Ten Things to Do Before Saying “I Do”

Many people spend more time planning for a wedding than they spend planning for a marriage. Before deciding to tie the knot, consider these tips to help create a “happily ever after.”

           1. Ask: AmI ready?The happiest relationships are built on a foundation of two happy, healthy people ready to take on the challenges of a new life together. Those ready to be in a long-term relationship have dealt with their own personal challenges and issues and are not looking for someone to make them happy or to “fix” them in some way (or vice versa). 

         2. Take time.Really getting to know someone requires talking (mutual self-disclosure) + being together (in a variety of situations) + time. Because most people are usually on their best behavior when they first meet, and it takes time for patterns of behavior to emerge, this process can’t be rushed.

         3. Be cautious when in long-distance relationships. While online dating is a common way to meet people, steer clear of commitment without spending a lot of time in person in varying situations. It is easier to show only our best selves in long-distance relationships. 

         4. Play detective. Ask deep and meaningful questions to help you know if you are compatible with the person you are dating. For example, check out these 10 Questions to Ask Before Saying I Do. To ensure you aren’t biased about how you view the person you are dating, think about how others might view him or her, or even ask others about their opinions and be willing to listen to what they say about warning signs you may have missed. 

         5. Start to become part of the family. Much of who people are was learned from growing up in their family, so a lot can be learned about what someone will be like as a partner and parent from observing, asking questions, and spending time with their family. If there are concerns about a partner’s family or negative traits that a partner has learned from his or her family, you may want to think twice before getting too serious. While change is possible, it takes time and effort, and it is much easier to change before getting into a serious relationship.

           6. Watch for personality compatibility.While most people won’t have everything in common with their partner, happy relationships often have many of these important similar traits: emotional temperament, sense of humor, intelligence, energy levels, similar recreation interests, and how affection is expressed. 

         7. Be aware of each other’s values.Some of the biggest arguments in relationships relate to those things valued most because of strong feelings and opinions about them. Having similarities in how religious/spiritual you are, having common financial views and goals, and having similar ideas about family life are all significant factors in lasting relationship satisfaction.

         8. Watch for daily life compatibility.While it may not be romantic, the truth is that most of the time spent in a long-term relationship is in the daily routines of life. Consider such things as: Who will earn and manage the money? How will household responsibilities be divided? How will free time be spent? The answers to these questions can be crucial to a happy relationship. 

           9. Learn conflict resolution skills.Because everyone is different, conflict is inevitable in even the happiest relationships. When handled positively, overcoming conflict can strengthen relationships. Having a conflict plan in place can be helpful. Begin by setting the ground rules, such as choosing when and where to deal with conflict, remembering to be respectful, and practicing good listening and communication skills. 

         10. Plan now to keep your relationship strong. As with cars, relationships need regular preventative maintenance to run smoothly. Research suggests that relationship education (such as attending a class or reading a relationship book together) can help relationships stay strong. Consider what you will do as a couple to create a relationship that is “happily ever after.”

         For class schedules on relationships and further tips and information, visit HealthyRelationshipsUtah.org and Utah Marriage Commission at USU.

Contact: Naomi Brower, USU Extension professor, Naomi.brower@usu.edu, 801-399-8206

National Preparedness Month: “Take Control in 1, 2, 3”

It is well known that preparation can help overcome fear, and since September is National Preparedness Month, now is a great time to evaluate your preparedness supplies and plans. This year’s theme, “Take Control in 1, 2, 3,” empowers everyone, especially older adults, to 1) assess their needs, 2) make a plan, and 3) engage their support network to stay safe when disaster strikes.

           The website: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit has an option to download printable instructions for a basic disaster supplies kit. Recommendations for the kit include: 

  • Water – 1gallon per person per day for at least 3 days for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable foods
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air as well as plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal windows and doors if sheltering in place becomes necessary
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities such as natural gas
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Cash
  • Prescription medications

Other items can be included, but adding size and weight to the kit may require additional portable totes or backpacks. Things to consider adding include pet supplies, changes of clothing and sleeping bags. A complete list is found at the link above. 

Remember that assembling a kit is not a one-and-done task; it requires regular maintenance. You may consider placing a recurring reminder in your calendar to update and replenish the kit. Canned and packaged foods will expire, batteries will lose power, and you may think of things to add or adapt to better suit your current situation.

