To strike a good balance between giving your teenager independence and keeping them safe, firstly, make sure you have a good, friendly, open relationship with your teenager.
The sort of relationship where your teenager doesn’t want to let you down.
If you try to over-control your teenager too much, they’re way more likely to rebel.
So have regular technology-free family meals, one-to-one quality time and family time, and you’ll still be able to influence your teenager and help them explore problems and make good choices.
Secondly, ask questions about everything. Don’t tell them what to do, ask them. Every time there’s a news item about teenagers, or your child says something about what teenagers are doing, talk about it. And bring up topics.
Ask them. What would you do if…
- If everyone was drinking alcohol at a party?
- If a group of teenage boys started following you?
- If you had friends round, and they asked where you kept the alcohol?
- If someone offered you free cannabis or a legal high?
- If a boyfriend or girlfriend tried to touch your privates? Or wanted to have sex with you?
- If someone you fancied sent you a nude picture of themselves and asked for one of you?
- If you were attacked?
- If you saw another teenager being bullied?
- If you were out and your mobile got lost or stolen?
- If a party got out of hand?
And how can you make sure you stay safe:
- When walking home in the dark?
- When exploring a new town on holiday?
- When at your first festival?
- When driving?
What do you need to keep in an emergency kit in your bag?
Ask lots of questions, let them answer, and then discuss it and explore the topic until you’re sure they’ve got some good plans and strategies.
Finally, allow more freedom when they can prove they’re responsible.
- If your child is always home when they’re supposed to be.
- If they do jobs at home without being asked.
- If they manage their own homework and their grades are good,
- if they can control their temper when they talk with you,
- And make good choices about the friends they hang around with,
- And are sensible at parties, then you can gradually relax the rules you have.
- And if they aren’t doing these things, tell them what they need to do to earn more freedom.
So to strike a good balance between giving your teenager independence and keeping them safe:
- Work on having a good relationship with them.
- Ask lots of questions about what they’ll do.
- And allow more freedom when they can prove they’re responsible.
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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth