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Monitoring Your Teen's Activities: What Parents and Families Should Know (Part 2 of a 2 part article)

July 25, 2018


Does parental monitoring make a difference?

      Yes. Research shows that teens whose parents use effective monitoring practices are less likely to make poor decisions, such as having sex at an early age, smoking, drinking alcohol, being physically aggressive, or skipping school. Clear communication about your expectations is especially important. Research shows that teens who believe their parents disapprove of risky behaviors are less likely to choose those behaviors.

What can parents do to monitor their teens effectively?

      The following are some steps you can take to monitor your teen and help protect him or her from risky behaviors:

How can parents be successful at monitoring their teens?

            Parental monitoring works best when parents have good, open, and caring relationships with their teens. Teens are more willing to talk to their parents if they think their parents can be trusted, have useful advice to offer, and are open and available to listen and talk. Teens who are satisfied with their relationships with their parents tend to be more willing to follow the rules.

            You can promote a caring relationship with your teen by listening, asking questions, asking for opinions, offering support and praise, and staying involved in your teen’s life.

How can busy parents monitor their teens?

            As a parent, you face many competing demands on your time. Work or other activities can keep you away from home and limit monitoring of your teen. To help bridge this gap, you can use e-mails, text messages, and phone calls to check in with your teen. You can also seek the support of other family members, friends, and school staff to help monitor your teen’s activities and behavior. Teens who have a variety of adults supervising and monitoring their activities may be even less likely to engage in unhealthy and unsafe behaviors.


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