Teen Parenting Issues - Porn stuff - Over-familiarity of Strangers and Intrusion of Technology
Yes, porn stuff on internet, the over-familiarity of strangers calling you best friend and love of their lives, the incessant junk mail, the intrusion of technology and tech-users on your personal life are all major concerns for parents of teens these days.
It is post-modern dilemma, how much and how to protect our kids from the harm that technology can cause and is causing? With the mobile phones everywhere, with CCTV everywhere, can you change clothes or even take a pee without it getting plastered on the net? You think that your kids don't have access to the net, but is there such a thing nowadays? Schools, colleges, cafes, homes, and offices, you have the net everywhere.
We should teach our teenagers on the dangers that technology has, caution them against divulging personal details to strangers, never agree to meet them at unknown places. May be we should have an open chat with them, not just about this but everything. They shold know that we are always there for them, that if anything is happening in their life, we don't wanna know the details but at least they should keep us in the loop. Don't be judgmental- somethings we have to accept, like mixed groups of friends or maybe girlfriends and boyfriends and outings. We have to tell them what we expect of them. Delineate what is tolerable and what is not and then let them go. Trust more but pray even harder that they will be okay and if they face something, they have to believe that you will be there.
Discuss with them, the various things happening, its cause and effects, how to handle, etc., etc. in a friendly way at the same time convincing.
You cannot force them, as it is up to them to continue or leave it. If you have strong bonding and attachment, then agreeing to your views the kids will not go in wrong direction.
No child will ever tell his/her parents everything that happens but if they do remember to turn to you in crucial times (and are able to make the judgment that this is a crucial moment and mom needs to be involved), then consider your job done.
Some steps can be taken such as the computer can be kept in the common room where the parent or other members of the family frequently move around, giving no room to open unpleasant stuff.
You cannot control if the child is going to go to a net cafe, but at home, you can keep a track of the sites, which are visited in your absence.
I think teenagers are very watchful and tend to start mirroring what they see around them and not what they hear, so we will have to quit preaching and walk the talk.
Children of all ages, not just teenagers, need to know that their ideas and opinions will be treated with respect and not dismissed just because the ideas and opinions did not come from "adults".
At least, listen to it with an open mind. The parent does not have to agree or implement everything the teenager says. The parent has to listen.
And yes, don't forget, there is a very thin line in monitoring your teen and spying. The former one sound a word of care for your kid, while the latter one sounds like intriguing their lives, violation of privacy. Please understand this very clearly that teens need their own space. They are very sensitive towards their privacy, so whatever your actions be, make sure, they are not hurtful or insulting to your kid.
Some useful tips to help know your teen better
1. They know you very well, take that for granted, you on the other hand are puzzled by how much they are changing day by day, in short you don't know them.
2. If you are the type who will create a ruckus the moment you come to know something unusual, new or beyond what you think as acceptable about them, then they will start acting.
3. Be cool, not just act cool. Let them know that you are willing to discuss, explore, and learn.
4. Learn to be comfortable with the gadgets that they use and also the language. You need not say Yo! every time you meet , but at least understand what they are talking .and maybe include one or two words into your own vocabulary. Don't overdo it or they will smirk.
5. Encourage them to get their friends home. Get to know them. Keep their numbers.
6. If your son/daughter drives two wheelers, insist on helmets. Tell them that bravery and style can be shown in many more fruitful ways.
7. Do not break laws yourself- like running red signals, overtaking from the left. Teach them to respect the law.
8. If they plan trips to beaches, riversides, etc. be sure to warn them not to get too carried away in having fun and get into trouble. 9. If you and your partner enjoy drinks, it is better that you introduce them to it rather than someone else. Please don't hide it from them, as that sets a real bad example and they know it.
Teenage goes through a lot of emotional changes in them, they are attracted to something that excites them. Teenage blood tends to get warmer when the feeling "independence" comes in their mind. During the same time, the changes in their body, emotional feelings that they feel, feeling of adventurous life, and feeling of curiosity as to how it feels, all attracts them.
You can turn the bad things you know they can do to other good things like talking to them, spending good quality time with them with short trips, taking them out for teenage cultural gatherings, teen-scouting and camping groups, teenage health awareness programs, personality programs where they discuss mature topics on different aspects, get them involved in social circles, so that they stay in touch with your family members quite often, by gathering all teens in your family and sending them for a trip.
All the above are very good examples of keeping your teen's empty, curious, independent mind in peace and respect, as these points if done will settle their curiosity, keep them updated about what is "good" and what is "bad" and why and how it will destroy you and how your family is affected if you do anything wrong. There are many such inspired books/novels and nowadays movies for teenagers too which are from real life stories and then you will see a difference one day in their life and your life.
The day will not be far when your teen will stop herself committing to a boyfriend or proposals because she will think over that she is ready for it or not. Your teens will know that they are not ready to enter a relationship and thus will always keep distance at least until they feel that they are ready. Self-control and discipline will come and what else a teen parent will need.
So remember that the teen definitely needs a friendly parent to confide in, and there needs to be a comfort zone, but somewhere down the line the teen needs someone to navigate them. By navigate, I don't mean that the parents need to make decisions all the time. Help them learn to make their decisions themselves.