Raising children isn’t getting any easier. As the world continues to evolve in every way, the landscape from which you may have known as a teenager has changed. Unfortunately, this new era brings with it a whole new set of influences that, if not dealt with, can send your teenager into a downward spiral. In order to effectively parent your child, you must first be made aware of these influences, and take precautions to prevent them from negatively impacting your teen’s life.
Drugs and Alcohol
The music and movie industries, in particular, have started sensationalizing the use of illicit and prescription drugs. It has been portrayed in the media as something commonly done and glorified by the rich and famous. As teens can be easily influenced by those perceived to be popular or idols, if not discussed, it could lead to them using drugs and alcohol as well. Not to mention, the peer pressure received from school and social media, which can all play a part. This use could lead to abuse and result in the need to seek treatment from a facility for sober living in Los Angeles if you’re located in Southern California.
To minimize the likelihood of this happening in your household, it is important that you openly discuss the consequences of using drugs and alcohol with your teens. Make sure that you’re mindful of the music and movies they’re exposed to by checking search histories and setting parental boundaries to minimize their exposure. You might also set boundaries for hanging with friends and ensure that all engagements are chaperoned by a responsible adult.
A major platform for teenage interaction with their peers and entertainment is the internet. Often spending hours a day on social media, playing games, browsing websites, and conducting research, your children are exposed to a lot more than you think. Though they may appear to be able to handle the responsibilities of using the internet, it really is a lot for their age.
While you don’t have to restrict them from using the internet altogether, it is recommended that you reduce their screen time and set limits when they are online. For instance, setting an hourly limit on their internet usage, setting parental blocks on inappropriate content, requiring they provide you with passwords to their online accounts, and checking their browsing history.
More importantly, make sure that you keep an open line of communication with your teen about the things they do online. Since this is their world, you want to be involved with it. By talking with them casually (and sternly when necessary) about their internet usage they will be more mindful of their actions and inclined to open up to you about their day to day activities.
Unfortunately, both teenaged boys and girls will struggle to fit in amongst their peers and what they believe society wants them to look like. Though all teenagers seem to struggle with their body image, girls seem to suffer the most. As the media can sometimes be biased in their reflection of what beauty is, they feel the pressure to fit that image. This can result in low self-esteem and even the pressure to be overly sexual before they’re mentally mature enough to handle it.
Parents can help their teens feel comfortable in their own skin by leading by example and providing a positive environment at home. Show them examples and role models of varying shapes and sizes so that they know there is no one size fits all when it comes to looking and feeling great. Also, if your child seems to be struggling with bullying or depression, get them the help they need as mental health issues and suicide rates among teens are high.
Raising a teenager today isn’t what it used to be even a decade ago. Although there are bound to be bumps in the road as your child learns to find themselves and fit in with society and their peers, it is imperative that as their parent you are there to provide structure, discipline, and support. This will essentially help provide a solid foundation that will stick with them for life.