Parenting is a difficult task, it is like setting an anchor in a hurricane to save the ship from the disaster. It requires a lot of struggle and a good strategy. Such as parental monitoring.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent, so just be a real one. Set boundaries when you need to, do what is right for your kids even if they don’t like it. Every parent at some point has been hated by their child.
Every parenting stage comes with it’s ups and downs and new challenges to face. From the baby days through to the teenage years. Research shows that parents play a significant role in the development of their teenagers. This is the most crucial age and can be challenging for the parents. One of the fears at this stage of parenting is teenage substance abuse.
Parental monitoring can play a significant role in controlling the risky behaviours of adolescents. It can shield against adolescent substance abuse in a productive way.
So what is parental monitoring?
It is not a new thing, it’s like the old school thing to ask questions from your child where he/she will be, whom he/she will be with, and when will he/she be at home. Keeping the knowledge of child’s whereabouts, friends and activities is what we call parental monitoring. It includes the measures taken by parents to keep track of their kids, and the ways they respond when their kids break the rules.
Parental monitoring of teens behaviour has been recognised as an important predictors of risky behaviours in young children. Low levels of parental monitoring can result in poor academic outcomes, use of alcohol which leads to unhealthy adults drinking in future, and increased involvement in antisocial activities.
Remember when your toddler wanted to show you their latest drawing and for you to be proud of their achievements. Teen’s are no different really. They still want our praise and involvement. Just maybe not in front of their mates.
So when you should start monitoring your child?
You can start parental monitoring in early childhood and continue throughout the adolescence. You can evolve monitoring strategies as your children grow and mature. When children develop into teenagers, parents think that the kids are more independent and don’t require as much parental monitoring. But, consistent monitoring is required throughout the teen years. These are the years that they are likely to come into contact with substances and perhaps experiment. Parental monitoring requires open communication so your teen can come to you if they have a problem, and you can have frank and honest conversations. Even the more awkward ones. The more open you are with each other the less chance of teens abusing substances.
Does parental monitoring make a difference?
Yes of course! Research indicates that kids are less likely to make poor decisions, such as, smoking, drinking, being physically aggressive, or skipping school, whose parents use effective parental monitoring practices.
It is vital to set clear expectations with your kids. Parental monitoring not only decreases the chances of substance use, it can also affect a child’s friendship choices. Teens who realise that their parents provide substantial support to them, will less likely to make friends who use drugs and alcohol.
Kids are like a mirror, what they see and hear, they do. So be a good reflection for them. They are great imitators, give them something great to imitate.
Behind every confident child is a parent who believed in them.
This is a contributed post.