AMES, Iowa -- Dealing with economic uncertainty is tough for Iowa families with teenagers. As the state faces 10 percent across-the-board budget cuts, many parents may have increasing worries about their own jobs, schedules and family finances, said Kimberly Greder, an Iowa State University associate professor and ISU Extension family life specialist.
“Combine economic worries with ever-changing parent-teen relationships, and you have the potential for a lot of stressed-out families,” Greder said.
It’s normal for teenagers to spend less time at home with the family and more time with friends. It’s also normal for parents and teens to have conflicts, Greder said. “But your relationship with your teen is changing, not ending.”
ISU Extension has several publications available online to help families with teens deal with stress and change and learn to live together, Greder said. Iowans can download pdf files or order copies from the ISU Extension Online store, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/store/. Publications also are available from ISU Extension county offices.
“Stress for Families with Teens — Stress: Taking Charge,” PM1660C, covers the importance of reassuring teenagers of their parents’ love, while at the same time having rules and limits.
Parent-teen conflict is explored in “Managing Conflict with Teens — Stress: Taking Charge,” PM 1660G. Parents can learn ways to manage disagreements with their teens, resulting in a happier, more peaceful family.
In “Understanding Emotional Changes — Living with Your Teenager,” Pm 944A, parents can learn what causes increased emotionality in teenagers and how to deal with it.
“The Changing Parent-Child Relationship — Living with your Teenager,” PM 944B, covers the struggles between parents and teens, along with the helpful attitudes and expectations that will ease parent/teen conflicts.
“Understanding Changes in Thinking — Living with Your Teenager,” PM 944C, explains the way teenagers think about themselves and discusses values parents teach their children.
In “Understanding Physical Changes — Living with Your Teenager,” PM 944D, parents can learn about the changes in their teen’s body and how to prepare him or her for these changes.
Help Teens Become Independent
“As parents, our job is to help our teenagers become independent by allowing them to try, make mistakes and slowly take control of their lives. The reward for allowing and encouraging gradual independence in teenagers is to have them become healthy, responsible adult children who will enjoy coming back home to visit,” Greder said.
Managing Tough Times
For more information on dealing with stress and economic uncertainty, see ISU Extension’s Managing Tough Times Web site, www.extension.iastate.edu/answers.
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775,