Being a parent is hard work through and through, but being the parent of a teen is extremely taxing. They’re just starting to discover the various freedoms that come with age, but their emotions are constantly running wild, and some of the truths of growing up are less pleasant than others. Obviously, your kids are your life, and you’ll want them to have the best experiences possible. Here are a few tips for making sure your teen stays safe…
On the Road
As soon as your teen becomes qualified to drive, you’ll naturally start to worry. For the first time ever, they’re going to be out there operating a car without you or an instructor being able to check on how safe they’re being. It probably won’t surprise you to know that teen drivers are generally more reckless than more experienced ones, and that lawyers for any DWI case will have had a lot of experience with younger clients! One of the best ways to ensure your child is being safe behind the wheel is to lead by example. Make sure that every time you’re driving, whether with your teen or without, that you’re following the rules of the road to a tee, keeping to the speed limits, and avoiding any kind of distractions like food and electronics. Set strict rules on where your teen can drive and at what times. It may also be a good idea to set a cap on the amount of friends they can have in the car at once, especially when they’ve first started driving independently.
If your kid has only just become too old to have you looking over their shoulder at everything they do or at least thinks they are, then making sure they stay safe online is very important. Teens are obviously going to be very private about the way they spend their time online, but that doesn’t make some of the content they can be exposed to any less dangerous. Try to get familiar with the social media channels they’re using the most, what they’re saying on those channels, and how much time they’re spending on the internet in general. It may be worth setting parental locks. In fact, with a teen it is more effective if you have it set up for the entire household and not just them. You may not even realize the dangers that exist. Did you know that even if your child is just the recipient of certain types of content they can get in trouble with the law at the federal level? Your leniency could spell big trouble for their future.
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Away from Drugs
It is possible that your teen might experiment with drugs. This may or may not escalate into an addiction that ruins their lives. It can certainly impact their grades, and put them at risk of getting in trouble with the law. They’ve already been exposed to all the Public Service Announcements about the dangers of drugs at school, so talk to them about it from your own experience. Remember what it’s like to be their age, the kinds of people who were doing drugs, and the biggest dangers you came into contact with yourself. If they feel like you’re not being honest with them, they’re unlikely to open up. If you did drugs explain to your child why that was a bad decision and the problems it caused. If you never tried drugs then explain to them why you never tried them. Maybe you saw a parent or a friend have bad results. Tell them very honestly and be open to listening to them.
You need to be explicit about why they shouldn’t do drugs. Kids don’t realize all of the ramifications of their actions. They think they are invincible at that age.
Listening does not mean being tolerant of that behavior. It isn’t your job to be their best friend, it is your job to set boundaries. Let them know the consequences in your household for such a behavior. While doing that, you don’t want to create an environment where they are just going to sneak behind your back. If there was ever a time when you need to know what your children are doing this may be the most important time ever.
The teen years are hard, no doubt about it. You need to guide them and be consistent and mean what you say. If your child gets into trouble, you enforce the boundaries but just as important you need to be there for them to help them turn their life back around. You may be tempted to turn your back on them because they are going outside of your beliefs but they need you now more than ever.
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As your kid grows and discovers this exciting new chapter of life, use these tips to keep them as safe as possible.
*This post was contributed. Family friendly posts are welcome. The views expressed may or may not be the same as IMHO Views, Reviews and Giveaways.