Research: Why a warm relationship with your teen can change their lives

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Common sense tells us that when parents and teenagers get on well, and feel good about their relationships with each other, things go better.

But common sense is backed up by research which tells us specifically what a warm parent-teen relationship does.  Here are three key research findings.

When researchers ask teens to rate how warm and supportive their parents are, they find that:

When parents are rated as warm and supportive, teens are less likely to engage in risky behaviour (eg abuse of alcohol, risky sexual practices).

When parents are rated as warm and supportive, teens are more accepting of their parents monitoring their behaviour (ie knowing what they are doing across the week - at school, at home and with friends).    This is important because in previous studies, higher parental monitoring is associated with better school performance and other success indicators.

When parents are rated as warm and supportive, teens are more likely to tell their parents about the difficult situations in their lives.

An important point:  parent warmth and support is independent of parent rules and boundaries, and parent-teen conflict.  In other words, there were hundreds of teens that rated their parents are having rules and boundaries, and having conflict with their parents - that nevertheless rated their parents are warm and supportive.  This means that as parents, we can be seen as warm and supportive while still having rules and boundaries and even conflict with our teens.

The good news is that being warm and supportive of a teen does not have to take hours of time.  Here are three things warm and supportive parents do for their teens:

1.They notice the things teens are doing well.

"Hey you remembered to unpack the dishwasher last night.  Thanks hugely for that"

2.They empathise with teens more often than they give advice.

"That sounds like a really tough situation"

3.They comment on the teens positive characteristics

"You're so determined when you put your mind to something"

We currently have one new client booking available in May, and three in the first week of June.  If you would like help in managing difficult relationships with your teen, please feel free to contact us for info about how we work with families on 08 8357 1711 or click here

Developing Minds News:  

1.  When Life Sucks for Kids is going through a final edit!  I'm really looking forward to having it published ready for sale in July this year.  Stay tuned for launch!

2. When Life Sucks for Teens Ipod/Iphone App is nearly here!  You will be able to download the full ebook onto your phone or your teen's phone so they have instant access to advice, online help and prompts to email/message a parent or friend in tough times.  Stay tuned for this launch too!

Any questions or comments at any time - email me directly at  I personally respond to each and every email I receive.