The link also describes where to store your kits – namely in three locations:

  • Home: Keep the kits in a designated place and have them ready in case you have to leave quickly. Make sure all family members know where they are kept. Consider including a list of pre-determined additional valuables that can be located and loaded in 5-15 minutes if there is time, space, and transportation available. The list can be taped to the container top or stored in a pocket of the backpack.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medications and comfortable walking shoes. These should be stored in a “grab and go” container in an easily accessible location.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your vehicle. It can be similar to your work kit, but you may also want to include some form of shelter and a source of warmth should you need to leave your car.

          The key to facing potential disasters is to be prepared and informed. Being proactive and preparing now will help reduce the fear of being hungry, cold, or injured in the future.

Five Back-to-School Shopping Tips 

Back-to-school shopping can be the perfect time to help kids learn to inventory their clothing, make decisions, and become wise shoppers. Below are tips to involve kids without leaving a hole in your pocketbook.

  1. Take inventory. Before venturing to the store, help kids take stock of their drawers and closets. Are there shoes that still fit from last year? Are there hand-me-downs from an older brother or sister that are in good shape? As you take inventory, note items that can be discarded, those that need repair, and things need to be purchased.

  1. Create a spending plan. After making your shopping list, involve youth in creating a spending plan. By making a plan, you develop perimeters to help them shop within their means.

  1. Watch the ads. There are many shopping apps available. One that is noteworthy is Flipp. It is free and lets you see weekly ads for major and minor retail stores. Watch it regularly to check for stores that might have sales on the items on your list. Look at the ads with your kids as you decide where to shop for their clothes and supplies. 

  1. Consider thrift shopping. Thrift shopping allows you to shop for trendy items without the price tag. It might take more than a day or two to find the things you need, but it could be the secret to helping you stick to your spending plan.

  1. Use the envelope method. This method is a great way to help kids see the value of money. Give each child their own envelope and write their name on it along with the items they need. This method will help them learn that shopping for sales will allow their dollars to stretch farther. It is also a very visual lesson that once the money is gone, it’s gone. 

Four Tips for Summer Safety

Many families are heading outdoors for recreation and activities this summer. Whether in the pool or park, the ballfield or backyard, take measures to keep family members safe from injuries, sun, and insects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a portion of their website dedicated to family health. A summary of summer safety tips are included below. For additional information, visit the CDC website.

1. Master water safety. Swimming in the pool and playing in the sprinklers are favorite summer activities. However, drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4. Water safety tips from CDC include:

·   Carefully watch young children in and around water.

·   Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.

·   Learn CPR. Knowing this skill can be critical in a time of need.

·   Install a four-sided fence around home pools.

·   Wear a properly fitted life jacket when boating.

            2. Beat the heat and sun. Overheating and sunstroke can occur in healthy children, youth, and adults if they participate in strenuous activities during hot weather. If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, move him or her to a cool location and seek medical help.

To avoid over-heating:

·   Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked.

·   Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

·   Schedule outdoor activities in the morning and evening hours.

·   Cool off with cool showers or baths.

A few serious sunburns can lead to skin cancer in the years ahead. Tanning is the skin’s way of trying to protect itself from harmful UV rays from the sun. To prevent sunburn:

·   Cover up. Clothing that covers the skin helps protect against UV rays.

·   Use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection every time you go outside.

            3. Prevent ticks and mosquitos from causing harm. Protect yourself and your family from bites and diseases. Zika, West Nile Virus, and Lyme disease can all be transmitted by insects. To help with protection:

·   Use an effective insect repellent. Products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some natural oils provide long-lasting protection.

·   Some pesticides (acaricides) can reduce the number of ticks, but these should not be relied on for providing full protection.

·   Check yourself and your children for ticks after being outdoors, especially if you have been camping or hiking. Instructions for effectively removing ticks are available on the CDC website.

            4. Prevent injuries. Falls at home and on the playground are common causes of visits to the emergency room. To avoid injury:

·   Be sure playgrounds are well maintained and have soft landing areas.

·   Wear appropriate protective gear when participating in summer sports.

·   Learn to perform basic first aid.

           Enjoy fun in the sun, but make safety a priority so that summer is incident and accident free.

Five Frugal Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

Author Amanda Boyarshinov says, “The best gifts in the world are not in the material objects one can buy from the store, but in the memories we make with the people we love.” 

With this in mind as Father’s Day approaches, gifts don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Simple but meaningful gift ideas that are easy on the budget and fun for kids often mean the most to fathers and grandfathers. Here are five frugal gift ideas for the father figure(s) in your life:

  1. “All About Dad/Grandpa” questionnaire – This can be fun for kids, dads, and grandpas alike. It is entertaining to hear children’s answers, and a great opportunity to understand their perceptions. There are many free, online printable questionnaires. Two to consider are Father’s Day Questionnaire and Dad I Mustache You a Question.

