It's important to ask to see your child's phone for a phone check every now and then. It's not unreasonable for you to know what apps they have on their phone, their passwords to those accounts, and who they interact with on these platforms. They will kick and scream and make it seem completely unreasonable, but I assure you it's not. Everything that I have learned over the past few years about online bullying, and child sex trafficking enforces the idea that not only is monitoring their phone very reasonable, it's also very necessary.
People hear the scary stories on the news and it always seems like a far off problem that happens in other towns around the country. You think "That won't happen here" or "But she's a good kid, she's smart and would never get caught up in that stuff". That is a false sense of comfort and it's dangerous to believe in. By allowing yourself to believe this won't happen it robs you of the ability to safety plan and protect yourself and your kids against it.
The best thing helpers can do is model what they want to see. The way I try to do this is I practice what I preach. I can't talk (and charge!) clients about coping skills and self care, if I don't live that life myself. It'll be fake and my clients will know it. I gotta take care of myself before I tell anyone how to take care of themselves or their relationships.
I think about this message especially for parents. We talk a lot about the influence peers have on children, but I would say that parents hold an even bigger role. Parents are the ones teaching children about becoming an adult, about relationships, about what it means to be a man or a woman. It's the basis for all knowledge. The first seeds are planted at home as babies, and as those babies grow and gain other influences they still continually look back at their caregivers to orient themselves.
I haven't met any parents who don't love their children and want them to shine. But I've met a lot of parents who don't always show it in the most constructive way. The best way to have your kids shine is for you to shine too. That's a message they'll get loud and clear every time.
I think there are so many insecurities that come along with parenting. Everyone has an opinion on what you're doing, how you could be doing it better, and "hey by the way, this is how I did it". On top of the never ending opinions that feed insecurity there's the everyday stresses like: work, relationships, in-laws, track meets... the list goes on.
The truth is we all know really good parents who have children who have gone really off track. I think we look at those parents and we think "Oh God if they can't get it right who can?" . Then there's those parents you might view as less than stellar and their children grow up spectacularly. It's easy to wonder if there's even a pattern to all this or if it's just dumb luck.
One of the most important aspects of being a "good parent" with a "good kid" is to model good qualities and behaviors. Be the people you hope they emulate. This article has some great tips. They seem stupid simple, but I've found that's usually where the most true answers are in life; hiding in plain sight The actions that make you a better and more balanced person are what are going to help you kid along too.
Remember that parenting is hard, it's the hardest job there is. Everyone is trying to figure it out. Be kind to your fellow parents, and be kind to yourself, and maybe, just maybe your children will see that kindness and reflect it back to others.
These are some great ideas of conversation starters for our older generations. If you're lucky enough to have parents or grandparents still with us give some of these a go, or think up new ones!
If you're the oldest generation consider writing some of these down on your own accord, your future generations will thank you!
Have you had enough of the family yet? This time of year can be stressful, check out this awesome TedTalk playlist on family!
This blog is less about my writing, and more about sharing inspiration. I'll post pictures, articles, and videos that I find interesting, moving, or just funny (funny being a loose term here as my humor is generally of the nerdy psychoanalytic variety).