“You don’t trust me…”
“I do love you and trust you, but I don’t trust the world around you, and I need to know what’s going on in your life so I can be a good parent to you.”
Monitoring what your children do is an important way to keep your children out of trouble. What is monitoring? It’s knowing where your children are, what they are doing during and after school and talking with them about it each day. Why does it work? It helps your children succeed in school and with friends, while allowing you to guide them away from trouble.
What to do
• Talk with your children about what happened in school today: assignments, tests, friends and problems.
• Know where your children are after school and whom they’re with.
• Have your children call you to let you know where they are.
• Check that chores are completed.
• Ask to see school assignments before they’re handed in–and after they’re returned.
• Talk with teachers about your children’s academic and social progress.
• Bring refreshments to your children and their friends when they come over so you can keep an eye on them.
• Keep in touch with the parents of your children’s friends so you can reinforce each others’ efforts.
When You Can’t Be There Yourself
Leaving children without adult supervision is an open invitation to all kinds of experimentation, especially once middle school begins. What helps: having these practices in place before then.
• Arrange to have your children looked after and occupied between the end of school and the time you get home. Encourage them to get involved with supervised youth groups, arts, music, sports, community service and academic clubs.
• Make sure that children who are unattended for periods during the day feel your presence. Give them a schedule and set limits on their behavior. Assign household chores. Enforce a strict phone-in-to-you policy. Leave notes for them around the house. Provide easy-to-find snacks.
• Call parents whose home is to be used for a party. Make sure you agree with their rules for behavior.
• Make it easy for your children to leave any place where they feel uncomfortable. Discuss in advance how to contact you or another adult to get a ride home and be home when they get there.