Parenting Help

The teen years bring a whole new world of change: physically, emotionally and socially, says Kimberly Greder, an ISU Extension specialist and associate professor in human development and family studies. These shifts also include changes in thinking, and parents often struggle to find the right way to deal with the new issues their teens face.


“If parents are aware of the changes -- what is normal and what isn’t – the transition to the teen years can go much smoother,” Greder said. “Parents play a critical role in a teen’s life.”

For individuals who have not experienced parenting a teen, it is common to be unprepared for the changes these years bring. Parenting Young Teens, a publication series from ISU Extension, can help parents know what to expect, and provides strategies for parents to consider. Topics include early dating, effective parenting, keeping teens out of trouble, parenting in stepfamilies, teaching responsibility to young teens, using consequences to promote responsibility and young teen development. 

“Extension publications provide parents sound information that can be helpful in their important job of raising children,” Greder said.  “It is important to know what values you want to pass onto your child and which strategies are going to work best with your child to help you pass on those values.”  

One of the most common issues parents face as their children enter the teen years is deciding how much independence and responsibility their teens can handle.  Teens typically spend more time with friends, at school or community activities, which is good for developing independence, says Greder, but having parental presence and guidance during these years is also extremely important.

"Teens need to know that you know where they are, who they are hanging out with, that you have expectations for them and that you care about them," Greder said. Finding the fit of independence and guidance is a topic the series addresses.

“Extension publications are not opinion, they are not trying to sell anything” Greder said.  “They are not a talk show trying to shock parents or deliver entertainment. They simply provide research-based information with the intent of helping parents make informed choices.”

The Parenting Young Teens series (PM 1547) is available from the Extension Online store,  To learn more about the series, contact Kimberly Greder,

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