Raising children on your own is challenging enough without the added stress of teenage rebellion. Still, it is your duty as parent to establish guidelines for behavior that could keep your child from getting in trouble with the law. Here are some tips for the single parent dealing with a teenager’s bad behavior.

1.    Realize you can’t necessarily control the behavior. Start by trying to understand your teen. They are beginning to go through changes associated with puberty. Secondly, they are at the age when exploring their self-identity is common, so give them some breathing room. It’s possible that a recent divorce could be a contributing factor.

2.    Open up the lines of communication. Your teenager may be experiencing peer pressure and testing boundaries. Start an ongoing dialogue about what constitutes good, respectful behavior. Then, let them make their choices.

3.    Establish guidelines with clear consequences. Parents demonstrate concern for their child’s safety by establishing clear boundaries and communicating the consequences for crossing those boundaries. If you include your teen in a heart-to-heart discussion and give them a chance to provide input, you are more likely to see cooperation when it comes to respecting boundaries.

4.    Praise positive behavior. Instead of harping on the negative behaviors, try praising the positive behaviors. Instill a spirit of pride in your teen, and she’ll try harder to please you.

5.    Model respect. Many parents seek to gain respect by demanding it. Instead, teach your teen to respect others by being respectful toward them. Model the behavior you expect.

Your teenager is trying to come into his or her own. That requires some patience on your part and a careful selection of battles. Help your teenager think through the consequences of unwanted behaviors. If possible, talk to your ex-spouse about your situation, and work together to get your teen on the right track.

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Photo of Jason C. Brown Jason C. Brown

“I used to handle commercial litigation downtown, but it wasn’t very fulfilling. As Minnesota family law attorneys we have the privilege of helping people during one of the most challenging times they will face. This stuff really matters to our clients – and…

“I used to handle commercial litigation downtown, but it wasn’t very fulfilling. As Minnesota family law attorneys we have the privilege of helping people during one of the most challenging times they will face. This stuff really matters to our clients – and to us. We take pride in helping people move forward with their lives.”

Jason founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. He has received national media attention for his work in the area of divorce and family law.

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A., after clerking for the (now retired) Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. He is an experienced trial lawyer, who handled a wide variety of cases (including civil commitment, criminal defense, probate, personal injury and commercial litigation) early in his career.

Today, Jason’s practice is dedicated exclusively to divorce and family law matters. He has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason obtained his B.S., magna cum laude, from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and his J.D., cum laude, from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. While in law school Jason was a published staff writer and associate editor for the William Mitchell Law Review.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota.

Outside of the office, Jason plays the bass guitar and serves on the Board of Directors at Northgate Church. He and his wife, Cynthia, also an attorney, have two boys.