Flipping the Switch to Positive for Parenting Teens: New Resource

Published on in Children's Doctor

The Center for Parent and Teen Communication (CPTC) hopes to strengthen family connections and support the health and well-being of adolescents. CPTC, located within the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has produced an evidence-informed, web-based toolkit to equip parents and other caregivers with the best communication and parenting strategies to support their children’s journey through the tween and teen years.

But communication is a two-way street. Further, health and wellness promoting messages can’t just be promoted by parents. Young people best incorporate healthy choices into their lives when they’re internally motivated to do so. For this reason, CPTC has also produced materials designed by teens that speak directly to adolescents.

We hope the information on the CPTC website will be valued by your practice. We have worked to build an innovative, trusted resource you can feel good about passing along to both your adolescent patients and their parents, extending the important conversations you begin in the office. Our website offers easily accessible formats (written pieces, videos, podcasts, slideshows, and more) to prepare parents and empower teens.

Topics for parents and caregivers

We cover a wide range of subjects including:

  • An understanding of the developmental forces that shape adolescent behavior
  • Tips for building and maintaining strong family units
  • Effective parent-teen communication strategies
  • Strategies for seeing and reinforcing the best in adolescents
  • Strategies to support the development of the character strengths known to lead toward a successful future and meaningful life
  • Effective discipline and monitoring strategies
  • Stress management techniques that promote wise decision-making even during challenging moments
  • Tips for protecting adolescents from unhealthy behaviors including substance use, bullying, and reckless driving
  • Tips for recognizing signs of emotional distress
  • Strategies for guiding teens toward behavioral support services
  • Tips for implementing a balanced parenting style that both expresses warmth and sets and monitors limits. Decades of research show balanced parenting leads to desired academic, emotional, and behavioral outcomes and the strongest connections and open communication within families.

Topics for tweens and teens

  • Tips for communicating effectively with their parents
  • Strategies to maintain control over their behavioral choices
  • A comprehensive interactive stress management plan that allows them to build a personalized strategy to manage life’s inevitable stressors in healthy ways. Because so many emotional and physical symptoms are driven by stress, this plan can be used to augment your clinical guidance.

A strength-based positive view of teens

Adolescence is a time of profound potential. Yet all too often, families are exposed to negative messaging about teens and their behaviors. The constant drumbeat of negative messaging about teens and teen behavior can’t be dismissed as meaningless banter because young people live up or down to adult expectations. Furthermore, negative and inaccurate portrayals of young people disempower parents from taking on their vital role. For example, if parents believe adolescents see themselves as invulnerable, they could view attempts at affecting behavioral decision-making as futile. They may focus only on controlling their teen and miss the opportunity to develop their children’s own capacity to assess and avoid risk.

The CPTC works to change these undermining narratives as a step to smooth the adolescent journey into adulthood. By making credible science accessible and relatable, the CPTC aims to help caregivers better understand their teens. Our materials do not deny the challenges parenting teenagers can sometimes bring; rather, they put them in a developmental context and empower parents to support positive development while minimizing potential risks.

Rooted in evidence and informed by experts

The CPTC is a collective effort, reflecting and magnifying wisdom of experts on parenting, health and wellness, developmental psychology, positive youth development, character development, and resilience. These experts review content for consistency and accuracy, and ensure materials are, as best as possible, not culturally biased. We have also taken steps to make our content relevant to families across America—whether they live in a rural community or big city. The Meet Our Team section on the website lists all advisers and staff.

At its core, the Center for Parent and Teen Communication is committed to strengthening family relationships and shaping youth who will possess the character strengths that will prepare them for healthy, successful, and meaningful lives. We need them to lead us into the future!

Access CPTC resources at parentandteen.com and stay in touch via social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.