10 Things Parents Who Parent Do

Must Dos for Parents of Tweens and Teens

1. Have the passwords to your kids social media platforms and emails. Use them to do periodic checks. Sexting, bullying and all sorts of other frightening things take place behind the curtain. Make sure your child isn’t involved.

2. Make an effort to know the parents of your child’s friends. ESPECIALLY if you are going to allow sleepovers. You need to trust that your child is safe and held to the same rules at someone else’s home as they are yours. Do they have a curfew? Do they allow the opposite sex over? Will they be home? Do they take the kids keys at night so they can’t sneak out? Do they set a house alarm? All things you would like to know. Yes? 

3. Take away all access to the intnernet and friends at bedtime. Computers, ipads, cell phones, etc. Your child needs sleep. You need to facilitate that. Left to their own devices (pun intended) they will be online until the wee hours of the night. And? Nothing good happens in the wee hours of the night. Nothing.

4. Check their texts periodically. For the same reason as you would check their online presence you need to check their texts. A good time to do that is when you remove the phone at bedtime. Start with the photos.

5. Sit down to a family dinner at least a couple nights every week. Don’t just eat. Talk.  If you are stumped for things to talk about, check out Table Talk. Make it fun, not an interrogation. The more you talk with your kids about the silly stuff the more likely they will be to talk with you about the serious stuff.

6. Listen to your kids. In general of course, but most importantly, in the car with friends. Offer to drive them and their friends often. Keep the radio low and listen. You will gain a wealth of information.

7. Listen to their music. There are some interesting messages being given to your children via today’s music. You won’t stop them from listening to the music they want to listen to. But if you know the lyrics to the songs you can use those to create Songnversations.

8. Lead by example. Don’t text and drive. Don’t drink and drive. Shut your social media down and smell the roses. And on and on and on.

9. Teach them the value of giving. Involve them in a charity. Do charity work with them. Nothing feels as good as giving. Make sure you teach them that.

10. Call. If your child is in someone else’s hands. CALL. If they ask to go to a party? Call the parents. If they ask to sleepover at a friend’s house. Call. My son is a junior in high school and I still call. It could very well save their life.

 

Comments

  1. Natalie H says

    I love all of the tips, but #9 is really important and we’ve already started focusing on it with our kids. As the kids get older, I really need to make sure we are diligent about the others…

  2. Tommy L says

    Honestly, I’m thirteen years old, and although I find these tips as a
    good baseline for younger kids, I believe that parents face larger issues dealing with teens. For example, rather than invading your child’s privacy and personal space by asking for their passwords, become friends on Facebook or followers on twitter. This will create a mutual bond of trust between you and your kids. On the same topic of social media, never ever comment criticism on the child’s social media. If your son or daughter swears or cyberbullies someone, take the time to have a heart to heart conversation with them, don’t publicly embarrass them. Also, when calling parents of friends, don’t do it in front of the child, it’s embarrassing and degrading for the child to see that. They often feel like they are being treated as much younger children. Meanwhile, parents shouldn’t be buying kids music, (kids need your credit card or gift card) when in the car, turn on the radio, censorship will display much better messages. Infect, in my town, radio stations are no longer allowed to play any slang that relates to drugs, smoke, or the word love. Please just take this tips FROM a teen into perspective.

    • Lauren says

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m 20 years old, so I was where you’re at with this not too long ago. Some of these suggestions are a gross invasion of privacy & will lead to the child NOT talking to the parents about things, such as what people are saying to them on Facebook, what types of text messages (and picture/video messages) they may or may not be receiving (or sending), rather than feeling comfortable having these conversations with their parents. And I speak from experience on that. My mother would sneak into my room while I was in the shower or outside, or anywhere other than with my phone for that matter, & go through my call log and my text messages. She never found anything outlandish, maybe some cursing every now and then, but nonetheless, it made me feel like I couldn’t trust HER, and also that she didn’t trust me. This put a very big strain on our relationship for a VERY long time. Long story short, if you want your child to feel like they can trust you and talk to you, you have to trust them. Trust is like respect, you have to give it to get it. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t check up on your kids, but be reasonable. Don’t be so overbearing that you push your child away. A snooping parent creates a sneaky child.

  3. Jennifer Chiodini says

    Seriously, you are thirteen? I appreciate your honest yet tactful, and very mature input. Well said.

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