Teenage years —verge of transition into adulthood along with the carefree and emotional childhood years. It is a rocky and wonderful time for both parents and teens. Parenting teens is like riding a roller coaster of emotions and responsibilities. Just when you think parenting will get easier, your cute happy babies have transformed into awkward, self-conscious, and tantrum filled teenagers. And you keep on wondering, ‘what happened to my friendly, cheerful kids?’
You went through teenage years too, but you are probably going through more than your parents did. Parenting teens these days is tough; you have to deal with their frequent mood changes, you have to be very vigilant that they don’t indulge in alcohol or drugs, they are safe from cyber crimes, identity theft and online pornography etc. When your teens are growing up a question of their privacy arises. How much privacy does your teens need? How can you respect their privacy and keep an eye on them?
If you give them too much privacy they might take advantage of it and indulge in inappropriate activities for their age. But if you are too nosey or over protective then there’s a high chance of rebellion from their side. You have to maintain the fragile balance between respecting their space and keeping an eye on them. So, what can you do to respect your teen’s privacy and monitor their activities?
Give them their personal space
As parents, try not to be offended at our teens’ increasing detachment or their frostiness in family gatherings. Whenever you get upset over this, just remind yourself that it is just a phase. Teens consider themselves as ‘adults’ and want to be treated like one. The best way is to make them feel that if they feel they are grownups, they have to act like adults too; tell them you trust them to act responsibly with the privacy you’re giving them.
Don’t jump into lecturing them
If your teenager does or says anything objectionable to you (e.g. If they crack a bad joke, use a swear word, or are rude to someone older than them), don’t jump straight into lecturing them about it. Express your disapproval by remaining quiet or not laughing at their joke or ask them to go to their room to avoid a quarrel, anything you feel will work. Talk to them about it later and tell them it is not expected of them, also try and keep it short (they hate lectures).
Monitor them with mutual consent
Even though you trust your child completely your parental instinct never lets you rest. Instead of spying on them; checking their phones in their absence, take them into confidence. Tell them that you trust them to act responsibly, but you need to ensure that they are safe at all times. Use a parental monitoring software to keep track of their location and online activities. This way you can stay updated with what is going on in their life and keep the air positive between you and your child.
Don’t be labeled as the ‘the bad guy’!
Trust is the most important element of any relationship, and if you want to strengthen the building blocks of your bond with your child, don’t spy on them. Respect their personal space, don’t be a helicopter parent. Meke your children realize that you are not the enemy and understand, they are not kids anymore needed to be spoon fed. However, this doesn’t mean that they can be left completely unsupervised. Though it is tricky, but with time you will learn when to respect their privacy and when to take the driver’s seat. Parenting is a never ending process, you always get to learn something new. After all, parenting teens is all about unconditional love and never ending patience!