If you are like most parents, it’s likely that you are unsure of how much freedom you should grant to your teenager. While there is no magic answer to this, the secret is to find the right balance between letting them learn about themselves and their world and ensuring that they aren’t heading down the wrong path or feeling as though you don’t care.
This then begs the question, how do you successfully balance between your teenager’s well-being and safety and their need for independence? And how much is too much when it comes to tightening reigns and giving freedom?
If these are your concerns, then here’s how you strike the balance:
Don’t forget that protection trumps privacy
You understand your child better – you even understood them when they weren’t able to make words. You were able to tell if they were sick, uncomfortable, hungry and happy before they could talk. So, if you think they are up to something, or they are troubled, you probably are right, take action. Although it is crucial to let them have their privacy, it’s also just as important to find out if they are involved in something harmful.
Thanks to technological advancements, it is easier to protect your teenage child these days, even remotely. You can do so by monitoring their sent/received texts, calls, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Snapchat, Keylogger, and WhatsApp through the mSpy application. The app also lets you view their photos control apps and programs, view multimedia files, internet activity, contacts, and calendar, and track their current locations. You can read the mSpy blog for more information about protecting your child.
The simple fact that they want freedom and seem not to hear a word you say doesn’t mean that they don’t want you to be part of their lives. So, be caring but not controlling. Take time to know their friends, and support them by attending their school events and sports games; ask them about their day and their plans. Families that dine together often have children who are less likely to participate in bad social habits like drugging, drinking, smoking, and joining gangs.
Test the waters
It’s good to start small with the freedom and let them earn your trust before you increase their curfew. You can ask them to be back home by a certain time and watch if they will be back by that time. Ask them to contact you, instead of you trying to reach them. When they pass these little tests, then you’ll have more confidence in them, and they’ll also have confidence that you trust them.
Let them know of their privileges
You should have the attitude that says, “this is mine, you’re only using it”, especially when it comes to things like cars, iPods, computers, phone and more. This attitude drives the message that as the owner, you’ve got the responsibility and right to know how your gadgets are being used. Keep in mind that having such devices is not a right, but a privilege, and when the freedom is abused or trust is broken, then the privileges can be revoked – easily.
It isn’t easy to know when to let your teenagers go; however, with patience and practice, you’ll figure out the amount of freedom that’s right for your teen. Above all, you should strive to have an open and honest relationship with them – this way, you can rest easy because then, you’ll know what they are up to.