  1. Vintage pop bottles with a retro-inspired soda label – For a yummy treat for dads, buy retro-looking soda bottles and add your own label. Free printable labels are available at delightfullynotedblog.com. You could also check other websites, or you could make your own labels!

  1. Coupon booklet – Think about the things that make dad happy, and give him coupons to use throughout the year. The coupons can be for activities or services, i.e., go for a hike, have a movie night, cook his favorite dinner, bake his favorite treat, vacuum his car, etc. You could even make a card to go with the coupons, such as the shirt and tie card found on East Coast Mommy’s blog.

  1. Fun Father’s Day photo – Dress the kids up in dad’s clothes, such as his shoes, tie, ballcap or whatever reminds them of him, and take pictures to give to him. This is a fun way for kids and dads to connect.  

  1. Procrastination project – Does dad have something he keeps saying he wants to do, but never quite gets it done? Does he want to learn about a new piece of technology, complete a landscaping project, clean out the garage or complete other tasks that are permanently on the “I haven’t gotten around to it” list? Pick something on his list and help him tackle the job. He’ll be grateful to mark it off his list, and you’ll create wonderful memories as you work together to get the job done.

Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to show love and appreciation and create priceless memories. Choose something from this list, or think of your own ideas to recognize the men in your life this Father’s Day. 

By: Andrea Schmutz, Utah State University Extension assistant professor, andrea.schmutz@usu.edu

Help Grandchildren Cultivate a Close Relationship with Grandparents

A close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is mutually beneficial when it comes to the health and well-being of both. Grandparents provide acceptance, patience, love, stability, wisdom, fun, and support to their grandchildren. This, in turn, has positive effects on a child’s well-being. A study by Sara Moorman and Jeffrey Stokes, Department of Sociology, Boston College, found that children who grow up with greater emotional closeness to their grandparents are less likely to be depressed as adults. For grandparents, a close relationship with their grandchildren can boost brain function, protect against depression, and increase lifespan. 

In today’s world where many families do not live in close proximity, it’s important for parents to help cultivate a close relationship between children and grandparents by encouraging frequent contact. Consider these tips.

1. Visit often. Grandparents should be invited to visit their grandchildren’s home often. When grandparents live in a different town or state, planning a trip to visit them can fill a child with anticipation and excitement. Even if the visits are infrequent, they will help your child view the time with their grandparents as special.

2. Use technology. There are many options that can help children and grandparents stay in contact such as Zoom, Facetime, email, texting, and social media. Grandparents can record themselves reading a bedtime story to their grandchildren, and grandchildren can send personalized messages and pictures. 

3. Share photos.  Place photos of grandparents in your home and point them out to your children often. You can also create a family photo album. If your children are not able to see their grandparents frequently, they can still learn about who they are and feel of their importance in the family.

4. Write letters.  Who doesn’t love to receive a letter in the mail? Encourage communication via mail or email with grandparents and grandchildren participating. Both will anticipate the regular communication and feel the excitement of receiving responses.

5. Teach skills.  Whether it is fishing or sewing, many grandparents have a hobby or skill they would love to pass on to their grandchildren. Teaching can be done in person or with technology. Provide children with necessary tools and materials so they can learn from grandparents. 

6. Climb the family tree.  Ask grandparents to share family stories and ancestry. Perhaps they can help the  children draw a family tree. Children of all ages enjoy learning about family history, traits they share with ancestors, and the things that make them who they are.

More information and research references are available at https://tinyurl.com/h2z7exuw.

By: Christina Pay,Utah State University Extension assistant professor, Christina.pay@usu.edu,


How Sharing Family Stories Can Strengthen Relationships

How many family stories do you know? There may be stories of migration or comedies about great-grandma or uncle so-and-so that have been passed down. Family members may have survived natural disasters, served in the armed forces, or had a successful business. These shared stories can be influential in developing family and individual identity because stories are important for understanding the world. Sharing family stories is also a powerful way to strengthen and unite family members. Family stories that show examples of overcoming challenges can help younger generations find the strength to overcome their own struggles.

