This is a guest post by Nancy Evans, a freelance writer on frugality and parenting.
It can be hard being a parent to a teenager. However, to your child, their teenage years can be stressful and daunting. It can be a time of confusion as it’s the time of moral and physical growth of your child at a rapid speed.
Your teen can be depressed, engage in undesirable behavior or even start consuming drugs and alcohol. All this can easily overwhelm you and make you think that being a parent of a teen is one of the most difficult phases of your life. But, there are some ways to pass through this phase and prevent your child from getting into more serious problems.
Tips to keep your child out of trouble
1. Keep a check on their online activities
Teens can easily get into trouble by engaging in social media and other online activities. Sex criminals can blackmail them and they can even be prone to phishing. A teen was jailed over Facebook comments that were a sarcastic threat but were taken seriously by the authorities.
Use different software and also take advantage of parental control over certain websites to monitor your teen’s online activities.
2. Set the rules for them
Your child may think he/she is entitled to staying up late at night, driving the car to school or owning a smartphone. It’s important that you tell them the difference between rights and privileges. If you allow them to think that everything is their right, it may result in destructive behavior.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't allow them privileges at all. You can, however, set rules and cancel the privileges if those rules aren't met. This can act as a wake-up call to the teen because some privileges are quite important to them. It will also help them realize the consequences of their behavior.
3. Be aware of instant measures to take
In some cases, you might not find out that your child is in trouble until it's too late. This is the point where you need to be aware of the instant measures you can and should take because if you let it drag out the consequences can be a long sentence and jail time.
It's also important to learn more about bail bonds because if you're aware of the process, you can take those instant measures (such as collecting donations, contacting the right experts etc.) and prevent your child from spending a frightening night in a jail cell.
4. Make sure you’re aware of their friends
Your son or daughter may already be or can start hanging out with troubled teens at any point in time. Teens can do a lot of things such as make weird hairstyles or adapt a particular speaking tone, but that doesn't always mean they've lost their decency. You need to find out what’s influencing this behavior. It may be the case that your kid is just following a particular fashion trend at college.
However, it’s also possible that your child can get into serious problems when being friends with troubled teens--missing school and engaging in drugs and alcohol. This is the situation where you need to tell the child that you’re concerned and try to stop negative behavior. You can also ask for professional help or resort to family and educational therapy in this case.
5. Listen to your child
It may be the case that little things are upsetting your child such as his or her best friend being group partners with someone else. While this may not sound important to you, it can be a big deal for the teen.
You need to take listen to your child rather than offering advice. The best resort would be to offer sympathy in this case, so that your child knows that you actually care for their feelings.
Being a teen’s parent may not be easy at first, but by being smart and taking one problem at a time, you can get through it and keep your child out of trouble.
See my disclaimer.