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Choose your stage of parenting

As our kids get older, they grow in both body and brain. Parenting strategies that once worked well become as uncomfortable as the third winter in a pair of adjustable ice skates: they no longer fit. We can’t speak to a teenager the same way we’d address a child in fourth grade. Nor does a university sophomore who lives in another town expect to be treated as a high school student. This is the way it should be. As we know from research in neuroscience, emotional maturity, information processing and decision-making capabilities in each of these stages of development are vastly different.

We can be effective parents throughout our kids’ lives by adjusting our parenting approach to match their cognitive development. This means that, at each new stage in our children’s lives – childhood, adolescence, young adulthood – we enter a new stage as a parent, too. In the wide-eyed years of childhood, we take the role of teacher. As they grow into teenagers who already “know it all,” we can be their facilitator through the big transitions. And when they mature into young adults, eager – and, we hope, able – to find their own way, but we can remain a positive influence as the coach in their corner.

Don’t be a friend. Be a friendly parent.

- Wendy Froberg, Canadian Child Psychologist

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Family Talk is your go-to website for parenting information and support

Here you’ll find information on relationship approaches that work throughout the different stages of parenting, and a caring community of support. Through webinars, engaging blogs, how-to videos, the latest research findings, and our downloadable Parent Guide, Family Talk offers it all.

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