In this write up we want to discuss “preventive parenting”. By doing so we can avoid situations and problems discussed here http://www.parentnook.com/sad-story-of-a-young-life-wasted/ and here http://www.parentnook.com/a-tale-to-help-parents/ We will try to break this down so its easier to understand but feel free to discuss this in our forum http://www.parentnook.com/forum/
Its important that you and your child talk. Now as they get older that will get more difficult but if you establish a line of open communication early this wont be the obstacle you think. Talk to your child about your day and theirs give input and listen to theirs. If you offer advice do it a friendly manner and not scolding (unless of course scolding applies). Be open about yourself as well. You cannot expect your child to be open if your not. Now this certainly does not mean you need to overwhelm your child with burdens they are not prepared for but you must be open yourself. Example, “It really hurt me when you” (insert event). This tells your child you were hurt and have feelings as well as open yourself up to care and want to share with child. How yon do this depends on age of child and your current relationship. If you and your child have this open line of communication then when situations arise your child is more likely to talk to you about them or at least be open to discussion with you. This factor is the most important of all. Without communication you cannot resolve or even know about issues that might be of concern with your child
Know your child’s likes and dislikes:
Do you really know your child’s likes and dislikes? You might think you do and don’t. If you know your child’s likes and dislikes you learn much about him/her. This will tell you your child’s attitudes and leanings on important issues. Example in the store “A Tale to help parents” the main subject had changed some and became more open to things like drug use, drinking and other harmful activities. Had the parents noticed this and took action they might have prevented his downward spiral. Know your child. What websites is he/she visiting? What are they listening to on radio? What TV shows are they excited about? The list goes on. Watch for changes both positive and negative and take or not take the proper action. Any change in your child has potential to help or harm him/her.
As mentioned earlier watch for even subtle changes in your child. Even the slightest change could be the start of problems. If you see these changes then its time to ask questions. If you have open communication established this will be easier to do. Changes can come in a variety of ways. Some mentioned in previous paragraph but here are some more. Changes in clothing choices, changes in how they talk to you and others. changes in moods (even slight), changes in hair style, change in grades or attitude towards school to name a few. All of these could be warning signs of problems. Children (especially teens) are very social creatures and will follow the lead of others (more on this later) so watch for changes. Of course your child is growing and the days of Legos and Barbies will pass. It what these habits change into that we as parents need to watch and prevent future problems.
Discussed in earlier write up know your child’s computer use. If you child is still young (12 and younger) have the computer in a common area of home. This way you can monitor their internet usage and behaviors. There could be clues to potential problems within their online activities. If you let them join a Social network do so under your terms. You know password and you set privacy settings. We told our children that they could have such networks but no one but friends can view page and only “real friends” could be friended. If we had same social network they were to add us as well. They are now 17, 17 and 20 and still do this. 2 are in College one is a Senior applying to Colleges. Those were conditions they agreed and have no asked we change anything including the 20 year old! If you have same network see what others are posting this will tell you much about your child without being nosy.
Know your child’s friends! This is by far the biggest clue to tell you what your child is doing when your not around. As in the story “A tale to help parents” the teen in story had friends who smoked and other things. Why did the parents not think their teen was as well? I cannot answer that but its safe to assume if his/her friends are smoking so is your teen or will be soon. Watch your child’s friends! Your child will be on his/her best behavior when your around but maybe not his friends. These friends are your window to your child’s world outside your home. Don’t be afraid to be the bad guy if you do not approve of your child’s friends you have every right to tell them they may no longer hang out with them. They may be mad and stay that way for a while but later you can show them how you saved them. Remember what happened in the story mentioned earlier.
Remember parents its your job to prevent future problems so be mindful of all your child’s activities, actions, friends etc. You are their only protector at present you and you alone can save their lives. Don’t be afraid to admit your our faults and poor choices and the problems that followed. Let them know the outcome of their choices if made poorly.