Recent news events have focused on young girls being out late with older teenage males and the tragic consequences that can occur. Physically, girls are maturing earlier and often look much older than their actual age. However, emotionally and intellectually these young girls often are unable to cope with what they encounter and are especially vulnerable.

Keeping Kids Safe

As a parent you want to do the best thing, protecting our younger teenagers yet knowing that giving opportunities makes them feel capable and confidence. An overprotective parent may deny their child opportunity to feel competent and affect self esteem.  How can a parent strike the balance between ensuring their safety while preparing them for adulthood at eighteen?

With younger teens – parents need know that it is okay to say no. Parents need to be consistent; say it, mean it, do it. We need to set limits and boundaries and be unpopular for a while. 

Keep the lines of communication open

Trust your gut instinct – each child is different and you know your child better than anyone else.  There is less conflict parenting a teenager when you really listen to them, keep communication open and negotiate difference; easier said than done though!

What should a parent know?

  • Where your child is
  • Who they are with
  • What time they are due home
  • Know their friends and make them welcome in your house
  • Get to know the parents of their friends
  • Check arrangements up to age 16+ years if possible

We need to tell our teenagers: “I need to know you are safe”

Trust and believe your teenager

As parents we need give them increasing responsibility having worked out consequences in advance with them. Trust and believe in your teenager, they may make a mistake along the way; perhaps just as we did. If that happens; ensure they know they can call you. The more responsibility they show; the more freedom they get, but do not confuse freedom with license.

Let teenagers make choices

Allowing your child to make choices from an early age is crucial in developing responsibility. Small choices for small children, bigger choices for bigger children. Building good self esteem helps them when faced with peer pressure. Ensure they know they are responsible and accountable for their actions.

Parenting Teenagers is tough

Parenting teenagers can be overwhelming and parents need helpsupport. They need to hear that others share their experience and that they are not alone. Do not forget this is a phase; that is universal, inevitable and will pass!

We cannot protect them from everything; every parent does their best. Thankfully these news of car accidents and violent deaths are still extremely rare in Ireland. I am sure every parent’s thoughts are with the heartbroken and grieving families left behind.