It seems that with busy schedules, responsibilities, and work that parents are finding less time to spend with their children. And what’s even worse than that, is that they may not even know what their children are doing or where they are. Children are expected to be responsible for themselves at younger ages and are getting into some serious trouble. Parent involvement in your child’s social life can stop this from occurring so frequently.
It seems that the transition from elementary school into middle and high school are the most crucial time for a child’s social life. They meet new people, their clothes begin to change styles, and their social life begins to take on a life of its own. It is during this time of irrational decisions and identity crisis that parent involvement needs to be in its highest form. Peer pressure is real and prevalent, and with unclear guidance from a parent or guardian, a teenager can find themselves in a situation they did not plan to ever be in. You want your child to be confident in their decisions and confident in not following the crowd. There is much more out there in today’s world that we as parents need to make our children aware of than was out there when we were children. Helping them make this transition from early childhood into adolescents will provide the knowledge and guidance they need to be confident in who they are.
Where should you start?
Well, in all actuality a relationship with your child should have started much earlier than adolescents because forming one this late in the game may be quite difficult; not impossible just difficult. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to be more involved in your child’s social life:
•Get to know their friends. A great way to get involved in your child’s social life is by getting to know the people they hang out with; their friends. If you get to know their friends you may feel more comfortable about giving your child permission to do things with friends. Getting involved with friends also makes you more available to your child and their friends. So before you judge a friend, get to know them first.
•Invite your child’s friends into your home. Encourage your child to invite their friends over so you can get to know them better. Don’t be afraid to talk with them or offer to drive them places of interest. Any chance you can get for a discussion is a good thing.
•Get to know the parents. Although an important part of getting involved with your child’s social life is getting to know their friends, it is just as important to get to know parents. If you don’t want to restrict your child to always be at your home, then getting to know the parents if the next step. Plan a family get together with the family, talk with them at a social gathering, or even chatting with them at school gives you a good chance each day to get to know them better.
•Be open to change and communication. During these transition years your child will be going through some pretty tough things. Be supportive of them and don’t freak out if they want to try out a new hairstyle or color, or dress totally differently than they have ever wanted to. As a parent of an adolescent you have to be open to change while at the same time making sure that the lines of communication are open clear.
Parent involvement in a child’s social life can sometimes be tricky. You’re always walking a thin line between being involved and being intrusive so play your cards carefully and always communicate with them about feelings, friends, or whatever they will talk to you about.