing your best in school and other activities.
When young people feel empowered, they feel more confident to make their own choices—to get good grades, participate in activities they enjoy, and take action to find solutions to problems.
People who have a strong, positive sense of self maintain these qualities even when difficulties arise. They continue to be hopeful and optimistic, and believe they can make a difference.
Research shows that young people who resolve conflicts peacefully do better in school, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to use alcohol and other substances.
Learning resistance is one of the most important social skills to develop. With these skills in hand young people make appropriate decisions and stand firm in what they believe.
Although most people gravitate toward people who are similar to themselves, it’s important to expose young people to a variety of cultures and people. People from different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds can learn many things from one another.
Research shows that young people who have empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills are more likely to grow up healthy and avoid risky behaviors, such as violence and alcohol and other drug use.
Work with young people to focus on long-term outcomes—not just on the moment. Helping them to internalize and stand up for their personal values also makes it easier for them to practice restraint and withstand negative peer pressure.
Following rules is important, but is doing as you’re told enough? To become strong, upstanding, and successful adults, possessing a personal desire to be responsible is also significant.
Although telling the truth is not always easy, teaching young people the value of honesty, is important. Honesty is crucial for success in all areas of life, including relationships, school, and jobs.
Anytime young people draw on their inner spark of courage and act based on their values, they have integrity. The best way to teach integrity to young people may be to practice and model it yourself.
It’s important for young people to be involved in both direct and indirect caring. Direct help is when you spend time and interact with people who need care. Indirect help is when you collect money, food, or other items to give to people who distribute the items to those in need.
Reading for fun teaches young people how to become strategic, skilled readers. They learn the difference between reading for a test and reading for pleasure. They learn when to read carefully or skim, ask questions or consult a dictionary.
Research shows that young people who care about their school are less likely to be involved in violence or the use of alcohol and other drugs. They also are more likely to become good leaders, value diversity, and succeed in school.
Doing well academically doesn’t have to mean getting straight A’s or being the valedictorian. It does mean doing their best work and caring about their performance, whether they’re creating an art portfolio or writing an essay.
Instilling Commitment to Learning involves a combination of values and skills that include the desire to succeed in school, a sense of the lasting importance of learning, and a belief in one’s own ability.
Young people who spend at least one hour a week involved in activities within a faith-based organization are more likely to: provide service to others, enjoy youth programs, follow and provide positive peer influence, and exercise restraint when it comes to risky behaviors.
Research shows that young people who regularly spend time in sports, clubs, or other youth programs have higher self-esteem and better leadership skills, and are less likely to feel lonely.
Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy when they have opportunities to learn new skills and interests through both structured and unstructured activities.
When caring adults show they believe in young people and help them reach their potential, youth are better able to do just that. Express your expectations to young people as a hope you hold for them.
Young people look up to adults. They see you—especially if you’re a parent—as the type of person they want to become someday. They want heroes. That’s why it’s so important to be the best person you can be.
Rules and expectations are important. They help establish the do’s and don’ts for society and help things run smoothly. But rules are not automatically known; they must be created and learned.
Every day young people face many options and choices. Boundaries and expectations provide young people with the support they need to choose wisely.
The ways people express ideas, energy, and insights make each person unique. Helping young people find their voices is one of the best ways to help them be a positive force in their families, schools, clubs, teams, or neighborhoods.
As young people grow older, they quickly sense where they are wanted and where they aren’t. Do the young people around you have opportunities to participate, serve, lead, and make decisions within the community?
Feeling valued and appreciated is important to all of us. For young people, this means feeling safe and believing they’re liked and respected. These feelings can go a long way toward empowering children and youth.
Young people need their parents to stay actively involved in their education throughout middle and high school. Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy when their parents are involved in their education.
Research shows that young people who go to school where the environment feels caring and encouraging get better grades, have healthier relationships, get into less trouble, and are interested in and better able to reach their dreams.
Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy if they live in a community with caring neighbors. The key is to create a safe haven in which young people feel loved, supported, and understood.
Research shows that young people who have three or more caring adults who support them feel happier and more hopeful, do better in school, and are less likely to rely on drinking, smoking, or drugs to feel good or fit in.
Research shows that young people who experience positive communication with their parents are more likely to grow up healthy and are more willing to seek their parents’ advice and counsel.
any people, my thought bubbles can get filled with negative stuff, especially when I’m worried or anxious. For a lot of us, the coronavirus has created some new anxieties and concerns.
Is a gluten-free/casein-free diet helpful in treating autism? Our son was diagnosed as autistic several years ago. We've been using behavioral therapies with him, but a friend suggested that this kind of diet might also be helpful.
Do you have any advice for disciplining and training uncooperative school‐age children? My child is now in the elementary grades and life in our household is still an ongoing battle. Can you help us?
How can we encourage and promote our young child's love for learning when we don't have the money for preschool? She already knows how to read and she's curious about everything. I'm not sure that I'm equipped to homeschool a child of her ability. What do you suggest we do?
We have a toddler who is just learning to talk – is there anything important we should know about the respective ways in which moms and dads influence speech development?
How do we deal with a small child who takes off and has to be chased down every time he misbehaves and suspects that he's about to be punished? Is this normal? How should we respond?
How do I tell my young children that their dad won't be around for a long time because he's going to jail? He just received a two‐year prison term. Is there a gentle way to break this to them and help them understand?
Will my sarcastic style of humor hurt my children? I've always tended to express myself in a wry, ironic way. But now my spouse is telling me that this is going to be damaging to our kids, especially as they move into the teen years. What do you think?
How can fathers help their girls learn about modesty? I want my daughter to get a handle on this concept before she becomes a teen, but I feel awkward about raising this subject with her. What's the right role for a father here?
My husband frequently lashes out at our children physically, and has seriously injured them on more than one occasion. I want to protect them, but I'm terrified of how he may react if I challenge him. What can I do?
How can I tell whether my toddler has a serious case of stuttering or stammering, or whether it's just a normal part of speech development when he has difficulty getting his words out?
How do we help a child who seems to have no sense of humor? I'm concerned about how this will affect him socially. Even more importantly, I want him to enjoy life. Am I right to be concerned?
How can I give my kids the chance to try different activities and programs when we don't have much money? I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband works hard to support our family, but we're living on a shoestring budget. I don't want my children to miss out on life-enriching opportunities.
I am frazzled! I feel like I have almost nothing left for my kids or my husband, but it just feels wrong if I even think of saying “no” when I’m asked to volunteer or help. What can I do?
Our son is turning 10-years-old this month, and we’d like to celebrate his birthday a little differently. We’re not trying to go cheap on him, but we want to do something that focuses on celebrating him.