We all make our lists at the beginning of the year of things to start, things to stop and things to improve upon. These goals are generally made in the spirit of self-improvement. I’m curious, how many of your resolutions involved your habits as a parent? What do you see as areas for improvement in your role as a parent?
While you think about your own parenting resolutions, I have three suggestions for you to consider as you begin 2014 and seek to make it a great year for you and your family!
I’ll start with the not-so-fun resolutions.
Talk to your children about bullying, both in-person and online.
This is a very real issue that can have a devastating impact on kids, both those being bullied and those who are the bullies. Check out the Stop Bullying website for more information. Talk to your teens about their experience at school. Ask about bullying. Find out who the bullies are and who is being targeted.
If you find out that your child is being bullied or is doing the bullying, talk to them about their experience. It can be helpful to talk to the school or have your child see a counselor. However, it is most important to hear your child’s perception of what is happening to know how to best proceed.
Talk to your teens about the risks of sexting.
Let’s start out by defining what “sexting” means. According to Psychology Today, “sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexual photos or sexually suggestive messages through text message or email.”
Did you know that over 75% of teens who are propositioned to have sex via a text, actually end up having sexual intercourse? Did you know that a teen sending a sexually explicit picture of themselves to another person can be considered distribution of child pornography? Did you know that a child as young as 10 years old can be charged with a sexual offense in Colorado?
If you didn’t know, it is likely that your teens do not know either. It is time to include a discussion about technology in the “birds and the bees” talk. Here is a great article to get you started.
Now that those are out of the way, I’ll end with a more “fun” resolution!
Help your kids get involved in an extracurricular activity.
Many teens naturally find their way to fun and appropriate extracurricular activities. Others may have a more difficult time getting involved. Here are a few benefits of teens being involved in social activities: healthy friendships, improved self-esteem and good role models to name a few. They are good for parents, too! Not only can you feel good about your teen getting all of the above-named benefits, you might just get a little time to yourself, too! Here is a great article on helping your kids get involved.
All of this being said, these conversations will be easier and more meaningful for both parents and teens who feel safe and comfortable talking to one another. I encourage you to foster an environment in your home where it is safe for your teen to talk to you about anything. Yes, anything!
Thanks for reading today! Check back over the next few weeks as I blog about each of the above mentioned topics in more detail!