By the time children have reached adolescence, their responses are often ingrained, but parental actions can still positively affect adolescent behavior. Since adolescents are struggling to develop their personal identity and are concerned about their body image, parental support is crucial to help positively frame experiences as learning opportunities. Positive reinforcement remains a powerful teaching tool during these formative years, and we encourage parents to take time to contemplate the ways they can help adolescents mature and become self-reliant.
A study of adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes showed that adolescents whose mothers used positive reinforcement were more likely to have better psychosocial adjustment (with fewer depressive symptoms) and even better control of their blood glucose levels. (Jaser SS and Grey M. A Pilot Study of Observed Parenting and Adjustment in Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes and their Mothers. J of Pediatric Psychology. 2010; 35(7): 738-747.)
If these adolescents who have a chronic medical concern can be positively impacted by parenting encouragement, imagine how important positive reinforcement might be for all adolescents.