“Seven Tips for Helping Your Teens,” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 72
1 Plan. Little good in life happens without a written plan. Unwritten goals often become unrealized intentions. Plan first with your spouse, then with your teenagers, possibly during family councils. Use a calendar and set goals.
2 Smile. Plan to have fun together. Jog; swim; play racquetball, tennis, or golf; attend a movie, play, or symphony; visit art galleries; study subjects of mutual interest; sing or play musical instruments together. Begin now. Teen years end quickly.
3 Serve. Discuss how to serve grandparents, neighbors, friends, or family. Painting, yardwork, snow removal, house and car cleaning—the list is as long as your imagination. In service, teenagers find joy in helping others and learn important lessons about love.
4 Teach. Read scriptures and share faith-promoting stories at mealtimes that teach simple gospel principles. Discuss current events, take field trips, or attend a class together. Talk about what it means to be a responsible citizen in the home, at church, and in the community.
5 Pray. Kneel together and pray with and for your teenagers. Hold family prayer. Give priesthood blessings. Pray for those who influence your teenager—friends, teachers, advisers, and work associates.
6 Listen. While listening to what teenagers have to say, pay special attention to what they don’t say: fears, tensions, likes, and dislikes. Listening provides insight into a teenager’s special world. Make opportunities to be together by driving to lessons, going shopping, attending school activities, or working together around the house.
7 Be kind. Quiet voices and smiles of approval convey acceptance and create good feelings faster than do frowns, criticisms, or lectures. Say “yes” more often than “no.” Trust more and use restrictive rules less. Kindness invites goodwill, which can bring greater love and peace.—Richard Linford, Salt Lake City, Utah