Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

5 Fun and Inventive Ways to Protect Your Teenagers

Being a parent of a teenager produces anxiety and stress in anyone that remembers their own adolescence. The desire to venture out on your own, ditch the uncool parents, and hang with friends, was, and still is, top priority. Unfortunately, adventuring urges are not usually accompanied with the desire to make wise and safe choices. This puts parents who want to support an adolescent’s independence, yet assure their safety, in a real dilemma. Here are five fun and inventive ideas to protect your teen while giving them freedom.

Know Your Child’s Friends

First, make sure you know with whom your teenager is associating, which might seem like something that is a bit obvious. Meet your child’s friends and if possible their parents. Host a small gathering at your place or meet for coffee or at another local hangout. This helps assure your teen’s friend is reliable and also has parents that show an interest in their offspring’s safety. If you can’t meet in person, at least speak on the phone, and let them know your expectations for safety. By speaking with the other parents, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page and that the same expectations and guidelines are set no matter where you child may be or who they may be spending time with.

Be The Hostess With The Mostess

Another example of a hands-on approach is to host a teen get-together at your place. This allows you to supervise (from the other room, of course) activities or interactions while assuring a safe environment. Make it fun by ordering pizza and picking up a teen movie and you’ll be the cool parent. If you try to tie down your children and prevent them from having fun, it is very likely that they will simply rebel against you. With this in mind, you might even want to allow your teen to regularly host parties at your place with your supervision.

Use Technology

For parents that have a harder time keeping their youth close to home, consider freedom with an electronic leash. These options can vary but can include texting or phoning home every hour while away, for example “I’m safe dad!” or “I love you mum.” Most teens simply do not understand that anxiety and fear that come with letting a child go and have fun late in the evening. While you more than likely are concerned about what they do, you also are concerned about what others will be doing that might be able to inflict harm on your child. Thus, a small little text every now and then will help to  ease your mind and it will remind your child of your expectations.

Use Even More Advanced Technology

If your teen is too forgetful to make contact every hour, consider a GPS tracking system such as the ones that you can find at Back 2 You. Attach the device to your kiddos phone or car keys and you’ll know for sure if they are at the library studying like they say they are. This might seem like something that is extreme, and perhaps it is in some cases, but this is often the best way to keep track of kids that have previously gone against you, while still allowing for them to have fun and keep their freedom.

Have Fun Together

Last, spend honest to goodness “fun time” with your teenager listening and learning about his or her interests (put the nagging about chores or homework aside and just listen). Investing this time can help build the trust and respect needed to keep an open and working relationship and can actually be a lot fun for both of you! Believe in your parenting skills and the foundation that you laid to help keep them safe. While family time is great, make sure that you take each child out individually to spend some along time together doing something that they love. For example, you might hate video games and think they spend too much time playing them, but your child would more than likely love nothing more than to watch their mom/dad try to play a game at a local arcade and fail miserably.

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