The teen years are an important and delicate period in young people’s lives. It is a time of experimentation and questioning, mixed with the relentless push toward attaining independence.
Because of this distinction, parents and educators often say that preventing bad influences on teens is their foremost concern. However, this is not always an easy task, and many parents wind up biting more than they can chew.
Here are some tried and tested tips on how to shield your teenager from dangerous or harmful people.
Proactively Engage Your Teen in Conversation
Questions about your teen’s friends and activities are key. Ask about what they have been doing, who they have been hanging out with, and whether they are making good choices.
Be direct in asking about activities that could put them at risk or lead to negative outcomes. Listen closely and discuss any issues that come up. It’s important to stay calm and supportive as teens can be more likely to talk if they don’t feel judged.
You should also help them learn about teen drug addiction. Explain the physical, emotional, and legal consequences of using or abusing drugs so that they have the information necessary to make well-informed decisions.
Make it clear you are available to answer questions or provide help. Encourage your teen to think through how their decisions now may affect them in the future. Practicing this kind of engagement will go a long way in protecting your teen from harmful influences.
Monitor Social Media Activity
Pay attention to the sites they visit, the people they associate with, and the content they post. Put parental controls and other safety settings on their devices. Make sure they know to be polite and respectful online, and that they should never share personal information.
Review their online accounts and friend list regularly. Establish ground rules for social media use, including no comment or contact from strangers. Be aware of the apps your teen is using, who they are talking to, and what the conversations are about.
Make sure your teen knows to block and report any inappropriate messages or posts. Additionally, be proactive in educating your teen about the dangers and pitfalls of social media, including cyberbullying, online predators, and scams.
Involve Yourself in Your Teen’s Social Group
As parents, it is our job to protect our teens from dangerous influences and ensure that they are taken care of. One way to do this is to get involved in your teen’s social group. This can give you an inside scoop on who they are spending time with and what they may be doing while they’re away from home.
Additionally, if your teen is interested in joining a certain group, it would be wise to get to know the other members and the leader to confirm that it is indeed a safe and healthy environment. Involvement in your teen’s social group is one way you can help ensure that your teen is surrounded by positive people who can offer guidance and support.
Avoiding Bad Influences
As a protecting parent, there are many tools and actions you can take to protect your teen from bad influences. Involvement, communication, organization, and setting clear expectations are all important steps in safeguarding your teen’s mental and physical health.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help if needed and be aware of the warning signs of unhealthy behaviors. Talk with your teen today to provide the best chance of success.
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