How to allow your teenager freedom and still keep them safe?

Tia - posted on 05/05/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )




I need advice on how to allow your teenagers some freedom, but always know the "who, what, when and where. I feel it is very important as a parent to know what your teenagers r with and what they r doing. It is my responsibility to keep my girls safe, this is a mean world we r living in.


Danielle - posted on 06/20/2011




I'm far from having a teen, but I'm young enough to remember those years well. I think the best thing my parents did was trust me enough to let me use the car. I was incharge of where me and my friends went. I had some strong Christian friends like myself, and some who "skirted at the edge of acceptable". But my parents trusted me to go where I wanted with who I wanted. By the end of living at home all that was required was for me to give my parents a hug and "I love you". I bet I added many grey hairs to their head, but I had their total trust and it paid off for them with an excellent son-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter (all acquired at the correct Christian points in my life)

You know your child best, but try some trust it can work wonders.

Alison - posted on 05/05/2010




Make it a point to know their friends and the friends' parents. Talk to them about the importance of choosing the right friends. Enforce rules about calling home, being where they say the will be and curfews. Ultimately, though, you need to trust that you have done your best at training them to make the right choices!


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Amy - posted on 04/03/2012




I have two kids not yet there and parents who didn't do the right things to keep us safe...But I have a heavenly Father who took care of me...I learned every not to do as a parent from my own...I love my parents and communicate with them regularly (but there was definitely a time of forgiveness from about age 22-25)...I am finally to the point of exhausting my parental knowledge of just what not to do and have begun gleaning parental wisdom from other Christian parents around me and the natural wisdom God gives me.

The biggest thing I can say is that God gave YOU those children to protect, not some other kids parents. My kids will never say I didn't love them enough, or that I didn't pay enough attention, or that I didn't spend enough time with them. They may say I was too controlling or overprotective. But if it keeps them from getting molested or getting kidnapped or getting into drugs and sex...then I have done the job God assigned me...take care of your kids.

Do not worry about what the world thinks you are doing wrong...they don't get it anyway...they don't understand that God's way is completely different from theirs. I have some friends who have 4 kids...nearly all adults...a boy 24, a boy 22, a girl 20 and a girl 17. All 4 of their kids still live at home. Most of their friends, both Christian and not, think they need to get those adult kids grown up and moved out. But I got to thinking about it and their logic is rather biblical - Boys especially, if they are not married, struggle with sexual sin. In biblical days, children stayed with their parents until they were married. They are taking care of their children the best way God has given them. They are a very close family and they are protecting their children...but today's society, even Christian, thinks they are doing it all wrong...but maybe they're not...we've just forgotten that there are other ways.

PROTECT YOUR KIDS...they are GOD's greatest gift...don't worry about other people telling you that you are overprotective...they're your kids!!!

Jocelyn - posted on 04/03/2012




I agree entirely with what you are saying as I am the same way with my 15 year old son and this is something we never stop arguing about. I'd like to have feedback as well. Know you are not alone or the only parent who cares even if it seems like it!!

Kathy - posted on 12/21/2011




danielle is 100 % right if u know ur child well give him freedom he won't betray your trust

Ann - posted on 06/20/2011




Some good advise above. Taking it all in at the moment. 15 year old son asking now if he can go to a camping sleep over with lots of his friends Does not want us to contact the friends parents because we dont already know them but that will be the way or it will be a " No" to camping. You just have to check out where your kids are. It is a responsibility of every parent to know where their children under 18 are.

Cindy - posted on 05/20/2010




ALWAYS call parents in advance to check on plans and to see if there will be supervision. Your daughters wont like this at first but will realize that this is the only way they will be able to go. They will start offering you the parents # before you even ask. and...........pop in unexpectantly. We did this quite often and they never strayed the wrong way as they knew we knew where they were, parents were there and they NEVER knew when Mom and Dad would just show up.

