One day, your son or daughter stopped being that vivacious kid who couldn’t wait to tell you all about his or her school day and started being a broody adolescent or troubled teenager who wouldn’t even confirm that he or she had indeed gone to school. This is the experience that many parents have during those difficult teen years. Thankfully, you have ways to keep your children safe, even when they won’t communicate their whereabouts or plans to you.
1. There’s an App For That
If you and your teen have smart-phones, then you potentially have a potent weapon in your arsenal. Not only can you call and ask your child where he/she is right now, you can install apps that will, through the magic of GPS, answer the question for you. In fact, you can avoid the confrontation altogether and just occasionally check their whereabouts instead. This will give you the peace of mind you need on your child’s late nights.
2. Home Security
Home security systems offer a wide variety of features, including ones that allow a responsible adult off-site, such as a parent at work, to check the status of their house. With the help of a consultant or a home security firm like Vivint home security, operating in Council Bluffs, IA and other locations around the country, you could find the system you need to help you monitor not just your home, but your troubled teen as well. You’ll be able to access your home cameras at any time to make sure your teen is safely at home.
That’s right, make contact with the parents of your child’s friends and classmates. They may know more than you do about where your teen spends his/her time, especially if it’s at their house. Consider weekly parents’ meetings, if you have serious concerns, or something more informal as the situation warrants. This is a great opportunity for making friends for yourself as well.
4. Facebook and Twitter
While it may cramp his or her style, following your child on social media can be an unobtrusive way to keep an eye on their online activity and potentially protect them from online bullying and other threats. For best results, try not to comment on updates, as this may cast your child’s doings in a negative light among peers. If you are worried about their online activity, confront them face-to-face, not in the public sphere of Facebook. This will help build a stronger relationship of trust with your son or daughter.
If all else fails, unless your teen has a history of lying, you may be best served by simply offering him/her an incentive to tell you what they are doing. Reward them for being forthcoming. Make it a positive thing for them to communicate with you. Tie these rewards to something you can measure, like offering him that new video game he wants if he is home by 10:00 each night for a month. This will allow you both to have a fair way to measure progress and will also justify you in withholding a promised benefit if the goal is not reached. Find an incentive that works for your teen. It may be a little like a bribe, but it also works!
The troublesome teen years don’t last forever. Most kids experience some issues with rebellion for a few months or maybe years before maturing into a more cooperative phase. These suggestions, plus some parental patience, should be enough for you to see the difficult times through. If you’re lucky, the day will come when you can tell your adult child all about your efforts and watch them enjoy the same challenges with your grandchildren!