Parents of teenagers aged 13 – 15 years: 10 ideas to increase participation and communication skills

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  1. Independence: Support your teenager to participate in activities without direct parents/carers supervision (e.g. public transport, movies, bowling, Laser Tag, video arcade, park days).
  2. Decision-making: Encourage teenagers to make hard decisions and trade-offs (e.g. about school subjects, assignments topics, extra-curricular activities and social groups).
  3. High expectations, more responsibility: ‘Raise the bar’ in what you expect (using support where needed), e.g. with home chores, self-study, sports, classroom tasks, community services to others.
  4. Adjust family relationships: Respect your teenager’s natural desire for more independence, encourage friendships with siblings and extended family members, address concerns that may hinder positive family relationships
  5. Re-frame support: Recast ‘babysitter’ supports to age-appropriate, informal oversight, opinion sharing and mentoring.
  6. Encourage friendships: e.g. peers they enjoy spending unstructured time with, and interest-based groups (e.g. games, sports, movies, music).
  7. Social/recreational activities: Keep teenagers busy with local sports (soccer, football, netball), before- and after-school programs, and community groups (e.g. computer and technology clubs, gaming clubs, dance troupes).
  8. Professional support: If required, access services and programs to target specific goals that are functional and important to your teenager (e.g. with talking to new people, sending messages/texts to friends, posting on forums, social media, and independent shopping).
  9. Stay positive: Understand your teenager’s strengths, abilities and needs; encourage your teenager to use and extend their skills, and to persevere through challenges, and connect with networks/families who share similar needs.
  10. Self-care: The teenage years can be challenging! Don’t be shy in seeking practical, emotional, counselling, and care support when required. Make time to have your own life!

10 practical ideas to increase your child's participation and communication skills for children aged 13-15 years

Key source: National Disability Insurance Scheme (2014). Report of the Independent Advisory Council to the National Disability Insurance Scheme: Reasonable and Necessary Support across the Lifespan: An Ordinary Life for People with Disability. Examples our own.

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