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Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Why Is Monitoring Social Media Important as a Parent?

October 22nd, 2015 - Category: Communication, Kids and Responsibility, Social Media, Teenagers

social monitor

A recent article on eluded to the fact that spying on your child’s online “social” activity breaks down trust and encourages them to hide information from you. As a mom that closely monitors her teen’s activity, I couldn’t agree more. Spying, snooping or otherwise secretly investigating will break down trust. This is why it as never been a secret in our household that social media will be monitored and has always been a prerequisite to having access to social media.

Staying Informed

When I was young and met a new friend, my mom was able to talk to the other soccer moms, PTA parents, or neighborhood friends to ensure my new friend was someone in the right crowd and not the local troublemaker. They met their parents and the kid together the first time they dropped me off to hang out, and said hello when they came back to pick me up. Translation: they met and knew my friends.

But that wasn’t enough. They listened to our conversations as we laughed in the den or family room and picked up on just enough info that they were able to keep the pulse on our lives, relationships and drama. In today’s world, much of the socialization and “hanging out” occurs online. Hanging out at someone’s house has been replaced with group texting and Snapchat – each person in their own homes. The conversations have moved from the living room to the mobile world, and as parents we can’t allow that change to disconnect us from their lives. I believe that monitoring her social media is simply a way to get to know her friends, not unlike what my mother did for me many years ago.

Engaging with Purpose

Let me be clear that none of this is done in secret. When I see something that gives me pause, I ask her about it. More often than not, these conversations move beyond the picture or comment and become a discussion about why the choices this person made in their post weren’t in their best interest, and what the potential negative outcomes might be. I use these incidents as pathways to engage with her. Ironically, now she will often say to me (before I even get a chance to ask) something along the lines of, “Hey mom did you see what he/she posted? – Wow.. that wasn’t a good idea.”

Understanding the Risks

The second reason I monitor her social media is because the stakes are high, much higher than when I was a teen. No longer are your social messes easy to clean up. In a matter of seconds, one bad decision can go viral, be seen and sent to thousands, and utterly devastate a young person’s life. I don’t feel I really have to defend the relevancy of this statement as we see its evidence in our news more often than we would hope. The kid bullied on social media, the college student with a bright future devastated by a drunk post, or the innocent picture of a young woman at the beach lifted from a public site and used for very different purposes. And once it’s out there, no PR professional or social media expert can ever wipe it away.

To me, this issue is no different than so many others impacting parents today. Success or failure often lies in when and how expectations for our children are set. The later you start and the more ambiguous you are, along with the transparency you show, will very likely impact your success. At the end of the day, however, remember that your job is not only to prepare them for the real world but to keep them safe in the interim. It’s one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs you will ever accept.

What Are Your Children Doing After School?

August 20th, 2014 - Category: Communication



According to studies, the hours between 3 and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and sex.

With that in mind, do you sense a concern when you know that 15 million kids return to an empty home after school?

That being said, sometimes circumstances can’t be helped and there may be times when your kids will be the ones left alone until you can return home. Have you prepared them for when that time comes?

If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few tips to consider for your kids until you return.


1. SET Expectations, Goals, Rewards & Penalties … No matter the age of your children or what you are trying to do with them, it’s important to have them understand what you expect. You must also set real goals, rewards for a job well done, and penalties if something goes wrong.


2. DETERMINE the “Trust Factor” … On a scale of 1-5, how much do you trust your child to be home unattended? If the number is 1, you will need to keep your child busy, and possibly, set some high penalties if something goes wrong. If the number is 5, give your child enough tasks to remain productive and grow your trust.


3. TALK to Your Children Regularly … There is no such thing as over-communication when it comes to parents and kids. Have conversations with the entire family together and use dinner or breakfast as the time to catch up or discuss what’s going on or coming up.


4. FILL The Time … Set a schedule for your children so that each day is different and the projects fit their ages. Make sure there is enough for your child to do during the time he/she is left unattended at home. Also build in time for a short break so your children have time to unwind from a tough day at school. Again, depending on the age and “trust factor”, the amount of time that needs to be filled can vary.


5.  FOLLOW Through … No matter whether your children do a great job or a poor one, you must follow through with the rewards or penalties. Kids are smart enough to know whether a parent will stand by their word or not and whether there is any bite behind that bark. This is about teaching your children work ethic, responsibility and accountability, so praise and reward them for a job well done and remain strongly committed to the penalty you set for failing to meet the expectations.