You don’t want to be that parent who never sets foot in school because of bad memories you’ve experienced there yourself. That means you’re blind to what your children are going through — by choice. You also don’t want to be the parent who’s at school every day checking up on your child. This shows them you don’t trust them. How, then, should you act?
A Concerned Parent
When it comes to teenagers, parents always feel like they’re toeing the line between being invasive and being dismissive. You feel like if you ask too many questions, your child will slam the door in your face. And what parent wants that? You look back at how close you and your child used to be, back when they were just at home and they turned to you for everything. Now that they’re going to any of Salt Lake City’s charter schools, their world has widened significantly and you feel like an outsider.
That doesn’t have to be the case, especially if you’re noticing changes in their behavior. There’s something that prompted that change, and it’s okay if you ask them about it. Don’t force them to tell you, but remind them that’s an option. If they know you want to be involved, they’ll come to you if they can’t handle their own problem anymore. The trick is to let them figure it all out by themselves, but watch for signs that they may be in trouble.
An Interested Friend
Children of this generation grow up in a world drastically different from yours. For starters, they have the internet, which means they practically have everything at their fingertips. They may know things you don’t know, all because they’ve read it online. Now, you use the internet yourself, so it would hardly be fair if you don’t allow them access to it. However, with so much mature content easily available online, you’ll want to shield their eyes for now.
Give them enough freedom to roam online, but warn them of the dangers associated with it. Children these days are smarter when it comes to meeting people, so the reminder to not talk to strangers may not apply anymore. Still, point out signs that someone might be trying to manipulate them. Again, you don’t want to overstep your boundaries. It’s better to be aware of the platforms they frequent and, if you can, be friends with them online. Sometimes, that’s all the protection they need from strangers who may be preying on children who feel lonely at home.
It will also be helpful if you show support for your child’s interests, whether that’s posting selfies or supporting an artist. If they know you’re not looking down at them, they will let you into their world.
A Source of Information
The Internet is already there, but with all the conflicting information available, your child still needs someone to help them make sense of everything. You may not be of much help when it comes to their math homework, but for topics such as beauty, confidence, self-defense, and even using protection, be their source of information. Here, you’ll want to approach them carefully, as the mere fact that you’re bringing up these topics may make them feel insecure.
Casually mention the topic you want to talk about. You’ve given them that opening and now you assess their reaction to it. If they readily open up, that’s good. If they don’t, they may not be ready. Don’t take offense. They will come to you when they’re ready, so just keep reminding them it’s safe to talk to you about anything.
When you were a teenager, no one could make you talk about anything you didn’t want to. Remember that when you’re trying to get your children to open up about school and life.