The biggest regrets parents have isn’t what they did for the kids, but all of the things they could’ve have done but didn’t. This is the hindsight thinking parents have after their young Teen has gotten into trouble.
Raising a teen is a complex job. Outside of unconditional love, there is no exact science to parenting. Dating, drugs and alcohol, and peer pressure are detractors that can veer a Young Teen in a dangerous direction.
There’s hope for parents striving to keep their Young Teen Safe from the woes of temptation. Here are 10 tips for keeping your young teen safe.
1. Talk to Your Young Teen
Get to know your teen. That sounds strange, seeing you’ve raised your child from a baby, but it’s key.
Parents who talk to their teens on a regular basis establish trust, understanding that trust is built through listening. Teens feel comfortable exposing their truths to parents when they know they’re listening and can be trusted.
Choose appropriate times to talk to your teen. Yes, anytime is appropriate. But remember, teenagers experience stressors –academics, puberty, and friendships — daily, and they need time to wind down to calculate their emotions as well.
Select times and places, like the dinner table, where you know your teen is apt to listen to the advice you need to give. It’s through communication where parents can find out if their teen is in trouble or on the brink of it.
2. Never Change the Rules
Be consistent. If you set a rule, enforce it and stick to your guns.
The teenage years are when teens are trying to find a bit of independence. In doing so, the urge to break away may involve breaking a rule or two.
This is a test.
Teens test their parents by seeing what they can get away with. The best of teens do it — A+ students, kids in the choir — they all do it.
Establish consequences for rule breaking and be clear with your teens about them. For example, if the curfew on a weekday is 9:30 and your teen walks in at 9:31, consequences should be enforced right away. They aren’t late to class when the school bell rings, so they shouldn’t be late for curfew.
Take things away from them like electronics, allowance, and time with friends.
If you let them break one rule, they’ll break more and the line of respect will be broken.
Communicate the rules to your teen and make sure they respect them.
3. Know Their Friends
Teens fall into so many dangers because their parents don’t know their friends. Every parent is not raising their children the way you are. Never assume that.
Never allow your children to enter another child’s home unsupervised. Also, it’s a safe practice to know the parents of your teenager’s friends.
Check local databases for a list of names of sex offenders that may live nearby or near your teen’s friend. Most importantly, make sure no adults in the home of or associated with your teen’s friend are either.
Knowing the background of the people your child hangs around is no small matter. Knowing your teenager means knowing their friends.
4. Be Their First Example
A teenager’s first mentor should be someone from their own home.
This is not a summons to be perfect, because no one is. This is a clarion call to be their first example.
Don’t bring drugs in your home, and don’t do them in front of your teen. Gateway drugs, recreational drugs, any drugs–they all lead to addiction.
Exposing your teen to drug use inside the home is giving them a license to participate in drug use outside of the home.
Drink responsibly in front of your teenager. If you keep alcohol in the house, set boundaries.
Communicate the dangers of underage drinking. Be clear with your teen that they are to steer clear of any alcohol in the home when an adult is not present. Also, keep prescription drugs and firearms on lock.
Promote the behavior you want to see in your teen. Be the benchmark.
5. Build Their Confidence
Self-esteem starts in the home. Teens succumb to the weight of peer pressure because they lack self-confidence.
Here are a few confidence builders to practice with your teen to ensure they are successful outside of the home:
- Exhibit loving behavior with your teen even when you disagree with their behavior. Forgiveness builds more trust between you and your teenager.
- Push them to do their best without setting unhealthy expectations on them. Every teen has different gifts–some academic, some athletic, and some practical. Help them find their gift then nurture it.
- Remind them of their self-worth. Standards of beauty are also set in the home. Tell your teen how beautiful they are and how accepting you are of their body image on a daily basis.
Boosting your teen’s confidence in a safe place strengthens them emotionally to overcome pressures outside of the home.
6. Take them to a Substance Abuse Meeting
You are your teen’s first educator. Be proactive in teaching them about the risks of substance and alcohol abuse.
Contact the National Helpline to find a local meeting in your area to set up a time to have your teen sit in a meeting — particularly, a heroin treatment meeting.
7. No Unsupervised Parties
It’s okay to allow your teen to have fun but monitor it. Make sure an adult will be present at the party. Also, enter the party with your teen to verify the absence of alcohol and drugs.
8. Watch Behavior
A true sign of drug use and abuse is a change in behavior.
Sudden changes in friends, dark clothing, and isolation are signs that your teen may be in danger. Monitor them closely and intervene as soon as possible.
9. Support Positive Behavior
Show your teen you love every aspect of their lives. Go to PTA meetings and support their involvement in school activities.
10. Follow Through
Remain consistent with rules, consequences, and support. Follow through with discipline and promises.
Avoid regret. Keep your teen safe.
Build a trusting relationship with your teen through communication, confidence building, and proactive education on substance abuse.
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