The streets and alleys nowadays are becoming more and more dangerous for our teenage daughters. Mothers, especially, often feel anxious about their girl going out with her peer group. Things are no longer the same as when she was younger, the time when she would inform you every single detail of what she’s doing. Now, she’s learning to keep secrets, sometimes do things without your consent.
What better thing for a mother to do so she will not worry much than to prepare her girl early on in life, that she may learn how to protect and take care of herself while the communication line is still open between you and your daughter. “Parenting well in today’s social climate requires even more patience, vigilance, and involvement than when your children were toddlers,” says Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
How Is The Status Of Your Communication?
It is important to ask yourself: How open are you to each other? From a scale of 1 to 10, where are you? Is your daughter comfortable telling you everything?
Analyzing this will allow you to gauge how much you know your daughter, how much she trusts you, and how she perceives the idea of you protecting her.
First Things First
Always assure your daughter how valuable she is to her father and you, and that you love her so much, that all you want for her is to be always safe, happy, and living a productive life. Of course, this is something that doesn’t just come out of your mouth but something that you are sincere about. You should make her feel and see this through your actions.
Be sure that you and your husband are together in this for your daughter to make her feel confident that she is loved and sheltered.
Social Media Is Every Parents’ Greatest Rival
Sometimes as a mother, you think you know your child well. Your eyes must always be open, and you must be observant when it comes to her social media. If you sense something wrong, any changes in behavior or her speech, trust your gut. Social media and internet influence kids in ways some parents couldn’t imagine. It’s crucial that we guide them through as they explore their use of social media early on. “Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use,” said Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D.
Reality check, some teens when exposed to social media become a different person that often leaves parents thinking, “Is this the daughter I raised?”
If you allow your daughter to stay that way, she may reach a point where she will challenge every limit and boundary you will set.
Most Common Concerns When Talking Of Safety
Or let us say, the start of your fears is when your teenager starts to ask permission if she can go out with her friends. A mother’s brain will instantly fast forward, and she will begin to worry about some stuff.
Drinking and smoking can be the root of a spectrum of problems – hangovers, alcohol poisoning, unprotected and unintended sex, drunk driving, assaults, drug use, and the list goes on.
She will never like you lecturing about the harmful effects of drinking and smoking. To her, that’s nagging, that you think she’s dumb and she doesn’t know all of these things.
An efficient way to communicate this thing to her is to ask about her opinion on drinking and smoking. Then you can ask her if there will be drinking wherever they are going. Avoid reacting negatively, just listen first.
Then give her tips on what to do if her friends offered her a drink and she doesn’t want to. If she wants to take a sip, tell her she can but just do it moderately (of course considering the age). Be specific about what’s moderate, and from there you can set limits and rules and consequences if she breaks your trust. Offer help. Tell her that she can call you or her dad anytime whenever she doesn’t feel okay, and you can fetch her.
If she fails to follow the rules, there’s a consequence, and you must be strict in implementing it.
Drugs are one of the scariest problems all parents are facing today. In rehab centers, it’s frustrating to see more adolescents than adults. These kids may come from different backgrounds, but all have the same problem – they have a complicated or strained relationship with their parents.
As I said before, lecturing is not helpful. Educate yourself first on what drugs teens are commonly using nowadays, what are their effects and the damages they do to a person. Talk casually with your daughter about it so that she will feel comfortable. Remember that she will not open up to you unless she feels it is safe to tell you things. Set real-life examples, famous people you know, or if you have a friend or a neighbor with a bad experience on drug-related issues. But when you do this, don’t sound judgmental. Then it’s time to ask her about what she thinks about it.
If you have a hint that she’s doing drugs, get help immediately.
Sex is the hardest and most complicated topic to talk about, one reason why I asked you to assess first how much you rate your communication status. Many parents I know choose to avoid this issue, which is understandable as no parents would want to think that this is happening to their babies. But no matter how difficult it is, you should not avoid the issue and have the courage to talk about it. Teenage girls with low self-esteem are the ones most vulnerable to the pressure of becoming sexually active.
Your girl might have been exposed to the topic as some schools are already open to educating kids on sex. She must have already talked about it with her peers and must have seen it in the social media. You never know how much of it she’s been exposed to. Finding out while trying to protect her young mind is very difficult to balance. Again, it’s vital that you educate yourself about it, and creating a safe environment for her to open up is always essential. Having a dialogue where love abounds will make your teen realize her value so that she, herself, can set boundaries when it comes to other people respecting her body and wellbeing.
Dangers in the street, alleys, and some public places. Warning her about it is not to scare her, but to just make her aware of how to keep herself safe. You should let her know of the necessary personal safety, to be vigilant of what’s happening around, and to avoid being alone in dark and deserted places. There’s nothing wrong with reminding her not to ride a vehicle that is being driven by a person she doesn’t know or someone who’s drunk. She should always be alert when she’s with strangers – not paranoid, but just be aware.
It’s necessary that you know who your daughter’s friends are and where they go and what they do. Set limits and implement consequences if she breaks these limits. Your daughter must understand that you’re setting boundaries to keep her safe, not just because you want to impose that you’re the parent and you’re the authority.
Being a parent is tough but very rewarding. There’s no training and no exact formula to follow. If you fail, never blame yourself. If your daughter makes a mistake, never judge her, because we all got our flaws. Still, it’s important to assure her that you’re there for her and it’s not yet late to make things right for her future.
Having an open dialogue is very important when raising a teenager who is smart enough to deal with peer pressure, to avoid dangers outside the comfort of her home and in the care of her parents. As always, the key to effective communication is to do it with an open mind, love, and firm disposition. As what Dan Peters Ph.D. pointed out, “By becoming aware of my feelings and expectations for my child, I was able to understand and question my belief system about what it means to be a good parent and what I really wanted for my child.”