Freedom: Adolescence and Teenagers

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Teenagers need guidance and good parenting. Many factors affect outcomes in teenagers. Personal resources, the characteristics of the child, and the stress or support parents get from school, family, and community all enter into the results.

Peer pressure can be a very positive force. Teenagers normally choose friends with similar values and tastes to theirs. Parents should still retain the major influence over the child’s life. Research shows that parents who monitor their children can help prevent a number of risky behaviours. Monitoring also gives teenagers the message that with increasing privileges comes increasing responsibilities. Parental monitoring means establishing guidelines and limits for your child in order to keep track of what is going on in his or her social world. It means knowing:

• where your kids are
• who they are with
• what kinds of activities have been planned
• how they will get there and back again.

Sometimes they will complain that parents do not trust them or that they are being unreasonable. This is not the case, it just means that the parents care and they should know.

There is a myth that if teenagers were given the freedom they wanted, they would prefer their friends to their parents. They would spend less time with parents and more time with friends, making their friends more important. It is important that parents stay involved and connected. They should talk and listen to their children. Know their friends, their school or college experience, and what their world is like. If teenagers were given the freedom they wanted, then parents would loose control of them and they would not even talk to them. Today’s teenagers are exposed to many more freedoms than when their parents were young. There is greater access to information via television and the Internet than ever before. Parents have a complex job being a filter to these influences. I am not saying that teenagers should not...
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