Set yourself and your Teenager up for a successful 2019!

January 28, 2019

Set yourself and your Teenager up for a successful 2019!

3 Ways to wipe the slate clean


By Davina Donovan
As featured on

I don’t know about you, but I feel that time gets away quicker and quicker each year:  it’s nearly February ALREADY!   I'm sure the holiday period has come with some parenting challenges:  device use, game use, boredom, attitude, staying up late and sleeping in (and that’s just the parent!). School is just returning and your Teenager is probably not thrilled about this.  Adjusting back into the routine of school can be a battle for some (*how difficult was it for you to return to work?). 


Here are a few tips to help you and your Teen start this school year on the front foot, to set you and them up for a successful 2019.

  1. Get into a routine and stick to it

    While routine can sound mundane and boring, for Teenagers it creates a sense of safety and security through predictability.  Mark Zuckerberg once said that he wears the same outfit every day in order to remove yet another decision from his day so that he can focus his mind and attention on the more important things in life, such as growing his Facebook empire.  Routine and consistency not only take pressure off Teenagers, it allows predictability.  In a world where there are many uncertainties (which can result in anxiety), predictability in some aspects of life can reduce stress and anxiety levels in other areas.  Plus, a routine allows you to be able to plan your day/week ahead so that you can spend more time thinking and considering the more important things like work, child care or managing finances;
  2. Negotiate boundaries now, not when they are tested:

    You don’t need a psychology degree to know that Teenagers test and push boundaries!  Instead of waiting for a rule to be broken, sit down with your Teen today and discuss and negotiate the boundaries.  Allow a healthy debate and be prepared to negotiate.  If you allow them to voice their opinion they are more likely to listen to yours.  Ensure you tell them why you have your opinion (really driving home that the boundaries are there for their safety and healthy development) and ask them for their unique why.  When the boundaries are negotiated (i.e., home by 8pm on a school night/2 hours of screen time on a school night) then discuss the consequences should the boundaries be broken.  Ensure your Teen has some say in the consequences to ensure that the consequences are important enough to your Teen to act as a deterrent.  Remember, consequences don’t necessarily have to be punishment, such as taking away a device or grounding your Teen. One of the most powerful consequences is pointing out what naturally occurs when a boundary is broken such as a lost of trust in the Teen (which means they are less likely to be allowed to go out in the future) and a possible disruption to their friendships and social profile (such as getting drunk and embarrassing oneself at a party);
  3. Set goals

    Many Teenagers say they lack purpose and meaning in their life.  They often cannot see the point of going to school and sometimes cannot see the point of life.  Sit with your Teen and help them to find out their meaning and purpose.  For example, if they have dreams of travelling one day, they obviously need money to do this.  Do get money, they need a job.  To get a job, most workplaces require at least the completion of year 10.  Bingo – you’ve just found purpose in attending school.   To help them understand their overall purpose in life, help them understand their values.  Values are principles or standards of behaviour or one’s judgement of what is important in life.  This worksheet is one way to determine goals and values [click here


Wishing you all the very best for an amazingly successful 2019!


Author bio: Davina Donovan is a practicing Psychologist, with over 10 years of industry experience.  She is also an author, speaker, researcher, educator and consultant with a special interest and experience in Teenagers, Parenting and Suicide. Davina has seen and heard just about everything when it comes to Teens: the good, the bad and the ugly. For years, Davina has listened to Teenagers tell her things they would not dream of telling their parents; all the while, supporting parents as they watch on helplessly, feeling fear, guilt and anger.   Davina has the unique skill of ‘Speaking Teen’ and has a passion for empowering parents and Teenagers to remain connected during the inevitable challenges that arise in the Teenage years. You can find Davina at Speak Teen as well as in the Exploring Teens Directory

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