Research shows that when children know more about their family, they are more resilient, have higher self-esteem, better self-control, lower anxiety levels, fewer behavioral problems, and are more prepared to make good decisions when facing challenges. Family events such as holiday gatherings, mealtimes, and vacations are good times to share family stories. Sharing different people’s perspectives of a story is also enjoyable as families gather and reminisce. Keeping a record of the stories is essential, but it doesn’t have to be elaborate. It has been shown that writing them down or typing and printing them is more meaningful and preserves them better than digital recordings since formats and equipment change frequently. If preserved in a way that can be replayed, video and voice recordings can be fun for future generations.

Stories of both triumph and failure teach essential life lessons. Humorous anecdotes that include misunderstandings or coincidences, or just using humor to make life more enjoyable, also teach valuable skills. As you plan summer reunions and family time, be intentional about sharing family stories. Ideas include: playing ancestor bingo, visiting a place of significance to your family, celebrating birthdays for deceased family members, playing games family members enjoyed, and making a favorite family recipe book. Other ideas include showing photos of what family members looked like in their youth and determining who looks alike now, creating a family history time capsule, and doing family service projects.

Remember – the family activities and traditions you create now become family stories for future generations. For more information on making family stories powerful, visit: How Family Stories Can Strengthen and Unite. To see article references, click here

Tips to Reduce the Chance of Flood Damage to Your Home

With Utah’s high amounts of snowfall this year, flooding is a possibility in many areas. For anyone who has experienced the impacts of water or mud inundating their home, this may induce a sense of helplessness. 

Fortunately, there are many things that can be done now to prevent or lessen the possibility of flooding in and around your home. The Extension Disaster Education Network offers tips to help, including a publication from North Dakota State University titled, “Steps to Reduce Flood and Water Damage,” which includes the following tips:

Move snow away from your home’s foundation. Moving snow just 3 to 5 feet from the house can reduce problems if the ground is sloped 1 inch per foot near the house.

Prevent water from entering window wells. Build dams, and contour the ground so water will naturally drain away from the house. You can do this with sandbags or by adjusting the landscaping.

* Check your sump pump. Clean the sump pump and pit, and test the pump by pouring water into the pit. Consider having a spare submersible portable sump pump. Make sure the discharge hose delivers the water several feet away from the house to a well-drained area that slopes away from the house. If the hose outlet is too close to the house foundation or on flat ground, the water may simply recycle down through the house drain tile. Don’t run sump pump water into a rural septic system because the water may saturate the drain field.

Be sure downspouts are in place. As snow melts, downspouts can be helpful in carrying water away from the house. Use caution if they are buried or frozen and need to be repositioned, as salt or chemicals to melt the ice could damage the lawn in the spring.

Plan an escape route if roads or streets around you are known to flood. Where would you go if your home flooded? Consider local shelters or a family member or friend’s house. Plan and practice an evacuation route with your family.

Plan for pets. Pets aren’t allowed in shelters due to health regulations. If left behind, stressed pets can damage your house, and their safety is at stake, too. Have a plan in place so you know where your pets will go in an emergency.

* Know where and how to safely shut off electricity and how to plug basement floor drains.

Assemble supplies in case the electricity goes out. This includes water, food that requires no refrigeration or cooking, a non-electric can opener, a battery-powered radio and flashlight, as well as extra batteries.

Move valuables off the floor. These include irreplaceable family photo albums, high school yearbooks, videotapes, tax records, insurance policies, household inventories, and other valuable items.

Move hazardous materials to higher locations, including paint, oil, and cleaning supplies. These and other dangerous materials should not be left on the floor.

Have emergency supplies on hand in case of an evacuation order. Gather water, nonperishable food, paper plates/cups and plastic utensils, extra clothing and shoes, blankets or sleeping bags, a first aid kit, prescription medications, cash and credit cards, important phone numbers, and specific items for babies, pets, and the elderly.

Prepare appliances for flooding. Know where fuse boxes or breaker panels are so you can shut off appliances if it becomes necessary. Place freezers, washer, dryers, and other appliances on wood or cement blocks to keep motors above the water level. If high water is imminent and large appliances can’t be moved, wrap them in polyethylene film, tying the film in place with a cord or rope. The water may still get in, but most of the silt won’t, which will make cleanup easier.

* Teach adults and older children where water service mains and natural gas mains are and how to turn them off if necessary.

* Be open and honest with children. Hiding the situation from them may be even more stressful than talking openly. Let them know that you have a plan.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Since “knowledge is power,” using knowledge to lessen or prevent damage to home and property and preserve a sense of emotional well-being and safety is a helpful way to exercise personal power.