Diane - posted on 05/20/2010




Alison hit the nail on the head with this one. Get to know friends and the parents of the friends. Find ones who share your same goals and rules. The kids your child hangs around with are crucial to the activities and things your child wants to do.
I always called the parents and made sure where and what the kids were doing, who was going to be there, parents in the home at all times, the activity, the times and places, etc.
Always call to make sure the places and times were the same.

I did this until they graduated from high school and they were eighteen. Although as they got older I did it less because I trusted them. They knew there were consequences for wrong behavior and I always kept my word as far as punishments went. If they were grounded for two days, it was two days. If they had to stay off the phone for a week, then it was one week, not a day shorter.
Be your child's shadow because you love them.

Anne - posted on 05/20/2010




Oh my..I am living this too! I am stuggling and stumbling too! My husband believes they ought to have freedom and I am the more controlling one. I can share a few things we have tried. I am a black belt and our dojo does these AWESOME personal safety courses, we make our daughter take them when they are offered. They are free and offer basic, simple strikes, and easy to learn information. (BTW she hates taking them but I make her 14 yr old self!) She is not so much a worry for us as she is super involved in school and most of her activities are after school or at the school. She has a cell phone. Sometimes she will go to the mall, but we only allow her to go to the smaller mall (we have a 4 story mall and a 1 story mall) and we are there and she has to physically check in with us frequently. And she gives us no grief, she understands why we do what we do. Now, I have a 14 yr old who is totally the opposite. My husband keeps telling me - he's a boy - its different for boys - like sex. I need to understand he's a boy with hormones raging etc.. and I tell him its parents like him that frighten me-- I remind him we have a daughter and what if a boy she dates has the same advice?? But to him there are two sets of rules. Not to me. I am even stricter with my son b/c it is easier for boys to do things as they don't suffer the consequences-- but I make it so clear to him that he will have the same consequences a girl does should he get her pregnant. I watch my 1 yr old neice, and when he gets home, I make him watch her. She lives with us more than not, I make sure the kids know full well the consequences of premaritial sex ( as my neice is young and unmarried!!) He has the same rules, if he goes to the mall he has to physically check in with us frequently. I limit their phone time to 1 hour a day period. I took his cell phone away as he was sneaking it and using in when he clearly knew he wasn't supposed to be. They have parental controls on their computurs and tv. We have to know the parents of where they are going, we don't allow them to spend the night anywhere unless we KNOW not just met --- but know the parents. Kids can come here no problem. We keep them active in karate and other structured sports & that helps. We stay busy with out church, community and as a family so their time is limited elsewhere. Every Sunday is family day, so Sat is the only day they have and we volunteer every Sat morning. But the kids like it - they love volunteering - they bring their friends and have a ball! They actually enjoy family day (for the most part) we go bowling, hiking, bike riding, to the arcade, mall etc..

Just some ideas that have worked for us. And I guess the other part is they know we are dead serious on our rules, they break them, they are grounded no questions asked. They understand the stakes are high, this isn't I forgot to pick up my room, break the rules, this is something bad could happen to me if I break the rules.

I look forward to hearing what other folks do to survive this blessed phase of our children's lives. My parents, they put me in a catholic high school and I was only allowed to go over to kids houses who went to church with us and my folks knew, I worked in the rectory in 8th grade year round, babysat in the summer 9-3 then worked in the rectory from 3-8 - I had no time to do anything!!

Marietta - posted on 05/10/2010




let your house be the hang out spot and meet your child's friends pranets so that your place not have to be the only hang out.....

Cherie - posted on 05/10/2010




I have a daughter who is now 22, and I can say that in this day and age it's practically impossible to do both. I can tell you of many scary times that my daughter was at a "friend's" house, to find out that there were NO adults home at the time, or even worse. I'd suggest having the friends over to your place, have homework/snack time. Get to know their friends, visit the parents house and even go inside. I was a single Mom, and had a lot of other single Moms could have cared less about their kids was harrowing, but we survived it.

