By Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
pressure move over. Theres a more powerful influence in the
lives of teens and its found at home.
peers undoubtedly influence each other, social science research
demonstrates time and time again that parents actually matter most.
However, having parents per se is not the determining factor. Rather
it is the degree to which mom, dad, or guardian actually monitors
the teens behaviour that is a decisive factor in reducing
the risk of pregnancy as well as drug, alcohol, and cigarette use
in their teen.
degrees of parental monitoring is measured by the parents
knowledge and ability to respond to these questions:
you know who your teens friends are?
your teen is going to be late, does s/he know that you expect him/her
you know where your teen is and what s/he is doing after school?
your teen tell you who s/he will be with before they go out?
you know where your teen is when he or she goes out at night?
you know how your teen spends his or her money?
you know the parents of your teens friends?
you talk with your teen about the plans s/he has with his/her friends?
parents back off from monitoring their teen thinking they are thwarting
their teens independence. In other situations, the teen may
view such questions by their parents as intrusive and may balk,
feeling their parents are demanding and interfering.
are 3 key things to remember for successful parental monitoring:
monitoring works best with parents who already have a reasonable
relationship with their teen. Family members should show mutual
respect and there should already be family rules in place that govern
must approach the issue of parental monitoring from a point of view
of concern, guidance and respect. Many of the questions are a matter
of courtesy and cut both ways. It is reasonable to know when to
expect family members and to know how to contact each other in case
of emergency. It is equally important for children to know where
parents are and how children can make contact. This is simply mutually
respectful behavior for planning and safety.
when your kids are young and be a good role model. If you want to
know where your kids are, always let them know where you are too.
Explain and demonstrate from an early age that family members stay
in touch and show concern for each other.
and teens develop self-esteem as a result of their parents
involvement in their lives. Parental monitoring may seem like a
pain to some teens, but hey, you only concern yourself with things
that are important. So, parental monitoring isnt about surveillance,
its about caring. Thats a good message to any teen.
Direnfeld is a child-behaviour expert, a social worker, and the
author of Raising Kids Without Raising Cane. Gary not only helps
people get along or feel better about themselves, but also enjoys
an extensive career in public speaking. He provides insight on issues
ranging from child behaviour management and development; to family
life; to socially responsible business development. Courts in Ontario,
Canada consider Gary an expert on matters pertaining to child development,
custody and access, family/marital therapy and social work. He can
be reached at www.yoursocialworker.com
or (905) 628-4847
order Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, send
a cheque or money order in the amount of $12.00 to:
20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, Ontario, L9H 6R5
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