Especially now as technology is in the hands of every teens and many tweens, parents need to be in tune with how are teens are dealing with peer pressure, friendships and most of all, school life.
Teenagers earn their trust with their parents. Respecting each others privacy should always be priority, however if you fear your teenager is heading down a dark path, and is not willing to talk to you or a third party (therapist, guidance counselor, relative or adult friend), you may have to cross the line of trust.
What are some of the warning signs that may prompt you to cross this line?
- Is your teen becoming very secretive? Sure, teens do like their privacy, however if you have a “gut feeling” something is deeper than a secret, you may have to cross that line.
- Is your teen becoming withdrawn? Again, teens will develop some attitudes of not wanting to be with adults, however when it becomes extreme, it may be time to cross that line.
- Is your teen changing peer groups? And this is not into a better one, however to one that is less than desirable? You will again attempt to talk to your teen and find out why and what happened to the other friends.
- Is your teens eating habits changing?
- Is your teen sleeping a lot? Bloodshot eyes? Do you suspect drug use?
- Is your teen sneaking out? Becoming extremely defiant? Not respecting your boundaries?
- Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don’t recognize?
Are you snooping or are you legitimately monitoring your teens?
Should you read your teen’s diary? Scroll through their text messages or even befriend them on their social networking sites? That is a personal question only you can answer.
Remember writing can be very healthy for teens (and adults for that matter), so if your teen isn’t giving you any valid reasons to “invade their privacy” – respect it.
When safety trumps privacy – it may be time to pry – but every day you should be monitoring your child’s online activity – it’s called parenting.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.