Carol - posted on 05/08/2010




That is a hard one. I teach in a high school, and my son is a student there. I am VERY aware of all kinds of things going on. I made a point to talk with my son before he started high school about how some of his friends would be changing--doing different things, etcc.. We also told him that he would be allowed some freedom to go out with friends, but if we found that we could not trust him, then his freedoms would be gone. I always remind him that he should be an example to his friends. We also do lots of things at our house so that I can give freedom with still being around.

Kathy - posted on 05/07/2010




I have 3 children, all grown and married now. During their teen years, I allowed different freedoms at different ages. My kids were expected to be where they told me they were going to be, and I always made it a point to know who their friends were, and their friends parents. Of course, living in a small town helped. I only had to go pick up one child, one time because she was not where she had told me she was going to be. She wasn't doing anything wrong, and she was with the friends she had told me she would be with, but she was not where she'd told me she'd be.
I was blessed though in that my house was the typical hang out place. Most of my kids friends lived out in the country, and we were in town, or they just didn't care for the parents of their friends, whatever the reasons, their friends always hung out here, so it was easy for me to know what was going on. My 20 yr old daughter and her husband never even went on a date alone until after they graduated high school, and 2 days before they got married. This was not my doings, they just always did things in groups.

Jane - posted on 05/06/2010




My kids are 20 and 16. The 20 year old is in college in another state so obviously the who, what, when and where do not really apply anymore. HOWEVER, she still tells me what she's up to on a regular basis. When she was younger and with my son, who is 16, they have to have all plans laid out before they even came/come to me with the question of "can I do/go/etc?". I need to know what time they are expected to leave/go, who is going, what parents will be there if it's a home, who's driving back and forth (me, other parents), what time I can expect them home if someone else is driving them home. I have to KNOW the parents who are driving. So essentially, if they didn't/don't come to me with ALL the information when they ask, the answer is immediately no. They've learned the rules and when they ask if they can do something or go somewhere, they come 100% prepared. I accept nothing except very specific the minute, everyone's names, phone numbers, etc. Because of this, they have the freedom to do most things without question. I live in a farely small community and the kids and their friends have been friends since pre-school and I know all the parents so it's a little easier when you live in that kind of environment. They need to plan and plan well...if they do that, it makes it easier for you to know the who, what, when and where and times involved. I actually make them write it all down.

Michelle - posted on 05/05/2010




My pastor endorses written contracts with teenagers. He says it has worked for him and families he has worked with every time. He says it makes them feel like and adult, but gives you the power. They need to sign their name to it of course, but maybe it is something you can consider??

Carla - posted on 05/05/2010




Both Alison and Brittiny answered well. And, you are getting the 'teen' side with Brit's answer. Teens want you to trust them--but you can't. They are teens! Give them the rope, but make sure you have a firm hold on the end. I thought my daughter was safe wtih her friend's mother always with them, only to find out 'mom' was giving them alcohol and drugs! They were 13! Snoop, check 'alibis', do drop-ins. It is a mean world. God bless, sweetie

Brittiny - posted on 05/05/2010




I don't have any teenagers myself, but when I was a teen, the policy with my parents was just what you are saying... we were allowed to do almost anything we wanted, (within reason) as long as we could answer the questions of the 'who, what, when and where'. If the answers were too vague, or unanswered, it was a no go - try again. Not only that, my parents periodically checked in on us to make sure we were where we were supposed to be (if me or my sibs said we were at work, mom would suddenly get a random craving for a cheeseburger at Wendy's, or decided that she wanted to go buy some candles at the mall and 'bump into' us) At the time, I hated that, but as time went on, a trust was built, and it didn't matter. My mother always said, if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, why does it matter, you don't have anything to hide. I totally agree with you, it is plain SCARY out in the world. Sorry I didn't really have any advice, I guess. Good luck!

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