Teenage daughter looking at messages in a smartphone and ignoring her furious mother. Bad family communication concept by new technologies

Raising Teens In Shanghai

By Carrie Jones, LCSW

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Raising teens anywhere is not an easy job, but raising them in Shanghai, away from the comforts and familiarity of home and natural support systems you have there can be a particular challenge.  Here a few tips and resources to try to make it a little easier for you.

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If you are facing issues with your teen and feel like you need some extra support, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I especially enjoy working with this age group and the energy and passion with which they approach life.  And, after working in public schools back in the US and in an international school here in Shanghai, I feel like I have at least a little insight and understanding into teens and the unique challenges and issues they face.

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GENERAL TIPS FOR TALKING WITH YOUR TEENAGER

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  • Listen to them!
  • Remember that teens’ emotions, feelings, and issues are as real and valid as adults’
  • Address tough issues openly and early on
  • Use opened ended questions (not yes/no questions) as much as possible
  • Be careful how you ask “why”
  • Don’t over-react or panic when your teen tells you something
  • Be careful not to constantly lecture, nag, or tell your teen what to do (or how to feel)
  • Remind your teen that everyone (including yourself!) makes mistakes and that often it is from our mistakes that we learn and grow the most
  • Don’t be afraid to admit to your teen when you are wrong and to apologize when needed
  • Use lots of praise and encouragement with teens, and not just for major accomplishments

HELPFUL WEBSITES FOR TEENS AND/OR TEEN ISSUES

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Drugs and Alcohol:
www.theantidrug.com - info in English, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Spanish

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Eating Disorders:
www.eatingdisorders.org.au - has a free hotline for both English and non-English speakers

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Variety of Issues:
http://kidshealth.org/teen/ - info both for teens and parent on a wide variety of topics related to teens’ physical, sexual, mental, and emotional health       

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RECOMMENDED READING

Third Culture Kids by David C. Pollack and Ruth E. Van Reken Identifies and discusses the challenges, rewards, and impact of growing up abroad