To see the complete article, visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/disasters/steps-to-reduce-flood-and-water-damage.

By: Kathy Riggs, Utah State University Extension professor, Kathleen.Riggs@usu.edu,


Five Ways to Share the Mental Load in Marriage

Have you ever felt mentally exhausted as you try to remember the never-ending to-do list in your head?

It goes something like this:

Remember to bring a treat to your child’s class party, call the insurance company about an unclear charge, return an Amazon package, and call in that prescription. Which reminds you, it’s time to get your dog’s heartworm medicine ordered, and don’t forget to buy a gift for your child for the birthday party on Friday, and wash the track uniform for the track meet, also on Friday…yikes!

There is a massive mental work load that people tend to carry in their heads. And by people, we mean mothers.

Studies suggest that the bulk of  “worry work” is mainly carried by moms – nearly 9 out of 10 of them say they feel solely responsible for organizing the family’s schedule.

Why is this so exhausting?

It turns out that the brain can only really focus on three to four things at a time. When it switches focus between tasks and upcoming tasks, it uses brain energy, and there’s only so much of it to go around. It doesn’t take long for this invisible work and mental load to take its toll and overflow!

The result? Frustrated, burned out, stressed out, overwhelmed, anxious moms. And this leads to connection killers in relationships: anger and resentment.

It’s not possible to keep up with the physical, mental, and emotional work at a crazy pace without it taking a toll on your relationships with your children and your partner. One sure sign it’s gone too far? Having a tough time controlling your temper, tongue, and tone of voice at home.

Here are five ways couples can share the mental load.

1. Bring awareness to the invisible work. Raise awareness about your mental load and the toll it’s taking. If it’s not on your partner’s radar, change will seldom happen, and burnout and resentment will continue.

Without criticizing or attacking, offer some concrete examples of what you are experiencing. For example, “I often feel exhausted and mentally tired. I’ve recently read about what it may be stemming from – it’s called ‘worry work,’ and I’d love to share what I’ve been experiencing.” Then share a few examples. Make it clear that this isn’t you just worrying too much or complaining. It’s an exhausting mental load that affects your mood and attitude throughout the day, and it spills over into family relationships.

2. Divide and decide. After you discuss the load, it’s time to share the load. This will look different for every family situation. For the partner who is not carrying the bulk of the worry work, instead of responding with, “Just tell me what to do,” try something like, “I’ve noticed you have a lot on your plate. I don’t always know what to do to help you, so can you give me some things to take on as my responsibility?”

3. Lighten the load with technology. We have a lot of great technology that can help us get the worry out of our brains and onto a task list. For example, Alexa or Siri can add items to your grocery list and set reminders. You can also set up auto-orders on things such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, pet food, and paper towels to lighten your brain load. Or try apps for planning and organizing that are shared across the family. Maple, Bublup, and Todoist are just a few that allow you to add tasks and to-dos that can be assigned and shared across devices.

4. Let go of control. While the mental load can feel overwhelming, for some women it may seem easier to just do it all rather than risk it not getting done right. For example, women can often fall into the habit of gatekeeping when it comes to household labor. This may include monitoring, criticizing, or correcting the way her partner or child does chores, which may easily discourage them from fully engaging. Try letting go of some control by discussing each of your strengths, challenges, and preferences. Allow everyone to try new things and be patient through changes.

5. Keep checking in. Have regular conversations. Remember these require patience, flexibility, awareness, and expressions of appreciation for both partners. Discuss upcoming activities that bring stress. A helpful question is, “Tell me what your day looks like tomorrow,” then see what you can do to help lighten the mental load.

But be aware – it is best for couples NOT to discuss any of this when either of you are feeling: hungry, angry, hangry, lonely, or tired. Late at night in bed is not the best time to bring up demands and to-dos.

“Worry work” is quickly becoming one of the top struggles for couples, but it is often not talked about. It is important for each partner to be mindful of the other and communicate regularly to avoid burnout and resentment. It is definitely worth the effort to help keep balance and peace at home.

Strengthening Attachment to Allow Teens Choice and Responsibility without Dangerous Behavior

Adolescence marks an exciting time full of growth and change in a child’s life, but even with their growing desire for independence, they still need support and guidance from their parents. We know that the adolescent brain continues developing well into the mid-20’s, with the parts of the brain that help with things like risk assessment, impulse control, and decision-making being the last to develop (Casey et al., 2008). On the other hand, the emotional, sensory, and reward-seeking parts develop first (Casey et al., 2008), making it natural for teens to have a strong urge to seek out new and exciting experiences without always thinking through the consequences (Konrad et al., 2013).

