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Conclusion for parenting teenagers, keeping the relationship while losing control. Learn facts about curfews, drugs, abuse, eating disorders, etc.

Parenting Teenagers-2

Continued from Parenting Teenagers-Facts

Parenting Teenagers-Friends and Dating:

Unfortunately, your ability to select their friends stopped in the K-6 years.  Hopefully, you were able to teach the importance of choosing good friends.  You never had a say in who they would date...and you never will.  Oh, you can share a concern, but push any harder than that and you may just push them deeper into the bad relationship.  Just as with curfews, you can set ages and locations that it's appropriate to date.  For instance, maybe at a certain age they can be alone with a date in your house with you in the next room.  At a certain age they can go with a date to group functions as long as you drive them.  Then, at an older age they can go alone on a date only to an agreed-upon location and only if they are home by a specific time.  These are all reasonable things that can, and should, be negotiated with your teenager.  All of them, including money, can be restricted if there is dishonesty or flagrant disregard for the agreement.  One more note...I got in more trouble with my same-sex teenage friends than I ever did with the opposite sex.  Don't be naive!  Many of these rules should be applied to friends as well as dates.

Parenting Teenagers-Privacy and Safety:

One of the most difficult balancing acts is the balance between the privacy needs of a teenager and your need to ensure their safety.  I think it's better to let them know early on (from about age 3) that, for their safety, you will be inspecting their possessions.  As they get to pre-teen years, keep reminding them of this by asking them privately about things you saw in their room (not judgmentally...just curiosity).  They need to know you will be reviewing their computer usage and placing blocks and controls on TV, Internet and Telephone.  For more on protecting them, see Child Personal Safety and Child Sexual Abuse.  Of course, you wouldn't share the bathroom and you'd want to knock before entering their room, but they need to know you will be looking for things that may harm them...because it's your job and because you love them.  By the way...since they know you're looking in their room, look in hiding places outside of the room, like shrubs, attic access, laundry room, garage, etc.  Once my parents began searching his room, my brother hid all his drugs and weapons under the front yard shrubs.  If a child is caught more than once with drugs or drug abuse equipment, you must get the police involved for the kid's sake.  If they get caught by you and continue in this behavior, you are not able to control them.  The only intervention that will help is the police.  For more information on addictions, see our page Addiction Management Recovery.  One more privacy issue...eating disorders.  If your child (particularly daughter) is losing a lot of weight, eating little or nothing, or regularly spending time in the bathroom after meals, see our pages on Weight Problems to see if an eating disorder is the problem.  There are actually people promoting Anorexia and Bulimia to teens as ways to look good.

Well, I've probably frightened you as much as helped you with your teenager.  If there's anything I want you to take away from this page, it's actually two things:  1.  Have faith in what you've built into your children and in their judgment.  Even if you can't see it during the teen years, that's what will keep them out of most major problems.  2.  Have faith in God for everything else.  Parents can usually afford to be atheist until they see their daughter's boyfriend.  There is a God and He cares more, even, than you, how your teenager turns out.  He cares that much for you, too.  If you want God's help to survive the terrible teens, click on God Help Me.

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