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Archive for the ‘Teenagers’ 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.

Are You Their Friend or Their Parent?

June 19th, 2013 - Category: Teenagers

Do you find yourself giving in too often and expecting less of your kids to alleviate conflict in your home?  Maybe your permissiveness is getting in the way of their natural growth.

“Many parents today misunderstand their role,” says parenting expert Leonard Sax, MD, PhD, a family doctor in Chester County, PA.  “They often see their role as protecting their son or daughter from disappointment.  They are providing a safety net in situations where it might be wiser to let the kids experience the consequences.”

For many parents, life can be hectic and the last thing you want to do when you get home is start World War III in your kitchen.  But not following through with discipline or routines can create lazy, spoiled, children without schedules or responsibilities.

Here are a few tips to help you in your parent/friend relationship with your child.

It’s important to co-parent.  Be sure your partner is on board and work together to set appropriate routines and limits and then stick to them.  Stand as united parents so your kids aren’t confused or end up pitting you against each other.

It’s often easier to give in to your child’s demands rather than create more conflict.  Stick to your guns and follow through when a consequence is set.  Minor things can slide, but it’s crucial to your credibility as a parent to follow through on the things that matter.

You may think you are helping your child by doing their chores or letting them out of something.  They may even use schoolwork as an excuse and you may feel that you have to honor that excuse.  But throughout life there will always be excuses, and there will always be good, better, and best choices your child will have to make.  Just because their teacher assigns it doesn’t mean that it trumps what you as a parent have asked.  It just means that your child needs to prioritize their time so that they can accomplish both tasks.

We all want to be liked.  And being a parent is no different.  We want our kids to like us.  However, especially around when puberty hits, you need to be aware that there will be times when being a friend isn’t the best role to take as a parent.

That isn’t to say that you can’t be their friend.  Just the opposite.  At this age it is imperative that your kids know that you love them and are on their side no matter what.  But, they also need to know that you have certain expectations for them when it comes to family rules and responsibilities.

Effective co-parenting, following through with consequence, sticking to your routines and limits, and not letting them get away with excuses, are all beneficial skills when it comes to parenting.

Show your kids that you love them by being their parent when they need one.


Read a similar article here:  The Benefits of Being Consistent