What is the best parenting style for teenagers?


English: Teenagers in the Netherlands.

English: Teenagers in the Netherlands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is well-known that parents can find teenagers very challenging. However, this is part of the natural journey from childhood to adulthood. The brain rewires during the teen years and this makes it difficult for teenagers to control their emotions and impulses. Therefore, it is important to offer guidance to teenagers whilst allowing them to find their own identity.

So what is the best parenting style? Parents who are firm with their teenagers but also good listeners tend to have the least problems. These parents set clear boundaries for their teenagers such as a curfew when going out in the evening and expectations regarding completing homework. However, they allow their children to question their beliefs and will consider their views. They also give consequences such as grounding when their teenager does not follow the rules. Research shows that teenagers who have parents who are firm and who are also good listeners tend be independent, have good social skills and do well at school (Baumrind, 1991).

Strict parents also set clear boundaries but they expect their teenagers to obey them without question. They tend to over-ride their children’s views and opinions, which can leave teenagers feeling resentful. Teenagers with strict parents tend to do well at school but they have poorer social skills and lower self-esteem (Baumrind, 1991).

Indulgent parents are good listeners but they avoid conflict and do not expect their teenagers to take responsibility for their behaviour.
For example, they may not confront their children for staying out late or give a consequence for getting drunk on a school trip.
Teenagers with indulgent parents tend to do worse at school but they do have high self-esteem and good social skills.

Uninvolved parents do not set rules for their teenagers and do not really get involved in their children’s lives either. At the extreme, this could be classed as neglectful parenting. Teenagers with uninvolved parents fare the worst as they have low self-esteem and are more likely to have behavioural problems (Baumrind, 1991).

As a parent it can be difficult to get the fine balance between setting boundaries and listening to our children but we should endeavour to try our best. If we know we are too lenient, then we shouldn’t be afraid of conflict with our children. If we know we are too strict, the we should allow a little debate from our teenagers.



Protecting your child or teenager on Facebook and Twitter


child on facebookThe vast majority of children use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However, many children do not realise how public the photos and comments they put on Facebook and Twitter are. They may make comments on these sites that can get them in trouble. For example, some children may be rude about other children, parents or teachers on Facebook and Twitter, without realising who can see their comments. Parents should explain to their child that when they put a comment on a social networking site that all the friends of friends can see their comments. For example, if they make a comment on their friend’s Facebook page and their friend has made their parent a Facebook friend, then their friend’s parent can see this comment too.

Another more worrying concern is that many children have given out personal photos of themselves and physical descriptions to people they don’t know on Facebook. This can put children at risk. Furthermore, some children will post embarrassing photos of themselves on Facebook or spread rumours about other people, without realising the full consequences of their actions. Parents can discuss the dangers of social networking with their children as a preventative measure.

Geotagging enables your geographical location to be added to photographs, videos and websites. This means that if your child uploads photographs of themselves onto Twitter or Facebook, then a complete stranger can pinpoint the exact location of where the photos were taken. Therefore, it is a good idea to disable geotagging on your child’s mobile. Explain to your child what geotagging means and tell them never to click “allow” when geotagging-enabled mobile apps ask for permission.

Instagram is a photo-sharing application, which allows any photograph uploaded to be viewed by anyone, anywhere. It is also possible to include the location of the photograph. Parents can make sure their child adds privacy settings before using the application to at least ensure that the location of the photograph is private. Children under 13-years-old should not be allowed to use Instagram as they may come across disturbing or pornographic images.

Although there are dangers in using social media, it is probably not a good idea for parents to over-react by banning its use. Parents just need to make their children aware of the dangers. However, it is sensible to turn off the internet when your child is doing homework on the computer so that they aren’t constantly bombarded with messages from their friends.

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