Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Do Not Ignore These Areas

Nowadays children are exposed to dangers that did not exist when we were young. At the same time today's youngsters are a lot more independent and want their privacy to be respected. Is this a “Catch 22” for parents? Should we allow complete privacy and independence and hope our kids are smart enough to always do the right thing or should we constantly monitor them in an attempt to protect them from the dangers of our fast-paced world?  The truth lies somewhere in between - we should keep a healthy balance: be lenient to a point and allow some privacy and independence while being fully aware what our kids are up to and ready to interfere, if need be. But how do we determine what and when to do?

A good starting point is your kids' behaviour - if they take care of their responsibilities at school and at home, talk to you about their friends and their issues apparently you have no reason to worry and should keep an eye in case things change. By the same token, if you notice anything unusual or disturbing you should carefully investigate and act before the problem escalates or is too late to deal with.

As much as all parents want to, we can’t protect our children from everything - at the end they have to make their own mistakes and learn from them. As parents we have to guide, teach and support them on the way of learning and be there for them when they need us.
Monitoring and controlling every move your kid makes can be quite dangerous. You will know what your kid is doing at all times, but you will not only raise a person who is independent and unfit to meet life's challenges, you will also lose your kids' trust.

The solution?  Be involved!

Talk to your children about dangers; establish expectations and limits, clearly explain possible consequences of bad choices. And never underestimate the following areas:

The Internet. If you know or feel your kid is behaving appropriately, just talking about potential dangers from time to time is enough, although some random checks on browsing history won't harm. You may also want to favourite your kids on Facebook, it’s a good way of keeping up-to-date on their activities.

Cell Phone.  This is an area that was considered very tough to monitor just about a year or so ago. Today there are solutions - an excellent one right here. You don't even have to be IT savvy, you only have to be smart and make the right choice.

Drug and/or Alcohol Use. You probably know your kids' characters - are they leaders or followers; are they introverts or extroverts. So the key is to know your kids' friends and understand the dynamics of their relationship.

Social Media. You can’t control what others post on your kids’ Facebook pages, or who approaches them. What you can do is be as close as possible to your children and openly and honesty discuss issues and dangers with them.

Always being transparent about your actions is extremely important. Talk to your children, inform them about your concerns and how do you intend to address them, tell them that you will be monitoring and checking their activities. Treat them the way you want to be treated - with understanding, trust and respect. This will not only protect your children, it will help you build a good relationship that will last for life.

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