As a result of this brain development, some parenting strategies that work for younger children no longer work for teens (Yeager et al., 2018). Even though parents may not want to let go, attempting to manipulate or control their teens will push them away and undermine their need for closeness and autonomy (Scharf & Goldner, 2018). Luckily, teens who have secure emotional attachments with their parents are less likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors and have better social skills and coping strategies (Moretti & Peled, 2004). No matter your teen’s age, it’s not too late to implement some strategies for improving your parenting skills and relationships. Start to strengthen attachment with your teens today with the following tips:

  1. Set firm limits and rules: Being emotionally close with your teen does not mean you can’t have rules and boundaries. In fact, children will feel safer in a relationship when they know there are high expectations, as well as love and trust (Gottman & DeClaire, 1997). Don’t be afraid to let them know what types of behaviors you do not approve of, but help them feel that they can feel safe asking for help if they mess up.
  2. Show your teen the same respect you expect: When teens sense a threat to their growing autonomy through adults’ attempts to control them, they tend to shut down and refuse to cooperate (Divecha, 2017). Make sure to talk openly with your teens, listen to their perspective, and respect their opinions and budding personality.
  3. Support them in safe exploration: You can support your teens in activities that give them the thrilling experiences they seek with activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, amusement park rides, or other pro-social activities that utilize their talents while pushing them a little outside their comfort zone. Safe exploration can benefit youth by increasing their confidence and helping them develop independence (Kelley et al., 2006).
  4. Don’t take their choices personally: When your teen opts to make choices that you wouldn’t make yourself, it can cause a lot of emotions, ranging from hurt to frustration to outright anger. However, being able to regulate your own emotions will not only preserve your relationship with your teen, but also set a good example for them on the importance of coping with emotions (Hajal & Paley, 2020).

As you look for resources to be the best parent you can be, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. If you are concerned about your teen’s safety, looking for help from school administrators, teachers, counselors, family members, or other community resources can be helpful. Healthy relationships with strong attachments to positive role models is key. These healthy attachments provide teens with positive examples, safety, encouragement, access to resources, and new experiences that focus on safely gaining independence and responsibility (Davis & McQuillin, 2021). Start strengthening attachments with teens today with these tips and the following resources.

Additional Resources:


Casey, B. J., Getz, S., & Galvan, A. (2008). The adolescent brain. Developmental review28(1), 62-77.

Davis AL, McQuillin SD. (2021). Supporting autonomy in youth mentoring relationships. J Community Psychol. 2022 Jan;50(1):329-347. doi: 10.1002/jcop.22567. Epub 2021 Mar 30. PMID: 33786867.

Divecha, D. (2017). Teenagers might have a problem with respect but it’s not the one our think. Developmental Science. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://www.developmentalscience.com/blog/2017/11/29/teenagers-might-have-a-problem-with-respect-but-its-not-the-one-you-think

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-268. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327965PLI1104_01

Gottman, J. M., & DeClaire, J. (1997). The heart of parenting: How to raise an emotionally intelligent child. Bloomsbury.

Hajal, N. J., & Paley, B. (2020). Parental emotion and emotion regulation: A critical target of study for research and intervention to promote child emotion socialization. Developmental Psychology56(3), 403.

Kelley, A. E., Schochet, T., & Landry, C. F. (2004). Risk taking and novelty seeking in adolescence: Introduction to part I. In R. E. Dahl & L. P. Spear (Eds.), Adolescent brain development: Vulnerabilities and opportunities. (Vol. 1021, pp. 27–32). New York Academy of Sciences.

Konrad K, Firk C, Uhlhaas PJ. Brain development during adolescence: neuroscientific insights into this developmental period. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2013 Jun;110(25):425-31. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2013.0425. Epub 2013 Jun 21. PMID: 23840287; PMCID: PMC3705203.

Moretti MM, Peled M. Adolescent-parent attachment: Bonds that support healthy development. Paediatr Child Health. 2004 Oct;9(8):551-555. doi: 10.1093/pch/9.8.551. PMID: 19680483; PMCID: PMC2724162.

Scharf, M., & Goldner, L. (2018). “If our really love me, our will do/be…”: Parental psychological control and its Implications for children’s adjustment. Developmental Review49, 16-30.

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By Josie Hatch, BS, Health & Wellness Coordinator & Ashley Yaugher, PhD, Health & Wellness Faculty