The teenage years can be a challenging time for an adolescent and his family. As a teenager tries to develop his own identity, there may be other factors which can influence the kind of person he wants to become. With the desire to fit in, teenagers may be subjected to conform to the behaviors, habits or attitudes of a particular group.

As teens struggle to belong, they may be at risk for developing high risk behaviors, which may be detrimental to their health. According to studies, by the time adolescents reach 13 years old, one out of five teens have already tried smoking. Around two-thirds of teens with ages 14 to 17 years old have also tried drinking alcohol. Add to that, around 25% of adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 have used illegal drugs. And one in every three kids aged 14 to 15 has had sexual activity.

Even more alarming is that some cases of intentional self-injury were provoked by teen pressure. Since a teen can be vulnerable to these influences, it is best for parents to step in, and guide an adolescent during this crucial time. With peer influences so strong, adolescents need to learn how to be firm in making the right choices.

Establishing communication lines early on is very important. If a child is used to talking to his parents for anything at all, then most likely he is also willing to discuss sensitive issues with them later on. When a teen is faced with making hard choices, he is most likely able to consult his parents, and in turn make the right decision. According to research, teens who have learned about the risks of drugs from their parents, are less likely to use illegal drugs.

Although parents can influence an adolescent’s opinion on certain matters, it is still best that they are also given the opportunity to express themselves. This will give them an idea that although you may have different views, they can still continue sharing their opinions with you. Listen to their thoughts, and try to help your teen perceive certain matters in a different light.

It may also help if parents try to prepare a child for the challenges ahead. During early adolescence, try to role play with your child scenarios, which may occur later on. There may be instances when a teen is offered a cigarette or alcohol, and when you have already gone through these situations, he may already know how to respond.

Although teenagers are way past story telling and supervised play times, it may be best that parents find ways to relate to the child. Try to find an activity that you and your teen can enjoy. While teens can look after themselves, quality time with them can help strengthen the bond.

As parents we are far from perfect, and in the same manner, our children will have their flaws too. Like most relationships, a parent-child relationship also needs effort, for it to withstand the challenges. Surely there will be dark skies ahead for your teen, but with your constant love and support, chances are he can weather the storm, and in the process develop a strong sense of identity.