do you know where your teen is at 3 am?
Original post made by concerned on Jul 20, 2006
on Jul 22, 2006 at 1:39 am
How did you grow up? Teenagers are going to experience life ... whether we like it or not. The best we can do is offer boundaries, morals and ethics without attack. i.e. - Don't tell your teens to stop drinking with a smack across the cheek.
Talk to them, communicate, relate. Try to reach an understanding that allows them to live life on their terms while offering you far fewer restless nights.
on Jul 22, 2006 at 11:45 am
I have always tried to impress upon my kids that it is their safety that I am concerned about - not a desire to control, nor a belief that I know better than them. I have not tried to hide the fact that I have made mistakes, but rather let them learn from mine and others.
Before the first of their friends even got their driver's license, I begin sharing stories. In stressing safety, I have been sincere in my statement that I would much rather help them than punish them. If they tell me where they will be, answer their cell phone if I call, and phone me for help, then there is no punishment for errors - only lessons learned.
When my 15 year old snuck out at night, she challenged my MO and came to me at 11:00pm to let me know they were sneaking out at 1:00. Yes this put me in an awkward situation, as I knew that was wrong - but by telling me, they knew they could phone if they needed help. 2-1/2 hours after "sneaking out", they returned home. I was told it was boring and it has never happened again. When teens "get away" with something, it heightens the thrill and will more likely become a pattern.
My kids don't drink and drive, nor do they get in the cars of other drinkers - why am I so sure - I have been called in the middle of the night to pick them up. My kids know that if I am called for a ride, there will be no "how could you do this?", only a safe ride home and possible a "how do you feel" the next day. Kids interpret "how could you do this?" to mean "how could you do this to me?" - they need to learn not to do it to themselves.
By putting the focus on the teen's life and helping them to know that they are important (not the "image" of the parents), they will learn limits and possibly even abstinence. (I have one that doesn't even want to drink).
I agree with Danny - build a relationship, you will be paid back many times over and they will live healthier and possibly even longer lives for it.
on Jul 22, 2006 at 3:08 pm
In my opinion, teens learn new tricks through their friends, by example or peer pressure.
Teens also distance themselves from their family if they think the family doesn't care or is too busy to attend to their needs. This makes it easier for them to succumb to peer pressure to do things they otherwise might resist.
If a teen is already drinking, smoking, or hanging out late at night, it might be a sign that he/she is being neglected by the family and/or the family is not addressing/fulfilling his/her needs. In such situations, the family probably doesn't know much about the teen's friends or what they are up to.
Communication, or the lack there of, is the key element here. My advise to parents out there is to communicate with your teen(s), know their friends and, if possible, their friends' family. Always know, through commincation, what your teen(s) are doing, where, and with whom.