Teaching Guide:
Getting Along with Parents

for grades 5-9

This material is from the teaching guide
for the video
"Getting Along with Parents"
in the 12-part DVD series Big Changes, Big Choices.


Without mutual respect, any relationship will be an unhappy one. People who respect each other: a) value each other's opinions, b) listen to each other, c) disagree without screaming or insults. And remember, your parents have lived longer than you - don't discount their experience and knowledge.

2. COMMUNICATE: Your parents want to know what's going on in your life. If you keep them in the dark they won't know when you need their help or whether they can trust you. Tell them what you're up to, share your thoughts and feelings with them, and seek their advice for your problems (you don't have to take it). Communication builds closeness.

3. BUILD TRUST: Trust is your key to freedom. The way to build trust is through honesty and responsibility. Honesty means you don't lie or manipulate. Responsibility means you are reliable and can be counted on to use good judgment. When your parents trust you, it's a lot easier for them to say "yes."

These guidelines work both ways. If, on occasions, your parents violate any of these guidelines, talk to them about it. Pick a time when you are both calm and feeling good toward each other (never when you're angry). Then, explain to them what they did, how it makes you feel, and what you'd like them to do instead.

Unfortunately, these guidelines don't always work. Since we can only control what we do, and not what our parents do, sometimes we are truly helpless to transform a bad relationship. If this is the case, try to use these guidelines to at least improve things a little, and talk with a trusted adult who may be able to help you.


"Getting Along with Parents"
The Video

This video helps young adolescents:

 Develop a better understanding of how and why their relationships with their parents change as they enter adolescence.

 See the importance of keeping the lines of communication open with their parents.

 Learn that their key to increased freedom and autonomy is through building trust and acting responsibly.

see story synopsis . . .



"Big Changes, Big Choices"
the 12-part series
In Big Changes, Big Choices comedian/teen counselor Michael Pritchard helps young adolescents discover that they have the power and the responsibility to make the right choices for themselves.  more. . .

For more information about individual videos in this 12-part series, click on the title below.
•  The Three Rs of Growing Up
•  You and Your Values
•  Enhancing Self-Esteem
•  Setting & Achieving Goals
•  Dealing With Pressures
•  Handling Emotions
•  Preventing Conflicts & Violence
•  Saying No to Alcohol & Other Drugs
•  Speaking of Sex
•  Friendship
•  Getting Along With Parents
•  Respecting Others

If your school or organization does not have these videos, you can purchase them from Live Wire Media, or request them from your local library.




Subscribe to our almost
Monthly Newsletter

Get breaking news and developments in character education and helpful tips and ideas that you can use with your own character education program.
View this month's newsletter.

Subscribe to our newsletter.



Send this page to a friend
Do you have friends or colleagues who would like to know about this page or about this website? Click on the blue arrow to share it with them.


To find additional teaching guides on related topics for K-12, click here.


If you are using the video, ask the first two questions before viewing.

1. What things do your parents do that really bug you?

2. What do you do that really bugs your parents?

3. Do you think your parents understand the changes you are going through at this age? If not, what could you do to help them understand?

4. What are some things you would like to talk to your parents about but feel you can't? Why don't you think you can talk to them about these things? How have you tried? What happened?

5. Do you find it difficult to express your emotions to your parents? If so, why?

6. how many of you think you have good communications with your parents? What makes it good? How many of you are unhappy with your communications with your parents? What gets in the way?

7. What are the benefits of communicating with your parents?

8. Does the amount of freedom your parents give you change from time to time? What are the factors that influence those changes?

9. Do you think your parents should give you total freedom, with no limits at all? If not, what should those limits be?

10. One girl in the video said that building your parents' trust is the key to freedom. What did she mean by that? Do you agree? Why? What can you do to build that trust?

11. Do you respect your parents? How do you show it? In what ways would you like your parents to show you respect? Have you earned that respect? How?

12. In an ideal relationship with your parents, what would be their responsibility to you and yours to them?

13. What differences exist between your parents' values and your own? Do these differences have anything to do with some of the conflicts that occur between you? Do you try to consider their values when you talk to them about difficult issues?

14. Are there things you feel you need from your parents that you're not getting? Do you tell them that? If not, what would happen if you did? Do you ask your parents what they need from you?

15. It's often said that people do what they're rewarded for doing. Do you ever tell your parents when you think they're doing a good job of being parents? If so, how do they respond? If not, how are they supposed to know?

16. What was most meaningful to you in this video? Why?

(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)

  Other teaching guides in this series:  

  •  The Three Rs of Growing Up
•  You and Your Values
•  Enhancing Self-Esteem
•  Setting & Achieving Goals
•  Dealing With Pressures
•  Handling Emotions
•  Preventing Conflicts & Violence
•  Saying No to Alcohol & Other Drugs
•  Speaking of Sex
•  Friendship
•  Getting Along With Parents
•  Respecting Others


1. What are some things that kids your age say that are guaranteed to close down a conversation with parents? Let's make a list.

2. What are some things that parents say that shut things down? Let's make a list.

3. ROLE PLAY (For girls) You are going out with your friends to a big school dance. You've bought some new clothes and jewelry for the event. You spend a lot of time getting dressed and putting on your make up and you think you look great. But when you come downstairs, your folks go through the roof and say that girls your age shouldn't dress that way - dress is too short, too much makeup, etc..

4. ROLE PLAY (For boys) You have a friend who always gets in trouble. Your parents want you to stop hanging out with him. You still like him and don't think your parents understand. He asks you to spend Saturday with him at the mall. Now you have to get your parents permission.

Follow-up questions for both role plays. Put yourself in your parents' shoes and ask these questions:
- What would be my worst fear?
- How could you talk to me about these fears?
- How could you show me that you are ready for this responsibility?
- What would be a fair solution to this problem?

5. BRAINSTORM: Let's think up some rules that would help make relations between parents and teens better. (See "How to Have a Great Relationship With Your Parents" at the top of this column.)

(If you wish to copy or use any material from this website, please click here for Terms of Use.)


1. Imagine that some day you will have a child. Write a letter for that child to open when he or she reaches the age you are right now. Tell the child how it feels to be a parent and what things concern you the most. Tell the child what you need from him or her in order to have the best possible relationship, and what the child can expect from you in return.

2. Has there ever been a time when your parents trusted you and you let them down? What happened? Was it harder to get them to trust you afterwards? Were you able to rebuild the lost trust? How? What have you learned from this experience?

3. Watch a television program that has both parents and children as characters. Analyze their relationships. How do they treat each other? Are they respectful? How well do they communicate? Do they trust each other? What is good about their relationship? What is bad about it? What suggestions do you have for improving it?

4. If you had the power to change any aspect of your relationship with your parents, what would it be? Is there anything you could do to make that happen? What?

5. What do you admire about the way your parents perform their role as parents? What do you disapprove of in the way they perform this role? How could you help your parents be better parents?


© Copyright Elkind+Sweet Communications, Inc. All rights are reserved. The material in this website is intended for non-commercial educational use. If you wish to copy or use any of this material, please click here for "Terms of Use." Except as provided in "Terms of Use," this material is for private use only and may not be republished or copied without written permission of the publisher.

Home  •  High School Teaching Guides  •  Middle School Teaching Guides  •  Elementary School Teaching Guides  •  Service Learning

Character in Sports  •  Opportunities for Action  •  Great Web Resources  •  School to Work  •  How-To Articles   •  Character Ed Organizations

Live Wire Media  •  P.O. Box 848  •  Mill Valley, CA  94942  •  USA  •  415-564-9500